The first trail we took in during our time in Red River, N.M., was also one of the most beautiful. The trailhead of the Pioneer Creek Trail sits just behind a popular condominium, and the early stretches of the trail offer sneak peaks of the town below. Like all the weekend’s trails, Pioneer Creek is heavily wooded and extremely scenic, rather than technical. This is not a place to test your Jeep, but a welcome opportunity to crawl along, enjoying the sounds of the bubbling creek and the occasional glimpse at local wildlife. A couple of unfinished mines along the first third of the trail remain open to the public and offer a chance for some mild extra-vehicular fun.
While four-wheel drive probably isn’t necessary for parts of the trail, we nonetheless were shocked at one encounter near the trail’s end. (Watch for it about 2:20 in the trail highlights video.)
With very little traffic to maneuver, the journey to the trail’s termination point overlook took less than two hours. After lunch and a little more exploration, we headed down as the daily rain shower began to fall.