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Explore the Mysterious Alien Run Trails

Visit a UFO crash site via some of New Mexico's best singletrack!

Mountain Biking, Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Alien Run Trails: Very Long Loop
Photo: Greg Heil


The Alien Run trails fly well below the radar, but mountain bikers in the know rave about this small trail system as one of the best in northwestern New Mexico. While the High Desert Trails near Gallup tend to get more acclaim (in part since they’re located directly off I-40), mountain bike explorer extraordinaire John Fisch says he “found Alien Run to be even more entertaining."

“The singletrack here is the real draw as it offers everything from wicked fast juniper dodging on fast and flowy trails to major rock obstacles on the 'Black Hole’ trail,” writes Fisch. "If you’re intrepid enough to find this very remote place, you’ll likely have it all to yourself,” he concludes.

The trail system is divided into four stacked loops: The Short Loop, Long Loop, Outer Limits, and Area 51. Black Hole is a short, optional add-on found just off the Short Loop. By far the best singletrack in the trail system is found in the lower stretches of the network, comprised of Short Loop, Long Loop, and Black Hole. The trail here is well-ridden, creating a fast, flowing singletrack that dips and bobs through the junipers, intermittently running over exposed slickrock slabs. These slickrock slabs create superb mountain bike playgrounds with plenty of alt lines to explore and get creative on.

While this trail system is best known for mountain biking, hikers and trail runners should consider investigating this beautiful area as well. The trails are just as good for foot travel, and the stacked-loop design allows you to easily tailor the distance depending on your fitness. Throughout your hike or run, you'll enjoy ever-changing scenery in this beautiful Northern New Mexico desert... just try to ignore the constant hum of the oil wells.

Alien Run gets its name from a UFO crash landing that happened at this site in 1948. Today, you can visit the UFO crash site at the very end of the Long Loop. It's easily accessible via mountain bike if you travel the entire long loop, but if you don't feel like hiking or running that far, you can also drive deeper into the trail system via dirt service roads to reach a short hike to the crash site. If you do make it to the site, you'll find a historical plaque with a brief history of the crash and recovery. The plaque reads:

"Recovery at Hart Canyon

On or about this site on March 25, 1948, a spacecraft of origins unknown crashed or landed on this mesa. It is alleged the Los Alamos Radar Station in nearby El Vado, New Mexico, Tracked the errant landing to this site. A high security recovery operation lead sic by the Air Force and 5th Army Division was responsible for the removal of this craft. The recovery operation took approximately two weeks, with all remains being taken to Los Alamos Laboratory for scientific study and evaluation by some of the worlds sic leading Scientists. sic Later it was rumored to have been taken to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The recovery of this craft by the U.S. Government and Military sic was one of the most secretive recoveries of a spacecraft with origins unknown since the similar recoveries in Roswell, New Mexico, eight months earlier.

The spacecraft was approximately 100 feet in diameter and eighteen feet tall. It was one of the most intact crafts that the Government sic had recovered at that time.

Sadly, all occupants, as many as sixteen, died as a result of this crash, making the full disclosure of both purpose and origin all but impossible.

This plaque has been placed here to bring awareness to an event that has been kept secret for fifty-nine years, and is a significant part of our Nations sic history.

Scott & Suzanne Ramsey March 25, 2007"

The plaque opens up more questions than it answers. How do Scott and Suzanne Ramsey know how large the craft was? How do they know how many occupants it had? How do they know definitively that all the occupants died in the crash?

We may never know...

Sources: Historical Plaque Singletracks.com

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