FATMAP by Strava
Red Dog. Rider: Greg Heil.

The Best Raw, Rowdy, DH Trails at Pajarito Bike Park

This unique bike park is almost 100% volunteer-built, giving it a raw, rowdy flavor.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Red Dog. Rider: Greg Heil.
Red Dog. Rider: Greg Heil. Photo: Neal Pederson


Pajarito Mountain rises high above Los Alamos, providing a welcome respite from New Mexico's summertime heat. This small locals' hill is entirely unassuming in comparison to the sprawling ski resorts in Colorado, but the slow fixed-grip lift and lack of base area amenities obscure a wealth of downhill mountain bike trails plummeting down the steep mountainside.

Pajarito has long boasted a strong ethos of volunteerism. In fact, the original ski area was built by volunteers and remained volunteer-owned and operated for decades. This ethos also extends to the bike park, which was built by a group of avid locals beginning in 2003. Local shredders such as Neal Pederson built the kinds of trails that they wanted to ride, which has led to a bike park filled with narrow, technical tracks that are chock-full of rocks and wooden features.

It's rare to find this many wooden features in the Southwest. On the trails of Pajarito, high-speed rock gardens and old-school jumps funnel into lengthy log ride skinnies, ladder bridges, boner logs, wooden gaps to ladder bridge landers, wall rides, and more. To find another riding destination with this amount of wooden old-school gnar, you'd have to travel at least to the Pacific Northwest, if not cross the border into British Columbia.

Even in the PNW, many of the wooden features have been re-built with a new school vibe. Log rides and skinnies are a thing of the past in most destinations, with massive wooden bridges and wall rides that offer plenty of room for error now en vogue. Neal and his buddies still love a good log ride, and the downed trees from a past wildfire provide opportunities to add more to the mountain.

To successfully ride one of Pajarito's double black diamond mountain bike trails, you'll need to engage almost every skill in the mountain bike arsenal: technical rock garden riding, slithering over root webs, ledge drops and hucks, steep rock slab rolls, jumps, balance on the narrow skinnies, commitment to gaps, and so much more. While certain trails do retain a particular character—such as the endless, steep rock gardens of Braking Bad (the name an ode to the cult classic TV series set in nearby Albuquerque)—other classics, like Mother's Milk, mix all of these features into one single rip down the mountain.

While the bike park does offer one or two flow(y) trails down the mountainside, currently, you'll need to be at least a competent intermediate rider to have a fun day at Pajarito, and it's best if your skills are advanced or expert-level. However, building a few more approachable flow trails on the mountain is a high priority for the new management, so hopefully, we'll continue to see Pajarito grow and expand its mountain bike offering in the future.

But in the meantime, dive into this guidebook to read about 13 different routes down Pajarito Mountain!

Routes included

Related guidebooks