FATMAP by Strava

Alien Run: Short Loop

Hike the most scenic of the Alien Run trails.

Hiking Easy

11 km
134 m
134 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2 km
Alien Run: Short Loop Map

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 these trails are most often used by two-wheeled aficionados, hikers and trail runners should also investigate this fantastic network of desert singletrack.


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. The route mapped here is the Short Loop, which is a scenic yet mostly-flat introduction to the Alien Run trails.

On this 6.5-mile loop, you'll enjoy a delectable dose of the best trails that Alien Run has to offer! The singletrack on this loop is well-ridden, creating a smooth, flowing trail that dips and bobs through the junipers, intermittently running over exposed slickrock slabs and along elevated rock rims. Throughout the hike, you'll enjoy ever-changing scenery in this beautiful Northern New Mexico desert... just try to ignore the constant hum of the oil wells.

This relatively mellow hike does have a few rocks, sandy bits, and washes to negotiate, but all of the footing is quite solid, and it's fairly easy to overcome any potential obstacles. Even though this hike has been assigned an easy difficulty rating, do make note of the 6.5-mile length, which can't be shortened unless you do an out-and-back. The "Short Loop" name was given to it by mountain bikers, but for hiking, this is still a respectable jaunt through the desert.



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area