Under-the-radar desert singletrack that deserves much more fame!


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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](https://fatmap.com/routeid/136321/High_Desert_Trail_System) 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](https://www.singletracks.com/mtb-trails/10-trails-like-2017-edition-2/7/).

"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.

The route mapped here incorporates all of these trails into one big ride, but note that you can choose to shorten this ride dramatically depending on your fitness, time constraints, and whether or not you’re jiving with the quirky desert singletrack.

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. The primary playground zone is known as "Black Hole." If you're not feeling up for the challenge, this small slickrock bowl can easily be bypassed by sticking to the Short Loop.

Or, if you're really digging these cool rock rolls and drops, you can spend an hour sessioning the many lines in the Black Hole—it just might suck you in! If you head beyond the Long Loop into the Outer Limits and Area 51, the trail character changes dramatically.

The climbing gets steeper and more intense, and the trail tread isn't nearly as well ridden.

You'll have to negotiate a challenging trail tread filled with loose, rolling rocks, some sections of erosion, and some challenging fall line sections.

These outer trails can feel like a bit of a beat down, yet they do add some welcome mileage to the trail system.

There are also some pretty views to be gained from the top of the ridge, and Area 51 also runs along the rim of a beautiful canyon.

Just don't expect the fantastic singletrack character to continue through the entire loop. Eventually, you'll get back to the well-trod trail and enjoy a tight, twisty, flowy romp back to the Alien Run trailhead. Sources: [Singletracks.com](https://www.singletracks.com/mtb-trails/10-trails-like-2017-edition-2/7/)