Like Sandia Caves, Carlito Springs was highly recommended by a few friends that I should go visit. Unfortunately, my first attempt to go visit Carlito Springs, it wasn’t very successful. However, it led me down another path in which I was able to check off something on my New Mexico list.
I got the afternoon off from work and I wanted to take my dogs on another hike. I decided to hit up Carlito Springs since it was very close in proximity to Travertine Falls in Tijeras, New Mexico. As soon as I got to my apartment, I grabbed my hiking bag, filled up a water bottle, put leashes on my dogs, and was off. When I arrived, I pulled up to a gated area that said Carlito Springs was closed until November due to bear activity in the area. I was pretty disappointed, but I wasn’t about to let my afternoon off be spoiled or a waste of a trip (which does happen from time to time).
I decided to turn my car around and head down New Mexico State Highway 337 in hopes of just finding something different. After an hour of driving, I began to reconsider and turn around thinking the day would be a total bust, but I saw a sign that said Salinas National Monument, which happened to be on my New Mexico list. So, I continued onward.
In short, there are a few different locations for the Salinas National Monument and the part that I was able to get to was called Gran Quivira. If you are a fan of ruins, I would recommend visiting this particular spot. Out of all the locations for the Salinas National Monument, Gran Quivira is the least visited. The Gran Quivira ruins are massive remains of an old church that has been preserved and restored. Dogs are allowed at the monument but must remain on a leash. The day went from being nearly a total bust to a pretty cool little afternoon trip. Furthermore, I was able to share a great moment with my dogs.
Fast forwarding to December, Carlito Springs was no longer closed and I had a day off with no obligations. I had to take advantage of the day hit up Carlito Springs, plus since it was so close I had no excuse to. Again, brought the dogs with me on the adventure, and I was not disappointed in the least bit.
The trail is a 1.8-mile loop that brings you near some old cabins and ponds that have some amazing greenish/blue water. Additionally, the trail is very easy and fun for a little afternoon hike. Unfortunately, the area is closed to the public right now because of unsafe structures that need some restoring.