Window Rock Trail. Courtesy/SFNF
SANTA FE – The health benefits of outdoor recreation will be the focus Saturday, April 8, when the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) and El Centro Family Health Clinics sponsor a hike on the Window Rock Trail as part of a health initiative called “Forest Your Health”.
Forest Your Health promotes healthy habits by encouraging community members in the Española area to hike, mountain bike and ride equestrian along area trails. The biannual Window Rock hike is an 8-mile roundtrip trek to one of New Mexico’s largest rock spans, a “window” weathered out of an igneous rock wall. On the way, participants will practice stewardship by picking up trash and installing signage along the trail. The hike will begin at 10 a.m. at the trailhead north of Española on the road to Abiquiu.
Hikers on the Window Rock Trail will be joined by an archaeologist who will share information about prehistoric happenings in the area, and the day will end at 5 p.m. after hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire at the trailhead. Recommended attire for the day is long pants, hiking boots and leather gloves. Participants should bring a backpack with a sack lunch, at least three liters of water, a shade hat and sunscreen.
The SFNF is in the process of placing trail reassurance/mileage markers along trails, and kiosks and signs at each trailhead to help visitors navigate the trails, especially through badlands and sandy arroyos. The Española District received a grant for the signage from the New Mexico Department of Transportation through the Recreation Trails Program that provides funding to states for trail-related projects through the Federal Highway Administration.
The Forest Your Health program is revitalizing a part of the forest that was once known primarily as an illegal dump site. Throughout the year, the SFNF and El Centro Family Health Clinics host clean-up days for El Centro employees and local junior and senior high school students. As part of the Forest Your Health program, El Centro employees have “adopted” a trail, committing to taking care of it by picking up trash and monitoring usage and damage.
For additional information about the Window Rock hike or adopting a trail, contact Española District Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Sublett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505.753.7331.