Volunteers Repair Section of Pajarito Canyon/Nail Trail Loop … Help Needed for Final 300-Foot Stretch

Before Saturday’s work party, a half-mile stretch of the Pajarito Canyon/Nail Trail Loop was narrow, overgrown, and shaped to trap water and further damage the trail. Photo by Craig Martin
By Craig Martin
Los Alamos County Open Space Specialist

On Saturday, eight volunteers took on the task of making a runoff-damaged stretch of the Pajarito Canyon/Nail Trail Loop usable again.

With Pulaskis and McLeods, the group re-established a trail bench that allows hikers, runners, and mountain bike riders to complete the popular 4-mile loop trail.

After volunteers worked the stretch, the trail corridor is safer, more pleasant, and will shed water during the monsoon season. Photo by Craig Martin

The work was part of an on-going community effort to repair and stabilize trails in the Santa Fe National Forest within the perimeter of last summer’s Las Conchas Fire.

The trails west of Los Alamos were all damaged by post-fire flooding.

Work on the Pajarito Canyon/Nail Trail Loop began in April when the Española Ranger District contracted with a mini bulldozer operator to re-grade the road portions of the loop.

Craig Martin works on a rolling grade dip along the Pajarito Canyon Trail Saturday, June 23. Photo by Terry DuBois

Volunteers did finishing work on the dozer line in April.

Since the year-long closure order of the burned area was lifted three weeks ago, volunteers from Los Alamos and communities in the Jemez Mountains have tackled the portions of the trail where the bulldozer couldn’t get. About 25 volunteers have been engaged in the effort.

Saturday’s workers completed the toughest stretch where the trail crosses a steep slope on the north wall of the canyon.

The workers cleared the corridor of vegetation, widened the trail tread, and created water diversions to protect the trail during the upcoming monsoon season.

Zach Baker puts the finishing touches on the re-established trail bench along the Pajarito Canyon Trail. Photo by Craig Martin

The work on the loop is almost complete. Only a 300-foot stretch remains uncleared.

Volunteers will complete the work during a two-hour session starting at 5:30 p.m., Monday June 25.

Anyone interested in helping should meet at the Pajarito Canyon Trailhead, which is located about a half mile west of the West Jemez Road Vehicle Access Portal at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Tools and hard hats will be provided.

For more information on the Monday work session or on volunteering for trail rehabilitation projects, contact Craig Martin at cmartin@losalamos.com.


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