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Looming 11,301 feet above Grants to the northeast, Mt. Taylor is the highest peak in northwestern New Mexico. Its stark presence on the horizon gives a sense of why the mountain is considered sacred not just to the Acoma, but to the Zuni, Laguna, and Navajo as well. You can drive fairly far up the mountain for fine views and hop out to hike on marked trails. On the main road to the peak, about 10 mi northeast of Grants off NM 547 (Exit 85 from Interstate 40), Coal Mine (small fee) and Lobo Canyon (free) campgrounds, both at 7,400 feet elevation, offer first-come, first-served campsites (and restrooms, but no drinking water) amidst ponderosa pines. The campgrounds are closed September 30 through May 15; call the Cibola National Forest/Mt. Taylor Ranger District station (505/346–3900 www.fs.fed.us) for information.
The annual Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon takes place in mid-February, when some 600 unbelievably fit athletes compete in a highly challenging bicycle, foot, ski, and snowshoe 42-mi race near the summit. 505/287–4802 or 800/748–2142. www.mttaylorquad.org.
Grants, New Mexico, United States