This segment of the Great Divide Moutnain Bike Route climbs out of Colorado and into New Mexico. There it traverses the remote, high-elevation Tusas Mountains before passing through three New Mexico villages straight out of Old Mexico: Canon Plaza, Vallecitos, and El Rito. South of Abiquiu, home of the late painter Georgia O'Keefe, a tough, 25-mile climb up Polvadera Mesa leads into the Jemez Mountains. Elk and black bears are common residents in this heavily forested portion of Santa Fe National Forest. South of Cuba the route winds through the carved maze of terrain that separates Mesa Chivato and Chaco Mesa. It is an incredibly eroded, otherworldly landscape of pinon-studded plateaus, deep arroyos, tall volcanic plugs, and abandoned ranches. This spectacular and exceedingly remote stretch of land dishes up dozens of short, steep climbs and descents. From there the route winds across the northwest flank of the San Mateo Mountains before dropping into the sprawling community of Grants and then skirting the lava flows of El Malpais National Monument. The route in this section remains on the east side of the Continental Divide until just north of Pie Town, where it crosses to the west side.
Current Printed Version: 2011