Location: 10 miles south of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, on the east side of the Rio Grande
Elevation Range: 4,700-4,900 feet
BLM Acreage: 31,147 acres
The Jornada del Muerto WSA is located in the west-central part of New Mexico about 45 air miles south-southeast of Socorro. The WSA is almost entirely composed of lava flows that are characterized by lava tubes, sink holes, and pressure ridges. Many of these structures have been silted in by fine windblown sand and clay materials, which support a variety of grass species and soaptree yucca. This area is also home to many species of dark reptiles and a large population of bats that live in a lava tube extending from a crater.
To access the northern border of the WSA, drive east from I-25 on Hwy 380 at San Antonio for just over 7 miles and turn right on County road 153/Fite Ranch Rd (just after crossing an arroyo / .2 miles past the end of the guardrail). Drive for about 1.5 miles and veer right to continue on CR 153/Fite Ranch Rd. The road will trend to the south, but will zigzag to the southeast and southwest numerous times for the next 23 ½ miles before reaching the northern border of the WSA. At about 25 miles from Highway 380, turn west on a road which is the northern border of the WSA for approximately 2 ¾ mile. Hike cross-country to the south into the WSA from a point along this road. Jornada del Muerto translates from Spanish to English as “journey of the dead.” This is a rugged lava landscape. Preparation with water, appropriate clothing and shoes, and navigation is critical.
This is a dirt road requiring suitable clearance. Please note that conditions of roads can change at any time due to weather. Drivers should avoid dirt roads during rain or snow. Drivers should be cautious of wash-out following rain or snowmelt.
There are no marked trails in this WSA. Visitors must possess knowledge and skill in cross country hiking and navigating.
Socorro Field Office
901 South Highway 85
Socorro, NM 87801