View of the Sangre de Christo mountains from the South Boundary Trail, and a mountain bike.

South Boundary Trail Shuttle

The South Boundary Trail is consistently ranked the best trail in New Mexico and the southwest. We’re not bragging, we’re just emphasizing why you should book your shuttle early! Fortunately, we’ve made it ridiculously easy, to start your adventure.

How to Book

Step 1

Choose your drop-off location

Choose your drop off location

FR76 at the beginning of the South Boundary Trail, or Garcia Park about 7 miles in.

Step 2

Choose the date

We run daily mountain bike shuttles to the South Boundary Trail from as soon as the snow melts until the end of November — snow permitting.

(Note: If your dream date shows no availability online, please email us at ride@shuttletaos.com for options!)

Step 3

Reserve and be happy

You’ll receive a confirmation email explaining where to meet and tips for the ride. If you have any questions, contact us and we’ll get you sorted.

Note: If a date is currently unavailable online, that means we are either booked for a special event or the shuttle is full. However, there may be options! Contact us to explore how to make sure you get the adventure you deserve.

Group of mountain bike riders ready to tackle the South Boundary Trail from Forest road 76.
8:00 am – FULL SBT from FR76

8:00 am shuttle to Forest Road 76 and the start of the FULL South Boundary Trail: the 21.5-mile IMBA Epic ride to your car.

Group of mountain bike riders ready to tackle the South Boundary Trail from Garcia Park.
10:30 am – 2/3 SBT from Garcia Park

10:30 am shuttle to Garcia Park, for an abbreviated 13 miles of (mostly) downhill South Boundary Trail goodness.

Please consult our cancellation and solo-passenger policies before booking.

About The South Boundary Trail

The “IMBA Epic” South Boundary Trail begins at 9,950 ft of elevation at the trailhead on Forest Road 76 near Angel Fire and ends at the El Nogal Trailhead just east of Taos at a little over 7,000 ft. Throughout its delicious 21.5 miles of high alpine meadows and cool mixed-conifer forests, you’ll climb 1,600 ft and descend a giggle-worthy 4,400 ft along classic side-hill single-track, occasional abandoned two-track, and a few fall-line descents to keep it all interesting.

Two women stoked on their custom shuttle and charter with Shuttle Taos.

Osha Pass and Heaven on Earth

The highest point on the ride is Osha Pass at 10,710 ft. You get there via a 1.5 mile, 800 ft climb from the start. This solid warm-up is full of loose rocks and a few hills you shouldn’t be embarrassed to walk up. After Osha Pass, it’s a ripping descent through Corner Park and the appropriately named “Heaven on Earth” section. Just beyond is a gentle climb to Garcia Park which is accessed by Forest Road 437 (and our second shuttle drop-off point).

Garcia Park Down

From Garcia Park, you climb another ~400 ft (slightly more if you take the Sierra Don Fernando spur — which you should) before you start the long traverse/descent that rides downhill both ways. At Cross-over Madow scrub oak indicates you’re about to begin the balance of the descent through several eco-zones, including ponderosa and pinyon-juniper forests.

El Nogal

Along the last 3.5 miles, the character of the trail changes considerably, and the technical requirements increase. This is the famed “El Nogal” descent. If you have handled everything up to the obvious log drop at the intersection with the Ojitos Trail, you should be fine. However, if you’re struggling, you may consider taking the Ojitos Trail off the ridge-line instead.

Please note: from the log drop down, the trail is used heavily by hikers, dog-walkers, equestrians, and others. Please check your speed and ride courteously.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to experience the South Boundary Trail?

Although the trail rips and we run shuttles from snow-melt to snow-fall, the best time of year to ride this trail is hands-down the middle of September through the middle of October. During this time, the aspen leaves are positively popping.

Is the shuttle just for mountain bikers?

Not at all! We shuttle backpackers, trail runners, through-hikers, and dog walkers.

How long does it take to ride the South Boundary Trail?

Taking on the full ~22 miles of the South Boundary Trail from Forest Road 76 is not for novices. You should be a strong intermediate or advanced rider or runner and have a solid background of experience traveling in remote mountainous terrain.

For mountain bikers, the average time is about 5.5 hours. The fastest known time is 1:33 held by local pro racing legend Macky Franklin — we don’t recommend that approach. Don’t be ashamed if it takes you upwards of 8 hours. Pack your lunch, wipe your camera smudges, and stop to enjoy the wildflowers.

The Garcia Park route is more ‘user friendly.’ You get to sleep in a little, pay a little less, and you only have one real climb on your 13-mile ride. The average ride time is about 2.5 hours.

What type of bike do I need for the South Boundary Trail?

This is a cross-country single-track trail interspersed with a few double-track roads. Most of the descent is in the final 2.5 miles of the trail which is straight-up downhill style riding.

We recommend a cross-country bike, trail bike, or enduro bike. However, we also take plenty of downhill bikes thanks to folks visiting Angel Fire Bike Park whose wrists need a breather from the downhill beater.

Are E-bikes allowed on the South Boundary Trail?

No. Sorry, but the latest National Forest policy does not allow the use of e-bikes on non-motorized trails.

Can we split our group between the two shuttles?

Yes! The timing works well for those who want to split their group. More ambitious riders can take the 8 am shuttle and ride to meet the second wave at Garcia Park coming up on the later shuttle.

Is the “El Nogal” section of the South Boundary Trail really that scary?

The South Boundary Trail loses most of its elevation in the last 5 miles, with the steepest of those being the last 3 miles called the “El Nogal” section.

For those less experienced riders — or if you’ve had any trouble with what you rode up to the “log drop” at the Ojitos trail — we recommend taking the Ojitos descent instead of the El Nogal technical downhill descent. Ask your shuttle driver for details.

Where do you pick people up?

All shuttles pick up at the El Nogal Trailhead, aka, the end of the South Boundary Trail on Highway 64, three miles east of Taos in the Taos Canyon. It’s a darn busy lot on weekends so we strongly recommend carpooling. Half of the lot ends up with shade and the other scorching with the sun. But, either way, please do not leave your pups in the car while you ride.

Can we camp at the trailhead?

No. Campers can go up the canyon a quarter mile to two small USFS campgrounds between the road and the river. There are usually vacant lots unless it’s a holiday. You can ride from these campgrounds to El Nogal along the nearly non-existent shoulder – just a skip and a jump. But please be careful, the canyon is tight.

What services are available on the ride?

There is no potable water on the trail. Cell service is spotty at best (Verizon is most consistent, but still bad). There are few bail-out trails, but each is long and steep back to the highway. In short, you should be self-sufficient, and able to handle almost any emergency / technical situation.

South boundary Shuttle
Booking Policies

  • Reservations must be made 12 hours before departure time — but the sooner you book, the more likely we’ll have room.
  • Full payment is required at time of booking.

Cancellations

  • Cancellations up to 48 hours before the trip will be refunded less 20%.
  • No refunds are given for cancellations within 48 hours of the departure time.
  • No shows … c’mon, give us a heads up so the whole shuttle isn’t waiting for you to show up at the parking lot!

Solo Passenger

  • We charge an additional $25 if you are the only passenger on the shuttle. However, we will make every effort to encourage others to join you, and will not charge this fee until we have communicated your options with you directly.

Sorry, No E-bikes

  • Sorry, but no e-bikes are allowed on non-motorized trails on the Carson National Forest. This includes the South Boundary Trail. Please see the latest policy decision.