New Mexico Roads/Non-Roads - NM 485, Gilman Tunnels/Jemez Mtns.

NM 485 and Gilman Tunnels, Jemez Mountains

Entering the Jemez Mountains on NM 485 NB. Hey, look, a cave!

State maintenance (and NM 485) end as the road narrows and becomes National Forest Route 376, but it continues along the winding creek through the mountains. This may be the most spectacular view in the range, or quite possibly anywhere in the greater Santa Fe area.

At times, part of the cliff was cut away to make room for the road through the narrowing canyon. Actually, though, the original road through here was of the rail variety. A narrow-gauge log railroad wound its way around back in the days when railroads were profitable, and was replaced by a road when that was no longer the case.

I'll admit, the former railroad construction was the reason I came up this way. I actually wasn't planning on any side trips from Santa Fe, but found myself with an extra 2 hours to kill, and picked out the NM 4 loop as the preferred route in large part because the map showed Gilman Tunnels and an easy route clinch on the way. Well, here are all two of the tunnels.

The road ahead becomes a seasonal forest road, possibly not suited for an economy rental car. The creek is in a canyon to the right, which I'm generously calling "east" because NM 485/Forest Route 376 mostly goes north, but with all these twists and turns there's no telling where I'm facing. (It's also close enough to noon that I can't use the sun as a reliable indicator.)

Panning from "north" to "south" along the rapids of the creek.

Click to drive back south through the tunnels.

Back on the south side of the tunnels, looking north in the first photo and then south otherwise.

One last pan from northeast to southeast as I head back south toward NM 4.

See more Jemez Mountains scenery on NM 4
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