East Fork Jemez Gorge

See on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_82URHLAHiw

ACA Canyon Rating – 2C III …one swim/wade/climb is fairly risky but anyone can change directions and return to your upstream auto at any time

Most possible rappels and/or climbs can be avoided by scrambling up, over and around the steep stuff…!!!

Beware of July and August thunderstorm flashfloods…!!!

Also avoid some wet years heavy snow-melt runoff during April & MAY…!!!


…see the small rope hanging to your left of the waterfall.  Someone put it there to let people down into the slot canyon, but we climbed up, over ad around the cliffs.  Upon returning to the creek, we back-tracked up into the slot all the way to the waterfall.  Click this link to see a youtube video of us doing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_82URHLAHiw&list=UUCJsfIZ3DXVpmoXu2d487VQ


This is an amazingly beautiful canyon… in places it is out-of-this-world

You can barely see me in this photo below… because I am down in the “subway”

Below children play in shallow water that used to be 20 feet deep.  This is where 60’ high cliff-jumping used to take place.   The water here is now 24 inches deep because extreme flooding that followed the 2011 Los Chochos Fire, has filled all the deep pools with heavy silt.  The cliff-jumping is no more but the hiking is actually easier these days, thru the shallow waters.

This is a special place, but traversing the entire canyon takes most of a day

It worries me to think of how you or anyone else could trash this place out… PLEASE TAKE CARE OF THIS AMAZING PLACE…!!!



beta facts:

name- East Fork Jemez Gorge

depth of slot portion- 100+ feet

length of canyon traverse- a scant 5 miles, but it will keep you most of a day

elevation- 8400’at the top down to 7950’at the bottom

GPS coordinates- ±36°48.905’N 106°31.987’W at the top and ±35°49.376’N 106°35.750’W at the lower end

flow- a nice size perennial flowing trout stream

season to visit- drier months of the year, like May, June, September, October and November… NEVER ENTER ANY SLOT CANYON WHEN HEAVY RAIN IS IN THE FORCAST…!!!

accommodations- only at campgrounds near each end

ownership- Santa Fe National Forest

access- is from State Highway 4 between Jemez Springs and Los Alamos …see the map below

nearest town- Jemez Springs is about 10 air-miles south of here

fun fact- please pick up your own AND other peoples litter…!!!


essay bro

We do a car shuttle for this hike.  We put an extra car at the bottom before driving back to the top to begin.  Or you can hike as far as you like downstream before returning back to your wheels, the way you came.


It is best to hike this canyon by walking downstream.  Start at the Los Conchos Trailhead in the lower right-hand corner of the map below.  A nice trail follows the stream for a mile and a half.  But where the trail climbs up out of the canyon is where you want to discontinue following the trail and start hiking downstream along and/or in the stream.  In fact there will be an abundance of deep wading and possibly even a short swim or two…which is why this trip should NOT be done during high water.  So you may wish to pack along a life-jacket.



At the downstream end of this trip the highway crosses the East Fork of the Jemez.  This is a NO PARKING ZONE.  This is a dangerous place because people drive too fast here.  When enough people were hurt and killed here, the parking area was removed.  Now you must walk another quarter-mile west on highway 4 to a roadside parking area near the Jemez Falls Sign.


Make time to visit 50’ high Jemez Falls while you are here.                     


Enhanced USGS topo map by Doug Scott


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Send questions and comments to dscott@themarblesculptor.com