El Paseo LLama will transport you to the magic of the mountains.



Someone called the other day and asked how far Taos was from Mexico City. To answer her question, I'd guess 2000 miles. That is something you get used to when you live here. New Mexico is in the USA, thank you, and has been since January of 1912. Northern New Mexico is unique in that it has maintained many of the characteristics that were established by the original inhabitants and the settlers that arrived in the 17th century. I moved here 26 years ago and I saw it this way:

"It's as far away from the mainstream as you can get and still be in the USA."

...the Northern New Mexico mountains are where the crowds aren't...

Being out of the mainstream applies to the mountain wilderness as well as the towns. There are many so called wilderness areas where you hike the trails with a lot of other folks. That's OK if crowds are what you want. The Northern New Mexico mountains are where the crowds aren't and if that is what you like, you'll love trekking with El Paseo LLama. We have been hiking, backpacking, camping and trekking in these mountains since 1976 and have gotten to know them pretty darn well. We can offer treks to suit your desire for solitude. There are trails with other folks on them and trails that take you away from it all. Getting off the beaten trail is what it's all about for us. Pristine means you don't see other people and you hike and camp where the other folks don't. It also goes that the nicest, cleanest, and most interesting trails and campsites are the ones that take some effort to get to and haven't been trodden by the hordes. That's where the llamas come in. They carry the food and all the gear and make getting to remote trails and campsites a pleasure. And since we keep the size of the groups small, everyone gets to lead a llama.

...get off the beaten trail...

El Paseo LLama is now in its ninth year. In the past eight seasons, we have taken 631 hikes and expeditions. These have varied from the ½ day hike to the 8 day total immersion expedition. We do our hiking and trekking in the Carson National Forest. Within this  National Forest are the Wheeler Peak  Wilderness area and the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study area. Elevations range from 7,170 to 13,161 ft. and encompass five of the six Life Zones. The trail system is extensive and intertwined making it possible to design treks that wander through canyons and over ridges to our heart's content. Some of these trails are remnants of turn of the century mining trails and others date back to WPA and CCC projects. Some of the trails, usually the ones with parking lots at the trail head, are heavily used. While others have disappeared from the maps and get little or no use. We at El Paseo LLama have knowledge of these little used trails and can accomplish what few outfitters can, get you out there away from the beaten trail. There is a thrill that comes from hiking trails that show no sign of use in years.

El Paseo LLama's season for expeditions extends from May to mid October. Starting the season in the lower mountains, we then move into the higher mountains as the snow melts. The timing for this varies but is usually some time in June. We know where the snow lasts and can plan expeditions to avoid lingering snow. In the Fall, we work our way back down as the season advances. Day hikes are offered year round and in the Winter are taken on a trail in the lower mountains.

If you have longed to see and experience the mountain wilderness but don't know where to start, let me suggest you start with El Paseo LLama Expeditions. We will guide you all the way.

What are the hikes and expeditions like? Here are descriptions of the
various possibilities...

½ Day Hikes   Full Day Hikes
Expeditions:  2 Day    3Day   4-8 Days

    ½ Day Hikes   

...kids can ride llamas...

We offer the ½ day hike for folks looking for a llama trek experience that will give them a taste without overtaxing their resources. On this hike, we start at 10 a.m. and hike for two hours on an easy or moderate trail. This gets us to a lovely meadow where we eat our gourmet picnic lunch. After lunch, we hike back to the trailhead  arriving near 2:30 p.m. The nicest thing is that you will have a llama buddy to carry any items you might bring and to fascinate you with his personality. These hikes are low key, the pace is not arduous and kids can ride. The mountains have a special beauty that is enhanced if you are not seeing them through a windshield. In season, the wildflowers are abundant and beautiful. See the DAY HIKE CATALOG for a listing of suitable trails.

[back to list]   [Top of Page]

    Full Day Hikes   

...reach a peak or ridge for a panoramic view...

The full day hike requires more from the hiker and it gives much more in return. Starting at 9 a.m. gives us three hours to hike before lunch and we can cover more distance. Depending on the trail, we can climb to more remote meadows, or reach a peak or ridge for a panoramic view. Lunch is served on the trail or in a meadow and we continue further into the mountains after that. Our only limitations are that we return in the early evening and your physical stamina. On some full day hikes, we can hike a loop and not retrace our steps to the trail head. Since the full day hike, like all our offerings, is geared to your abilities, we can hike as little or as much as you like. The point is to spend an enjoyable full day in the mountains with the llamas, streams, flowers and trees. See DAY HIKE CATALOG for a listing of trails.

[back to list]   [Top of Page]


...see the stars, view the moon and watch the satellites from a
mountain campsite...

Expeditions are day hikes with the added benefit that you get to spend even more time in the mountains. With this time we can enjoy more solitude by getting further out and we can access more trails and vistas. We are much more likely to see wildlife such as Elk, Mule Deer and Big Horn Sheep as they are mostly active in the hours between dusk and shortly after sunrise. We enjoy the camaraderie of sharing a campsite in a beautiful spot. Depending on the expedition, the campsite could be one that no one else uses. If you have not seen the stars, viewed the moon or watched the satellites from a mountain campsite far from light pollution, you have a treat coming. And if you have experienced these wonders, it's probably time to renew your connection.

Expeditions range from 2 days to 8 days and each has its own character. All expeditions meet at the designated trailhead at 9 a.m. and after packing your gear, we hike up the trail with the llamas to our campsite. On the last day, we strike camp and hike back to the trail head arriving mid or late afternoon depending on your schedule. The days between the first and last depend on the length of the expedition and the itinerary we have decided before the expedition starts.

[back to list]    [Top of Page]

    Two Day Expeditions   

The two day expedition can have a variety of purposes to suit your needs. It can be at its simplest, an introduction to camping in the wilderness, or perhaps designed to be easy for those persons not actively involved in a fitness program. It can also be designed to accommodate families with small children. Kids can ride. It can also be more strenuous.

Usually, we hike to a campsite that can be reached before lunch. After lunch, camp is set up and the afternoon is free for to explore, nap, hike, or whatever it is you like to do. Dinner is served in the early evening, and perhaps a campfire to end a nice day. The next day, after breakfast, the time is free to engage in activities. Camp is usually struck during the morning and after lunch, the gear is loaded for a leisurely hike back to the trail head. The morning of the second day could involve a hike to a nearby peak or ridge for one of those panoramic vistas. In that case, camp would be struck after lunch and the arrival at the trailhead would be later in the afternoon.

See the EXPEDITION CATALOG for choices.

  • [back to list]  [Top of Page]

        Three Day Expeditions   

    ...life doesn't get much better than a day spent in the mountains...

    The three day expedition can be designed to be easy, moderate or strenuous depending on the trails we hike. It is also possible to hike further into the mountains on the first day. The middle day, is a day we spend entirely in the wilderness. You wake up in the morning and go to bed in the evening and spend the in-between in the mountains. Life doesn't get much better than a day spent in the mountains away from it all.

    Now what occurs on the middle day is up to you. Just laying back and watching the day go by is nice, as is reading or taking short walks. We could make a lunch and go on a day hike and since we are starting from a point well into the wilderness, and usually at an advanced altitude, we can see sights day hikers don't get to see and with a considerable less expenditure of energy. Another possibility is the loop hike. We can strike camp and hike to another campsite on the middle day and pitch a new camp for the night.

    The third day usually has free time but a portion is spent striking camp and hiking to the exit trailhead.

    See the EXPEDITION CATALOG for choices.

    [back to list]  [Top of Page]

        Four to Eight Day Expeditions   

    ... with our vast experience in these mountains, we can tailor make your trek...

    The four to eight day expeditions are bigger and better  expeditions. We can design these to have hiking days and lay over days, and with treks of this duration, all the mountains are open to us. You choose or let us know what you like and we will design your trek from our knowledge of these mountains. Possible variations include:

    Setting up a base camp and doing day hikes on surrounding trails. In this one we set and strike camp only once.

    A point to point trek where the starting and finishing trailheads are different. In this type, we set up and strike camp each day and get to experience several campsites.

    Treks can be all hiking or can include lay over days. Usually, one or two layover days are  needed in expeditions of five or more days.

The EXPEDITION CATALOG will illustrate some possible expeditions. Because of our vast experience in these mountains, we can tailor make an expedition. We know the trails, the pristine campsites, the water sources, the time it takes to hike from one point to another and because llamas do the work, there is no hassle...just a well organized good time expedition.

[back to list]   [Top of Page]


An aspen glade on Italianos Canyon trail

[Top of Page]

[ Trailhead ]  [ What's It Like Out There? ]  [ Sunny New Mexico ] 
[ Llamas Are Cool! ] 
[ Food For Thought ] 
[ Expedition Catalog ]  [Day Hike Catalog ]  [Terms, Conditions & Fees ]  [ Register & Reserve Here ]
[ Family Album ]

Your guide to information on this site     click for table of contents.
Register for the time of your life     click for instructions.       
Don't miss a thing    click for your trek prep list.

you asked for it & here it is

Questions, comments, concerns, problems?...To contact us, use one of the following addresses: