Columbine Canyon  LbNA # 1796

Placed DateSep 7 2001
LocationQuesta, NM
Planted ByLea      
Found By CougarHart
Last Found May 20 2007
Hike Distance?

The Columbine Canyon Letterbox

(Questa, New Mexico)

MISSING as of July 5, 2009
Placed on September 7, 2001 by J,L & L
An easy hike, about 20 minutes up.

From the old Blinking Light - the junction of 64 and 522 north of Taos (mile 0), take 522 north. As you head out of town, youll pass R.C. Gormans house on the right (mile 1), marked by a long, light colored adobe wall on a small bluff above the highway. R. C. Gorman is one of Taoss most famous Navajo artists. On your left youll see Tres Orejos Mountain in the distance.

Pass through the village of Arroyo Hondo. As you drive along on the other side of Hondo, youll see a road sign pointing to Cebolla Mesa on your left (mile 16). That road goes out to a picnic ground with nice sweeping views of the Rio Grande Gorge, which might be a nice place to stop for a picnic on your way back to Taos, after you have found the letterbox.

Youll drive through the village of Questa and turn right (East) on Highway 38 (mile 21), which is the highway to Red River, NM. Pass Goat Hill Campground (mile 24) and, soon after, turn to the right at Columbine Canyon Campground. Go to the trail head at the south end of the campground and start walking.

This is an easy trail with a gentle incline. In summer, it is shaded; in autumn, the numerous Aspen make it especially beautiful. The trail meanders along parallel to the diminutive Columbine Creek, and you will hear the creek for most of your walk. After about 10 minutes of leisurely walking you should see an enormous pine tree up a hill on your right. Be sure to sniff the bark; the vanilla aroma is the sure sign that this is a Ponderosa Pine.

Keep walking on the trail and you will cross a footbridge. When you have been walking at a leisurely pace for about 20 to 25 minutes, you'll come to a second footbridge. From the near side of the second footbridge, turn around and face back down the trail. Take 16 paces and you should be standing next to a large Aspen tree carved with too many initials and hearts, on your left. Look to your right and take about 8 paces to a boulder, 5 feet wide. An even larger boulder rests just behind, at the bottom of a scree field. Look behind and underneath the second boulder and you will find what you've been seeking.