Chokecherry Canyon ranked No. 1 in New Mexico

Hannah Grover
A pair of bikers ride near Chokecherry Canyon in Farmington on Tuesday. The trail was recently named the top four-wheeling trail in the state.

FARMINGTON — It's no secret among locals that Chokecherry Canyon is a great place to take your off-road vehicle for a spin.

And now the trail is getting national recognition. Recently, Chokecherry Canyon —  which runs north from Piñon Hills Boulevard through the Glade Run Recreation Area —  was recognized as the best four-wheeling trail in New Mexico by PartCatalog Car and Truck Accessories.

Every year, the online retailer asks its readers to name their favorite off-road trails in every state. The catalog then releases the top five trails for each state.

About 3,800 people nationwide filled out the poll, according to PartCatalog. In addition to asking participants to rank the top five off-road destinations in their area, the survey also asked people where they live and what kind of vehicle they drive.

The results of the poll came at the perfect time, said Tonya Stinson, executive director of the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more than a year, the bureau has been working with a marketing company to brand the city as an outdoor destination for families. Stinson said the recent recognition will only enhance that brand.

As part of its emphasis on outdoor opportunities, the bureau has been working with the Bureau of Land Management and other local groups to improve trails in the Glade Run Recreation Area, which includes Chokecherry Canyon.

"It is truly a gem for our area," Stinson said.

Robert and Teri McCune head back to their car in in October 2015 after riding with friends in the Glade Run Recreation Area in Farmington. City officials say visitor spending is up more than 8 percent.

The poll results did not surprise Allen Elmore, a Farmington four-wheeling enthusiast who frequents Chokecherry Canyon.

"There's some beautiful areas here, but it has the most variety," he said.

Elmore said Chokecherry Canyon visitors can spend a week in the area and never run the same trail twice.

The recognition also benefits the entire area, Elmore pointed out. He said people who four-wheel in Chokecherry often shop, eat and take advantage of lodging in the area.

"To us, it's pretty obvious that this is the best area to wheel, and it's pretty nice that it's in our backyard," Elmore said.

In addition to Chokecherry Canyon, the other New Mexico trails that were recognized are Monticello Canyon near Monticello; a Chama trail near the northern New Mexico city; Red River Off-road in Red River; and Robillo's near Raton in the northeast.

Chokecherry was not the only nearby trail to get accolades. In Colorado, Black Bear Pass near Telluride received the No. 1 slot in the state, while another trail in Ouray ranked third and Imogene Pass, also near Telluride, ranked fifth.

Moab ATV trails in Utah also received the top ranking, and the Arch Canyon trail in Blanding, Utah, was ranked third. The Moab ATV trails were also ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

Kevin Wood rides his Suzuki 450 in the Glade Run Recreation Area on March 3, 2010.