Eight things to do to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day
Before tourists began visiting Chaco Canyon from around the world, it was a destination for ancestral people. Hannah Grover, firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGTON — National Get Outdoors Day is June 8. Here are eight things to do in San Juan County to celebrate the occasion.
Visit Brown Springs OHV Recreation Area
Spend the night at the new campground before you hit the trails in your off-highway vehicle. Brown Springs is located in Glade Run Recreation Area. It features areas for OHV drivers of all levels to explore. The Glade Run Recreation Area contains about 19,000 acres of sandy arroyos and sandstone rocks. Drivers can navigate boulders, slickrock and other features. Brown Springs is accessible off of Pinon Hills Boulevard in Farmington.
Hang out at Navajo Lake Marina for National Marina Day
It’s not just National Get Outdoors Day. Navajo Lake Marina is also celebrating National Marina Day. Stop by the marina to fish, kayak and enjoy various activities planned throughout the day
Marina Day kicks off at 9 a.m. June 8 with a trash clean up at the lake.
Families can enjoy free hotdogs from noon to 3 p.m. or they can take a kayak or paddleboard out onto the lake from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children will be given free minnows from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which they can use to catch a fish for the chance to win a fishing pole.
Other activities include a rock hunt, a water balloon toss challenge, a costume contest and more.
The marina is located off of New Mexico Highway 511 at Navajo Lake State Park.
Ride the Alien Run Mountain Bike Trail
Visit the place an alien space ship was reported to have crashed in March 1948. The Alien Run Mountain Bike trail offers three different trail experiences. Riders can choose between a five mile, 10 mile or 19 mile loop. The five-mile and 10-mile courses are suitable for intermediate riders while the 19-mile trail includes portions that require more technical skills.
More experienced riders can choose to head down a short spur known as the Black Hole, which features some advanced slickrock riding.
The Alien Run trailhead is located in Hart Canyon and is accessible by taking County Road 2770. Drive about 2.7 miles on County Road 2770 to an oilfield road and a sign will direct visitors to the trailhead about half a mile up the oilfield road.
See the night sky at Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Twice a week, Chaco Culture National Historical Park hosts a night sky program in the observatory behind the visitor’s center. Participants learn about ancestral Puebloan cultures and astronomy at one of the 115 International Dark Sky Parks in the world.
The night sky program takes place at sunset every Friday and Saturday evening April through October. Each presentation is followed by the opportunity to view the night sky through the park telescope. The park entrance fee is $25 per vehicle and the permit is valid for seven days.
To get to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, take County Road 7900 near Nageezi.
Check out the Bisti Badlands
View the unique geological formations of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area. Millions of years ago, the Bisti area was a coastal swamp land. Traces of that past can be found in the desert landscape. These traces include fossils left from dinosaurs and paleolithic mammals. It was once home to the Bisti Beast — a smaller cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The badland environment also includes hoodoos, arches and spires.
One of the popular geological formations to visit is an area known as the cracked eggs. This formation includes a series of speckled mudstone that resemble eggs. These giant rocks can be more than six feet long.
Other popular places to visit in the Bisti Badlands include features known as Stone Wings, Log Jam, Hoodoo City and Bisti Arch. GPS coordinates to these locations can be found at farmingtonnm.org.
The Bisti Badlands can be accessed by taking County Road 7297, located about 40 miles south of Farmington off of New Mexico Highway 371.
Swim at Lake Farmington
The Beach at Lake Farmington is officially open for the summer, which means swimming, camping, boating and fishing. The entrance fee is $5 per vehicle. Cool down swimming at the Beach or rent a kayak or paddleboard. A fishing dock provides opportunities to catch trout and new trails offer places to ride mountain bikes or hike.
Lake Farmington is located off of New Mexico Highway 516 in east Farmington across from the Farmington Flea Market.
Explore arches around Aztec
San Juan County boasts of more than 400 identified arches. These arches range from miniature arches with openings smaller than four feet to major arches with spans of more than 160 feet. Maps to these arches can be found at aztecnm.com.
One of the popular arches is known as Anasazi Arch or Cox Canyon Arch, which is located just south of the Colorado state line and is accessible using oilfield roads off of County Road 2300. A short trail that includes two short scrambles up a mesa leads to the arch.
Visit Aztec Ruins National Monument
See the largest reconstructed kiva in the United States while visiting Aztec Ruins National Monument. The national monument includes a short trail that takes visitors through the 900-year-old ancestral Puebloan site.
Aztec Ruins National Monument is located at 725 Ruins Road in Aztec. Guided tours of the ruins are available daily.
There is no entrance fee to visit the national monument, which also features exhibits that illustrate the history of the site.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.