OverviewPlacer Mountain is located in the Ortiz Mountains. These small, forested mountains rise just east of the Sandia Mountains about 28 miles south of Santa Fe. Placer Mountain is located in the 1350-acre Ortiz Mountain Educational Preserve (OMEP), which is administered by the Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG). Gold mining was once a major activity here, and the area is riddled by small, abandoned mine shafts. One gold mine is still active. OMEP is not a free access area. Access is controlled by a locked gate at the end of Goldmine Road. However, bird watching, photography, hiking, geology, and history tours are scheduled on a monthly basis by the SFBG. Placer Mountain hikes are currently being offered twice a year.
With an elevation of 8,897', Placer Mountain ranks way down on the New Mexico Elevation List. But the new field of Prominence has made Placer Mountain a more important peak. With a prominence of 2,087', it’s just big enough to make an appearance on the New Mexico Prominence Map.
Getting ThereFrom the small town of Cerrillos on NM Highway 14, drive south about one mile or so to the signed Goldmine Road, also known as County Road 55. Drive up the good road about six miles to a locked gate, which is the entrance to the OMEP. This is where you will meet your guide. If you don't have a 4WD vehicle, you will have to park here.
Red TapeYou will need to contact the SFBG to sign up for the Placer Mountain hike. A $5 donation is suggested. OMEP information is attached below.
External LinksOrtiz Mountains Educational Preserve Information
New Mexico Prominence Map