OverviewUte Mountain is a volcanic cone mountain in northern New Mexico. At 10,093' the mountain is the highest point of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, a national monument established on March 25, 2013 by Presidential Proclamation. The mountain is quite prominent, jutting out of the rugged and relatively flat high desert terrain surrounding the mountain. As testament to the rugged and isolated nature of the mountain, there are no established trailheads nor official trails to the summit of Ute Mountain. The area is great for exploration and adventure in that very little information exists regarding accessing the mountain. Beware, however, that much of the vegetation on and around Ute Mountain is prickly and stout. Pants are a great idea when exploring Ute Mountain.
The views from the slopes of Ute Mountain of the nearby Latir Peak Wilderness to the east, the cluster of Colorado 14ers Little Bear, Blanca and Lindsey to the north and San Antonio Mountain to the west are fantastic.
Getting ThereThe main access road for the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Ute Mountain is the east/west Sunshine Valley Road. From the traffic light in Questa, NM, drive 9.7 miles north on highway 522 to the signed Sunshine Valley Road. This is a gravel and dirt road. Turn left (west) on the Sunshine Valley Road. Drive 4 miles west on the Sunshine Valley Road to an unmarked dirt road on your right. To this point, a passenger vehicle will do fine on the road. At this point you have two options. The first option is to continue straight for two more miles to the TP241 dirt road which will take you north on a scenic drive along the Rio Grande river gorge eventually arriving at the Ute Mountain "trailhead". This road along the rim has more rocky sections and high clearance is highly advised.
- A Google Map showing the driving directions described here