Best time to visit New Mexico

Gilman Tunnels

Take a ride through the old railway tunnels

Gilman Tunnels in New Mexico 2020 - Best Time
Photo by

Jay Gannett

The Gilman Tunnels take you through the rocks of the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, USA. You’ll drive along the Rio Guadalupe flowing below the tunnels, pass by impressive mesas, and enjoy the view of the Rio Guadalupe box canyon.

To get to the tunnels, you should reach Jemez Springs, drive through the town of Cañones (also known as Gilman), and proceed to the Forest Service Road 376. The Gilman Tunnels are just one mile (1.6 km) beyond the transition to the road. If you drive from Albuquerque, the way is 56 mi (90 km) and takes about 1 hour.

Gilman Tunnels in New Mexico - Best Season 2020

Built in the 1920s, the tunnels used to be a part of the former Santa Fe Northwestern Railway (SFNW). They are even named after a CEO of the SFNW—William H. Gilman. Till 1941 the tunnels served for the transportation of lumber from the mountains. Although the path has historical value, today the tunnels are open for travelers and are free to enter.

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The mountain road through the tunnels is very narrow and winding, with sharp and blind curves. But the surface is well-paved, grades are moderate, and the traffic is light. Hence, the way is rather safe not only for cars but for mountain bikes also.

The tunnels are closed during winter months due to snow and poor road conditions. There is a risk of avalanches and landslides. Snow often remain in the area till late April or early May. Normally Forest Service Road 376 remains open till late November.