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Gilman Tunnels

Take a ride through the old railway tunnels

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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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.

How dangerous are Gilman Tunnels

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.

When are the Gilman Tunnels open

Gilman Tunnels, NM, are closed during the winter months due to snow and poor road conditions. There is a risk of avalanches and landslides. Snow often remains in the area till late April or early May. Typically Forest Service Road 376 remains open till late November and this is also the time when you can fully admire the fall colors around.

Jemez Mountains camping

Jemez Falls Campground is considered to be extremely popular among tourists. It is located in a stunning Ponderosa Pine in proximity to the East Fork Jemez River. The campground has 52 campsites that include picnic tables and fire rings. You can take the Jemez Falls trail, as the Jemez Falls is the largest waterfall in the Jemez Mountains, or you can also try nearby fishing. Bandelier National Monument and The Valles Caldera National Preserve are within a short driving distance.

Gilman Tunnels history

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.

Gilman Tunnels directions

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 miles (90 km) and takes about 1 hour. From Santa Fe, the 85-mile (135-km) drive would take about 1.5 hours.

Practical info

Are the Gilman Tunnels open?

Although the path has historical value, today the tunnels are open for travelers and are free to enter.

Are the Jemez Mountains open?

Trails are open to the public. These are trails to Jemez Falls, Spence Hot Spring, McCauley Warm Spring, and San Antonio Hot Spring.

How far is Jemez Falls from Albuquerque?

Jemez Falls is about 60 miles (97 km) from both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

How far is Jemez Springs from Santa Fe?

There are 42.6 miles (68.6 km) to Santa Fe from Jemez Springs in east direction and 86 miles (138.4 km) following the I-25 by car, following the route I-25 N.

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