With over eight miles of trails and several access points along the river, the Animas River Trail is Farmington’s ultimate urban hike. Opt for the easy 1.8-mile Riverside Loop and stop in at nearby Riverside Nature Center for complimentary bird food for the ducks and geese. Keep an eye out for eagles, hawks, osprey, quail, and pheasants. Shaded by cottonwood trees, the flat, paved route is perfect for jogging, biking, or an all-ages family outing.


In 1948, an oval spacecraft allegedly crashed in Hart Canyon, near Aztec, with 16 bodies inside. A hoax or a government cover-up? You decide. The well-marked 9.2-mile Alien Run Trail loop—with options for longer, more challenging hikes—features a commemorative plaque at the crash site, about four miles into the trek, and views of La Plata Peak.


Located on public land, Pilares Canyon has more than 20 natural sandstone arches with names like Cartoon Head and Petroglyph. About 15 miles from Aztec, the adventure is more like a drive, then a short hike or scramble to an arch, and repeat. Download a guide with GPS locations, length, and difficulty ( or book a daylong arch hunt with a Salmon Ruins archeologist (


Built in the 1700s, a well-preserved Navajo defensive site perched atop a large boulder is your reward on this hike near Navajo Dam. The 1.6-mile out-and-back Simon Canyon Ruin trail starts with a steep climb until you reach a flat, dry riverbed. Other highlights include cool rock formations, San Juan River views, and dazzling canyon vistas.


Dinosaur bones, coprolites (fossilized dinosaur poop), petrified wood, and alien eggs are just a few treasures to uncover at this fantastic geological playland. About 40 miles south of Farmington, the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness features hoodoos and fungal-shaped sandstone rock formations were formed millions of years ago by erosion. Trails are not marked in this sprawling 45,000-acre wilderness, so download a map for the moderate 4.7-mile Bisti Badlands Trail loop or take a Navajo Tours USA guided hike for an in-depth, five-hour adventure.

Read more: The co-owner of Farmington’s 505 Cycles is helping to build a community of two-wheel enthusiasts.