Spring hiking in Taos: Mica Mines at Ojo Caliente

A hike in the high desert followed by a soak at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs is one of New Mexico’s true pleasures. The plateau above Ojo Caliente offers gentle hikes through the desert landscape and views of mesas, cliffs, and mountains. The hot mineral waters soothe muscles tired from hiking and provide a feeling of deep relaxation.

There are several trails that begin near the springs and lead up to the plateau. Joseph Mica Mines is one of the destinations. The mica mines are caves cut into a pink granite cliff surrounded by sparkling bits of silvery mica. It can be reached by taking a mostly easy two-mile hike.

The trail begins just west of the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. Look for the map that says Posi, just beyond the picnic shelter.

The Posi Pueblo and Mica Mine Trails are part of a system administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Starting at about 6,200 feet, the trail climbs up through the rocky pink granite. The mica mines were primarily used beginning in 1900 until the 1940s. According to BLM archaeologist Merrill Dicks, the first reference to the Joseph Mine appears in a land transaction in 1910.

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