Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.
-- Georgia O'Keeffe
In the early-to-mid Twentieth Century, the Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu was used as a summer home by Georgia O'Keeffe, an artist best known for her paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes, in particular, those of Northern New Mexico and the Ghost Ranch.
The name "Ghost Ranch," or the local name, "El Rancho de los Brujos," was derived from the many tales of ghosts and legends of cattle rustler hangings in the Ranch's long history.
Located 65 miles northwest of Santa Fe, the Ghost Ranch today is a retreat and education center run by the Presbyterian Church. The 21,000-acre ranch includes several hiking trails that are open to the public - at no cost.
During our visit we hiked the three-mile (round-trip) trail to Chimney Rock, one of the most popular destinations on the ranch. Except for a couple of short steep sections, the hike was fairly easy.
Less than half-way up the ridge we saw the first views of Chimney Rock. The trail ends on a mesa just behind Chimney Rock, and provides an up-close, birds-eye view of the towering monolith. You’ll also have commanding 360-degree views of the ranch, the Piedra Lumbre basin and the surrounding mountains.
With the abundance of red rock, the gold and yellow hues of the mesas and odd rock formations, and just the general beauty of the area, it’s easy to see why O'Keeffe was so easily inspired by these landscapes.
Trail: Chimney Rock
RT Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Max Elevation: 7,100 feet