4th of July Canyon

Red River, New Mexico (Taos County)

Last Updated: 05/17/2022
5 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
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Temporary Closure
Typically Open: 05/01 - 12/31
Length: 3.58 miles
Highest Elevation: 9981 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Red River
Nearest Town w/ Services: Red River
Official Road Name: 490
Management Agency: Carson National Forest
District: Questa District


Highlight: 4th of July Canyon
There is a discrepancy between the Motor Vehicle Use Map and the signage along this trail. The MVUM is the legal binding document showing the first half as a 50" and under trail and not legal for full size vehicles, as where the on trail signage states otherwise. Due to the nature of the MVUM being the legal document, we advise that this trail is 50" and under. We are working with the Forest Service to determine if the signage is correct, or if the map is correct. Old Red River Pass Trail is closed for repair. Forest Road 488 is the only Entrance and Exit for Full Size Vehicles at this time. Remember to Stay on Forest Road 488 as it borders Enchanted Circle Cross Country Skiing Area which are not trails open to motorized use! 4th of July Canyon is a "choose your own adventure style of trail." You can make it as challenging or easy as you want. Photo opportunities abound of the Sangre de Christo mountains and spacious meadows.


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
50" and Under Access The trailhead can be distinguished by the volunteer fire department building in the parking area. A "Four Wheel Drive Only"and "No Trailers" sign invites straight up the trail to your challenge.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Red River

Start at the east end of the town of Red River where Highway 38 and Highway 578 (Main Street) meet at a "Y" junction. This is easily identified by a standalone gas station with no convenience store or facilities at the "Y". From the "Y" head southeast on Highway 578 for 4.2 miles. The trailhead is on the left sharing a parking area with the volunteer firefighter building. Old Red River Pass Trail is closed for repair. Forest Road 488 is the only Entrance and Exit for Full Size Vehicles at this time. Remember to Stay on Forest Road 488 as it borders Enchanted Circle Cross Country Skiing Area which are not trails open to motorized use!



Trail Reviews (15)

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Brett Brogdon

Mapping Crew - New Mexico

My first vehicle was a 1987 Isuzu Trooper, as a sixteen year old that meant mudding behind the local lake. After cracking the transfer case in half I almost traded it for a 1970 El Camino, boy would my life had turned out differently! Instead I went down the rabbit hole of classic Chevrolet Blazers, until one night in Hot Springs, Arkansas I was introduced to rock crawling with Jeeps. As I sat there completely vertical, staring straight up the hood of an old CJ7 at the stars above, I knew I had to have a Jeep. So in the summer of 2001 I found "Goldie" sitting brand new on the local lot, no one wanted her because she was a four cylinder and therefore sat on the lot for a year. She took me all over Arkansas during college, and slowly grew as did my driving skills. When you are working with two (to four) cylinders less than the rest of the guys, it takes a little more gas pedal and finesse. I became a believer in driving my rig, wheeling it hard, which sometimes meant a trail side repair, but then driving it home. That little gold Jeep is still sitting in my garage, and still with a four cylinder engine, it has driven me all over the United States and created excitement for me and spectators for over 16 years now. There have been a few more Jeeps added to the roster, because sometimes you need a spare, but I am a firm believer that knowing your rig and your own skills will take you farther than most people believe. In the summer of 2007 I moved to Telluride, Colorado. My friend needed a caretaker for his cabin for a month while he was working in Alaska, so it seemed like a great opportunity to experience the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, his soon to be ex-girlfriend decided she was going to move back into the cabin with her new boyfriend. I was left homeless with all my friends worldly possessions. Lucky for me he was a mountain guide with lots of cool camping gear. My new boss told me it was fairly common in mountain towns to have experiences like that and suggested that I just camp for a week until I could find a new place to live. Well that week turned into five months, as I went to work during the day and returned to my tent at night. I was the first one to make it into the ghost town of Alta that year, winching myself through the snow and pitching my tent next to the building that Nikola Tesla used for his first commercial use of electricity. It was a great summer, just me and my pet wolf experiencing Mother Nature at its finest. "Overlanding" wasn't a common term in the USA at that point, and my gear wasn't very fancy so I guess I was still officially camping, but it did instill a passion that grew into Overland Expedition Specialists LLC. Maybe some day there will be a new phrase to describe it, but I think we can be both Rock Crawlers and Overlanders. If you are out there exploring, call yourself anything you want, just remember to always Tread Lightly!
For individual use only, not to be shared.