Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Are you gravel curious?  Lizard Head Cycling’s newest New Mexico bike tour through the northern Chihuahuan desert is the Jornada del Muerto. Although this historical name given by the Spanish conquistadors, translates as “Dead Man’s Journey” or “Route of the Dead Man”, this tour certainly not about death and suffering!

The Jornada’s tour surfaces offers both less technical gravel and pavement riding across the beauty of southern New Mexico. The tour is designed for intermediate to advanced, cyclists. An added bonus on this tour, is the Ted Turner preserve where wildlife (large ungulates) sightings abound. Another bonus of this tour are hot springs at our lodging on 4 of 5 nights!

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel: Highlights

Tour Narrative

After meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the tour commences with ride in the spectacular Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a spectacular and fragile wetland in the New Mexico high desert. Each fall the refuge is home to 10’s of thousands of Sand Hill Cranes and a multitude of other bird life. We hope to witness a mass take off or landing during our ride around the Bosque.

See the Bosque’s Bird Life

Tour Highlights
After the opening day ride in the Bosque, the tour heads south for 2 days of riding based out of the New Mexican town of Truth or Consequences (T or C). T or C, until the 1950’s, was named Hot Springs, New Mexico and it is home to abundant geothermal activity. For the duration of this tour our lodging each night in T or C there are hot pools at our lodging to relax in each night!

Ted Turner’s Sierra Grande Ranch is a steward of spectacular and biodiversity-rich lands. The ranch is home to a diverse collection of wildlife including buffalo, raptors, turtles, and pronghorn and committed to restoring, sharing and safeguarding America’s wild places for future generations. We ride on a Ted Turner reserve on Day 5.

See the Wildlife and Landscapes of the Sierra Grande Ranch

Jornada Del Muerto Historical Background
The historic Jornada del Muerto trail was part of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The is an almost waterless 90-mile (140 km) trail across the Jornada desert basin beginning north of Las Cruces and ending south of Socorro, New Mexico.

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2024 Tour Dates

  • October 20 to 25, 2024 (Book Now!)
  • October 28 to November 2, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 2 riders needed to make GO
    Experience both Halloween 🎃 and Day of the Dead 💀 on this tour!

2025 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Meeting/Ending Town: Albuquerque, New Mexico (Albuquerque International Sunport – ABQ)

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3) , Upper Intermediate (3) , Advanced (3/4)

Easily accessible mileage options covering a combination of intermediate to advanced routes.

Tour Cost: $3,250 per person with shared accommodations. Add $595 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (includes 5-Nights).

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: Guide service, 5-nights lodging, all meals except for 1 dinner & 1 breakfast, entrance fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage therapy (if available) are additional.

Lodging for 5 Nights: (subject to change)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Gravel Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott 2023 Addict 30 which is light, can handle rough terrain, fits chunky tires and has enough mounts to carry all the liquids and freeze-dried chicken curry you want. What's really important, though is what this bike allows you to do. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Addict Gravel 30 is your ticket to adventure when you need it most.

The Addict 30 features: Addict Gravel Disc HMF Carbon Gravel geometry, Shimano GRX 22 speed drivetrain, Shimano BR-RX400 hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe G-ONE Bite Performance 700x45C tires. Approx. Weight: 20.3 / 9.2 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
22 miles with only 65-feet of climbing

After a shuttle from Albuquerque, we offer a unique ride through the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The Bosque is known for its Sand Hill Crane population that returns each October. During our ride we seek to engage in the abundant bird life; particularly in the winter and spring, keep your eyes peeled for the Mexican Duck, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, Mallard, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, and the Great Blue Heron. While riding in the Bosque, we hope to see 1,000’s of Sand Hill Cranes take off or land together.

After this ride, we head to our lodging and dinner in Socorro, New Mexico. For dinner, we sample from authentic New Mexican dishes that include the locally grown green Hatch chile.

Elevation Profile: 22 miles +65 feet / -65 feet

Day 2: Gyp Hills Loop
36 miles with up to 1,715 feet of climbing

After an authentic New Mexico breakfast there is a shuttle out of town for today’s ride. Most of the climbing is done in the first half of this entirely gravel lollipop route and as we hit the top of the climb (the gradients are tame!), you will soon be rewarded with views of the San Andres Mountain Range to the east, home to the largest population of desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico. See if you can identify the tallest peak in the range, Salinas Peak, which tops out at just shy of 9,000’.

Enjoy a long downhill back to the start point where we will reconvene and head to Truth or Consequences for our lodging which offers hot spring pools at our lodging! After the ride you can also explore the many art galleries and local artisans that inhabit this funky desert town.

Elevation Profile: 36 miles +1,715 ft / -1,715 ft

Day 3: Elephant Butte Reservoir
42 miles with up to 2,400 feet of climbing

A short morning shuttle to the north, before a mixed pavement, gravel, and trail ride around the greater T or C landscape. Ride south along the Elephant Butte reservoir, catch a glimpse of the Dam that creates the reservoir, and then follow a gravel road along the Rio Grande before looping back into town, ending your ride at our accommodations.

Elevation Profile: 42 miles +2,400 ft / -2,595 ft

Day 4: Jornada del Muerto
51 miles with up to 2,335 feet of climbing

On Day 4 we engage the Journey of Death!  All kidding aside, this is a lovely ride when one has access to water. We start by heading south of T or C. The paved road shortly gives way to gravel/dirt roads as we ascend through the first half of the day into the foothills of the Caballo mountains. Enjoy majestic mountainous desert views before heading back down, looping back to where you began.

Elevation Profile: 51 miles +2,335 ft / -2,335 ft

Day 5: Ted Turner Ranch Guided Ride (2-3 hours)

Today, our ride guide will be our hosts at the Sierra Grande, who will join us for today’s ride. We’ll shuttle out to one of two Ted Turner properties in the area, and absorb the sights, sounds, and feel of the Chihuahuan desert from a more intimate perspective. Stay on the lookout for glimpses of wild antelope or the endangered East African Oryx.

Day 6: Manzano Mountains State Park
24 miles with up to 1,550 feet of climbing

Our last day of the Journey of the Dead Man (Jornada Del Muerto) starts with a drive back toward Albuquerque… and a final ultra-scenic ride!

The ride starts in the Manzano Mountains State Park, at an elevation of just over 7,000′. We’ll ride alongside Manzano mountain for a short while, towering above us at over 10,000′. After a short climb, we’ll enjoy a stellar gravel descent out of the mountains. We’ll finish our final ride of the trip at the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Abó Unit.

Elevation Profile: 24 miles +1,550 feet / -2,710 feet

Jornada del Muerto Road & Gravel: Logistics & FAQs

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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