Simon Canyon ACEC

Quick Facts

Simon Canyon ACEC

New Mexico

(505) 599-8900

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Simon Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) is about 3,900 acres in size and is managed for semi-primitive forms of recreation including fishing, hiking, and backpacking. Development at the mouth of the canyon is minimal with a parking lot, picnic table, and toilet, and provides the visitor an alternative to the more highly developed state park sites located nearby.

The sandstone canyon is characterized by moderately steep, to very steep, rough and broken terrain. Vegetation in the area is varied and ranges from shrubs, cactus species and cottonwood trees found at the canyon bottom, to piñon and juniper trees at upper elevations, with small scattered patches of Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir along the high canyon rim. Water from the small intermittent stream that flows down the canyon provides for areas of riparian plant communities.

The diverse canyon landscape provides habitat for a variety of bird and mammal species such as the golden eagle, prairie falcon, great horned owl, porcupine, beaver, and deer. Local sportsmen and fishing enthusiasts from across the United States come to fish the Quality Waters of the San Juan River, including the stretch that flows past the mouth of Simon Canyon. Narrow trails winding along the river's edge will lead you to your favorite fishing spot.

The canyon also contains remnants of an earlier human occupation. Simon Canyon Ruin, a Navajo Pueblito, sits on a bench overlooking the canyon drainage. It is the only classic "boulder type" defensive site built north of the San Juan River and dates back to 1754. It consists of a well-preserved one-room structure built on top of a large boulder. Simon Ruin can be reached by taking a short hike up a steep dirt road past an active well location, then continuing on a foot path located along the bench overlooking the canyon drainage.

Map of Simon Canyon Rec. Area

Latitude, Longitude: 36.839240, -107.633400

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Activities

  • Boating

    Non-motorized boating is allowed within the recreation area.

  • Camping

    Camping in the parking area is prohibited, but dispersed camping is allowed in other areas.

  • Fishing

    The San Juan River, downstream of Navajo Dam, is designated as trout fishing Quality Waters. These waters have reduced bag limits or are catch-and-release.

  • Hiking

    The park offer hiking trails to explore the beautiful landscape and historical sites.

  • Historic Sites

    The canyon contains remnants of an earlier human occupation. Simon Canyon Ruin, a Navajo Pueblito, sits on a bench overlooking the canyon drainage. It is the only classic "boulder type" defensive site built north of the San Juan River and dates back to 1754. It consists of a well-preserved one-room structure built on top of a large boulder.

  • Picnicking

    A graveled parking area, picnic table, and vault toilet are located at the mouth of Simon Canyon.

Directions

Driving

West of NM 511 above Navajo Dam.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(505) 599-8900

Links