Pre-meeting Road Log: Little San Pascual Mountains
— Daniel J. Koning, W. John Nelson, and Scott Elrick


If you relish desert solitude and geologic intrigue, then you should not pass up the Little San Pascual Mountains. As the name implies, this mountain range is relatively small and almost inconspicuous compared to the nearby San Mateo and Magdalena Mountains, but the views from the peak of the range are rewarding and one finds it a challenge to navigate their steep slopes and cliffs. Because 95% of the mountains are a designated wilderness in the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, one is treated to a practically primordial setting of Chihuahuan desert flora and fauna. Getting there and hiking around the Little San Pascual Mountains involves a full day, and geologists interested in structure and Pennsylvanian-Permian stratigraphy could very well find themselves coming back again.

The Little San Pascual Mountains are 5 miles long and 1 mile wide and comprised of two parts. The northern half is higher than the southern half, having a relief of 300–800 ft as opposed to <250 ft. The northern part is underlain by relatively resistant Pennsylvanian strata containing abundant limestone, such as one sees capping the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque. Low hills and ridges underlying the southern half of the mountains consist of reddish Permian strata (Abo Formation and Yeso Group) with only snippets of the overlying Glorieta Sandstone and San Andres Formation. The limestones and dolomites of the San Andres Formation are mainly found 1 mile southeast of the south end of the Little San Pascual Mountains, where they underlie a 2-mile-long, 20–70 ft tall series of ridges. The access road crosses these ridges and also approaches San Andres-Glorieta outcrops underlying hills alongside the northern Armendaris Ranch gate.

Note: Full-text Fall Field Conference road logs for recent guidebooks are only available in print.

Recommended Citation:

  1. Koning, Daniel J.; Nelson, W. John; Elrick, Scott, 2022, Pre-meeting Road Log: Little San Pascual Mountains, in: New Mexico Geological Society, 72nd Fall Field Conference, Sept. 2022, Socorro, New Mexico, Koning, Daniel J.; Hobbs, Kevin J.; Phillips, Fred M.; Nelson, W. John; Cather, Steven M.; Jakle, Anne C.; Van Der Werff, Brittney, New Mexico Geological Society, Field Conference, pp. 2-29.

[see guidebook]