Rendija Canyon lies just to the north of Los Alamos, in Santa Fe National Forest. We use three map areas and two start/finish locations, so please check the directions for the event.
The map area covers mesa/canyon terrain at an elevation of around 7000 feet. The terrain is varied with sandy soil and rock, and many cliffs. The climate is generally quite warm and arid - runners are advised to use sunscreen and carry water - with the chance of flash flooding in the narrowest parts of Rendija Canyon (rendija means cut) if heavy rain occurs to the west (up to 10 miles, to the Jemez mountains). Flash flooding should be audible before it is visible. Much of the area was burned over during the Cerro Grande fire in 2000, so fallen trees abound, and the remaining dead trees are a potential hazard in windy conditions. (There can be severe risk of fire during dry spells, so smoking is strongly discouraged.) The land is otherwise fairly open, with patches of cactus and other stickery plants. Mesa tops have regions of cryptogamic soil which is damaged by footsteps - step on rock, grass or dirt if you can. Rattlesnakes are not abundant but may occasionally be found, so be alert. The area is home to a few very rarely seen mountain lions and bears, and also to the occasional irate hummingbird or hawk. All would prefer not to be disturbed. One orienteer has reported seeing a single patch of poison ivy in the entire map area. More common is the similar looking and harmless Virginia creeper. Sandy soil in canyon bottoms may be undermined by gophers, an ankle hazard. Some map features change more rapidly than we can represent, e.g. the course of trails and stream beds, and areas covered by fallen trees: bear this in mind while navigating. The map shows only the most unique rocks - many more are omitted for clarity. The southeast corner of the area abuts a firing range: do not enter the range! The boundary is marked with fences and signs. Otherwise, on most courses the safety bearing is south. The exception is courses that use our most recently mapped section south of the road; here the safety bearing is north to the road.
The only injuries reported by orienteers here have been scratches and scrapes on bare arms and legs.
An ultra marathon trail race is held here each year. The video below shows up close views of some of the terrain. Keep in mind the race is held in May, one of the driest months of the year.
See the [file:course_setter_notes_E.pdf=course-setter's notes]
See the [file:course_setter_notes_W.pdf=course-setter's notes].
Rendija South (Guaje Pines)
Rendija South (Pajarito Trailhead)