An action shot from NM4W early years.

Founded in 1958, the New Mexico 4 Wheelers holds the distinction of being the oldest club of its kind in New Mexico and 5th oldest in the United States. The club got its start as a way for families of off-road enthusiasts to get together and enjoy trips into the backcountry around the state. Originally called the Albuquerque Jeepherders, the club changed its name to the New Mexico 4 Wheelers on August 8, 1976, hoping to encourage even those who did not own a Jeep to join them.

 

NM4W-San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado. Seeing land some people will never see in a lifetime.
NM4W is not brand-specific and members have opportunities to test their driving skills and vehicle limitations.

Members Jack and Cathy Dickey commented, “Off-roading interests range from scenic trips in the mountains to view the fall colors to taking on some of the most extreme rock crawling trails in the southwest. Today, NM4W is a diverse group of people with a variety of off-roading interests.”

A Newsletter, an Article with Photos – From Before Off Roading was Cool

1959 Labor Day at Gila Cliff Dwellings Sept 5, 1959 – with Photos

First Newsletter Feb 11, 1965

Protecting the Environment and Public Lands

NM4W members clean up BLMUSFS land outside Espanola, NM

The New Mexico 4 Wheelers have worked closely with numerous other clubs and organizations in this effort including Tread Lightly, United Four Wheel Drive Associates, CORE (Colorado Off Road Enterprise), NMOHVA (new Mexico off highway vehicle alliance) and BRC (Blue Ribbon Coalition).

Previously, the New Mexico 4 Wheelers played a big role in starting Southwest 4WD, a large regional association of clubs that existed for many years and at one point reached as far as Missouri, though that club has since folded. The club also played a role in starting NMOHVA (New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance), drawing inspiration from the Clinton administration’s passing of the Travel Management Rule in doing so.

This group has also worked together to offer help to the community, assisting in the removal of a fire-damaged vehicle from local trails and working on other clean-up efforts within the forests in surrounding areas such as Espanola, NM. Other projects the New Mexico 4 Wheelers has worked on include the removal of graffiti from “The Step” rock ledges and removing trash from 4WD routes in the area to help ensure the protection of the area’s public lands.

Environmental Projects Include

  1. New Mexico 4 Wheelers participated in collaborative meetings with the Greater Santa Fe Trails Working Group to identify trail projects for 4WD recreation. The club provided input on projects and is awaiting further action.
  2. NM4W-Removing Burnt Cars Heavy Engine Block

    In March of 2017 a late model 2WD Ford Escape was driven into Cibola National Forest and set on fire. The Sandia Ranger District responsible for the removal and disposal of the vehicle did not have the proper equipment or resources to remove the car themselves. In June 2019 Kerry Wood, in charge of Trails and Wilderness for the district, approached the New Mexico 4 Wheelers for assistance. With the help of their members and monetary help from Extreme Terrain Clean Trail Project Grant Program, they were able to remove the vehicle from the trail.

    NM4W-The removal of heavy drive train from the burned car in Cibola National Forest.
  3. Thanks to a grant from Extreme Terrain Clean Trail Project Grant Program and a partnership with the New Mexico Jeep Group, they did a joint cleanup of BLM and the Forest land just north of Espanola, New Mexico.
  4. For Tread Lightly’s 25th Anniversary volunteers from the New Mexico 4 Wheelers, NMOHVA (New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance), and other local enthusiasts gathered in Cibola National Forest near Tijeras, New Mexico, for a stewardship project.  The project consisted of removing graffiti from rock ledges known as “The Steps” along FR 542 and removing trash from all the 4WD routes in the area.

Who Can Join

There is no requirement for entry into the club apart from ownership of a 4-wheel drive vehicle. All those with Jeeps, LandCruisers, Broncos, Scouts, Blazers, Ramchargers, and other trucks and SUVs are welcome to come and see everything the New Mexico 4 Wheelers has to offer. 

NM4W Frequently asked Questions: CLICK HERE

Join Us For a Ride

NM4W Welcomes a diverse set of 4x4s touring the Jemez Mountains

Those who are interested in joining the New Mexico 4 Wheelers can attend most of the club’s rides, which are held at least monthly, but often held on a weekly basis. Non-members can attend any of the club’s rides apart from Club Members Only rides and events. In addition to regular rides, the club also participates in many regular events including an annual trip to SE Utah, the annual Chile Challenge in Caballo, NM and the Four Corners 4X4 event in Farmington, NM.

Rides are available for individuals of all experience levels, giving everyone from newbies to experienced riders an opportunity to learn their vehicle’s capabilities and learn new skills. Individuals are encouraged to attend a meeting first so the group can get to know them and learn more about their experience. Those who are new to four-wheeling can receive help from ride leaders and veteran members, who can offer help with information such as understanding why you air down your tires and knowing when to shift into 4-low.

NM4W-Cedro Peak night run, just outside Tijeras, NM

Events and More

New Mexico 4 Wheelers often Interact with off-road clubs. Many of their members lead trails for the Las Cruces 4WD Club in Las Cruces, NM during the annual Chile Challenge event. Other clubs they also Interact with are the Cliffhangers Four Wheel Drive Club in Farmington NM and Jeeps West of Gallup, NM. 

NM4W-Fall colors run on Bluebird Mesa in the Jemez Mountains

They also hold a variety of events throughout the year for beginners. Among these events are regular Jeep 101 topics covering many different subjects, giving individuals of all experience levels the opportunity to learn more in preparation for their rides. Women-only Jeep 101 classes are available, offering a comfortable and supportive environment for the group’s female members. These classes may cover topics such as CB radios, tires, lockers, and the proper use of fire extinguishers. 

 

Member NaDeen Roland, club secretary, commented, “I love that they have novice runs since I’m not at a point in my life where I’m ready to break my Jeep by going to some moderate- or high-skill level areas.”

Community and Charities

NM4W Attended 4th of July parade in Creede Colorado

Charity work the club has been involved in includes holding food drives for local food banks and putting together donations for a variety of local charities. But writing about everything they have done over the years would be a whole other article. I can tell you during Covid-19 I attended their virtual online club meeting. This meeting was impressive. They were very organized and what impressed me was the discussion about how they were going to help their community and in particular the Roadrunner Food Bank. When you join this club you will learn how they interact with the community. 

Joining the New Mexico 4 Wheelers

Those who would like to attend a ride or an event with the New Mexico 4 Wheelers are encouraged to visit the group’s website. Becoming a part of the club grants individuals many benefits, including access to GPS data for local trails, gaining help from other members in choosing accessories for one’s vehicle, and understanding the basics of 4WD vehicle ownership such as choosing the right gears and learning basic recovery techniques. If you’re ready to learn more and meet other members right away, you can send them a message through their Facebook page. You can also contact them on their website. Click Here

Special thanks to Frank G. Whiston for his help with supplying detailed information about the club.

 

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