Located in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains, in Sandoval County, in USA, the Gilman Tunnels blasted out of the rock in the 1920’s, were originally used for a logging railroad and are quite high. The drive, in the Santa Fe National Forest, is definitely worth it.
Located near the town of Jemez Springs, the road through the tunnels bears the designation Forest Service Road 376. It’s paved but very narrow. This road has an excellent surface, grades are moderate, and traffic is very light (heavier on summer weekends). They were named after William H. Gilman (one-time CEO of the SFNW Rail Road). Just past the tunnels, the pavement ends. In fact, there is a gate across the road at that point which is often closed well into May because of snow and poor road conditions until the spring and summer heat dries things out.
This is an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. Avalanches and landslides can occur anytime. The route was part of the former Santa Fe Northwestern Railway (SFNW). The Guadalupe River surges below the tunnels, through the Guadalupe Box Canyon. After the second tunnel you will find a beautiful waterfall and many rocks to climb around and rest on.
There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don't forget your camera with lots of film/memory, fully charged batteries and an empty memory card! It’s a two old large stone logging rail tunnels perched high about the Guadalupe River, offering stunning views of the box canyon and Jemez. This beautiful loop drive from the Elk Mountain Lodge is a must do. This roadside attraction offers stunning views, both of the tunnels themselves, and also of the beautiful box canyon and the Guadalupe River, below.