How to unlock the bridge's gate.

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Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 01 If you have email service en route, please email us when you leave Santa Fe or Chama so we will know what time to expect you. (If you bring dogs this is Mandatory as our dogs will scratch your car when you arrive by jumping on it. We will keep our dogs contained in our yard when you are due to arrive.) We are 2 hours from Santa Fe and Chama. Please do not forget to email us or we cannot come look for you if you have a problem on the road. This is VERY important. Cellular telephone service ends when you leave the highway and turn on to Forest Road 151; you will not have cell phone service along the dirt road, nor at the bridge.

Unlocking and opening the gate at the bridge is extremely simple and intuitively obvious.

We have had hundreds of visitors and they have never had a problem with the gate and its lock. The locking system is easy to understand in "real life," even if these instructions and images may appear complex.

However, you may wish to print out this page and bring the print-out with you if you have any concerns about how to work the locking mechanism.

The locks for the bridge's gate are on the left as one drives up to the gate from Forest Service Road 151. The boom swings towards FS151, away from the bridge, so you will want to park your car away from the gate to leave enough room for the boom to swing open.

Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 02 The best way to unlock the gate is by kneeling and looking under the open end.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 03 There are four locks in the half-drum (the "lock carriage"): three are keyed locks, and one is a combination lock. We will let you know at the time you reserve Casita or Jacal what the combination number is.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 04 Spin the lock's tumblers to the correct combination number, squeeze the lock "closed" (the stainless steel half-circle "hook" into the lock's brass body as if you were locking it), and then pull the lock open. If you do not "close" the lock before pulling it open it will not open.

Note how the lock is hanging with the stainless steel hook entering the hole from the top and the right. This is how to replace the lock once you have driven past the gate and have closed it.

Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 05 The best place to put the lock after removing it is on top of the lock carriage so that it is not lost.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 06 Removing the combination lock will open a hole in the lock carriage.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 07 Pivot the retaining pin so that it lines up with the open hole.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 08 The retaining pin is now free to be pushed upward ("lifted") into the hole with one hand, while you pull the gate boom toward you with the other hand.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 10 The gate is now free to swing open, towards you (towards Forest Road 151, away from the bridge).
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 11 There is a hook on the post on the right side of the bridge entrance where the boom may be held so that you may drive onto the bridge.
Skull Bridge Locking Mechanism 12

After driving onto the bridge, closing the gate is simply reversing the process.

  • Swing the gate boom back to the lock carriage.

  • Hold the retaining pin upward while pushing the gate boom into the half-drum, centering the boom's end under the retaining pin so that the retaining pin may fall freely downward.

  • Rotate the retaining pin out of the way so that the combination lock may be returned to the lock carriage.

  • Scramble the combination lock's tumblers before replacing the lock onto the lock carriage.

  • Replace the combination lock in its hole.

  • Squeeze the lock shut.