Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition  by Laurence Parent

Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition Guide Book

by Laurence Parent (Falcon Guides)
Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition  by Laurence Parent
New Mexico is famous for its high mountains, Indian ruins, sand dunes, and stark deserts. Hikes in the state offer everything from lush alpine lakes in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to rugged wilderness canyons in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This revised edition of Hiking New Mexico gives you the information you need to plan your customized trip to the Land of Enchantment with more than 90 of the state’s best hikes, mile-by-mile directional cues and detailed directions to the trailheads, and information on distance and difficulty for each trail. This guide leads you through New Mexico’s mountains, deserts, caves, and canyons. Climb Wheeler Peak, the state’s highest, and enjoys views deep into Colorado, go underground in the lava tubes of El Malpais National Monument, and hike for days through the lush woodland of the Gila Wilderness in complete solitude.

© 2018 Laurence Parent/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 93.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 93.

A loop day hike into the northern section of the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. The 10-K Trail got its name because it roughly follows the 10,000-foot elevation contour along the east side of the Sandias. The huge cleared strip was the initial work of a large scenic highway that was planned to run along much of Sandia Crest. Fortunately the plan was killed before it was completed, even though the builders had already cleared an ugly swath several miles long through the forest. The first part of the hike passes through dense forests of aspen, spruce, and Douglas-fir. Most of the return loop follows the crest, with spectacular views of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.
Albuquerque, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.9
The northern end of the Manzano Mountains is noted for its impressive stands of big-tooth maples. The maples provide some of the best fall color in the Southwest. This loop trail climbs at an easy grade up through conifer forest to some colorful groves of the trees. The first 2 miles of the trail follow Gallina Canyon upstream, partly on what was once an old road. You’ll pass the return leg of the loop on the left, the unmarked Fourth of July Cutoff Trail, in only about 0.1 mile. Go right and stay in the canyon. A very small stream sometimes flows down the creek bottom. The most common conifers along the hike are ponderosa pine and Douglas fir.
Mountainair, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 5.1
A day hike to Indian ruins located high above the wooded floor of Frijoles Canyon in a large shelter cave. To start, walk through the visitor center up the canyon on the main paved loop trail. Stay on the north side of the creek. Within a few hundred yards, the trail forks. Keep right and walk through the large pueblo ruin of Tyuonyi.
White Rock, NM - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 3.1
A short loop day hike through a large dune field to Alkali Flat, a source of gypsum sand for White Sands National Monument. The Alkali Flat Trail leads through the heart of the dunes at White Sands National Monument. The dunes are large, closely spaced, and move with every wind storm, allowing little vegetation to survive. The landscape, with bright white dunes, endless sky, and distant mountain ranges, has a stark appeal.
Alamogordo, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
A cross-country day hike into the scenic badlands below Angel Peak. The route leads down into the badlands below the canyon rim from the northeast side of the campground. There are no formal trails, so good route-finding skills are necessary. Since the route is steep and has cliffs and several sandstone ledges that must be worked around, the hike is not recommended for inexperienced hikers. Don’t try it if the clay beds are wet. They become slick and dangerous. The colorful badlands were cut by drainages flowing into the San Juan River about 10 or 15 miles north. Angel Peak is the prominent peak about 1 mile north of the campground. The clay and sandstone beds exposed in the badlands are but a small part of the huge sedimentary San Juan Basin.
Bloomfield, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 2
A loop day hike through lush, high forest and along rushing mountain streams in the White Mountain Wilderness. The White Mountain Wilderness is a 49,000-acre tract ranging from 6,000 to 11,500 feet in elevation. For the most part, its boundaries contain the high crest that encircles the Rio Bonito drainage. This hike follows one of many possible loops along running streams to the crest of the range. The wilderness is a popular area with hikers, especially on summer weekends. The 44,000-acre Little Bear Fire of 2012 burned a large chunk of the White Mountain Wilderness, plus quite a few homes near Ruidoso. Fortunately this hike was not heavily affected by the fire.
Capitan, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6.3
A two- or three-day loop hike deep into the scenic Bandelier Wilderness. The ruins in Frijoles Canyon are usually mobbed with people in summer, especially on weekends. Within minutes of starting this hike, however, you will leave the vast majority behind. This hike makes a large loop into the heart of the Bandelier Wilderness. Along the way it visits a large unexcavated pueblo, scenic viewpoints, running streams, and mountain forest. A lot of the hike was burned by the Las Conchas Fire of 2011, so there is less forest existing now than is described in the following text. However, vegetation is coming back and the hike still offers much scenic beauty to hikers.
White Rock, NM - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 18
A day hike to a pass in the Organ Mountains. From the trailhead, the path climbs steadily, trending northwest overall. The trail winds through occasional boulders and rock formations. Scattered oaks and junipers offer shade along the route. As you climb, views to the east and northeast get better and better. To the south tower the igneous crags of the Organ Needles. A particularly good viewpoint is reached shortly before the end of the hike at about 1.5 miles. Baylor Pass is reached at about 2 miles. The pass is named after the Confederate general who went through the pass in 1861 to capture Union troops located at San Augustin Springs. Dogs are not allowed.
Las Cruces, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
A long day hike or backpack through forest and lush meadows into the heart of the Pecos Wilderness at the Pecos River. This trail makes a great day hike or, even better, an overnight trip into the heart of the Pecos Wilderness. The 223,000-acre wilderness is the second largest in the state and contains many of the highest peaks and a large concentration of alpine lakes and streams. The trail climbs from Iron Gate Campground through conifer forest up onto Hamilton Mesa, a beautiful area of meadows with panoramic views of the 12,000- and 13,000-foot peaks of the Pecos Wilderness.
Pecos, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 11
A day hike onto a promontory overlooking the fork between the three main branches of Big Canyon. This trail ends on a point overlooking one of the deepest and most rugged canyons in the Guadalupe Mountains. The canyon cuts through 1,800 feet of rock at the mouth, including the Capitan Reef. The limestone reef, the largest in the world, contains many caves, including the famous Carlsbad Cavern. The trail follows a wooded ridge with only slight ups and downs along the way. Be sure to be careful with campfires and cigarettes. several big fires in recent years have burned large areas here and in adjoining Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Carlsbad, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 4
A loop day hike to an extensive lava tube cave system in the lava flows of El Malpais National Monument. From the National Park Service “Big Lava Tubes” sign at the parking area, look for rock cairns heading east. Follow the cairns out onto the black lava flow. Watch carefully, so that you do not lose the cairns. You are entering a rolling sea of lava that is fairly heavily wooded with ponderosa pine, alligator juniper, and piñon pine. It is easy to get lost if you lose the route. The trail is not worn into the lava flow; only the cairns mark the way. Be sure to take a compass and a topo map and/or a GPS unit.
Grants, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness contains a maze of eroded clay beds and sandstone remnants. The clay beds, colored many shades of gray, with highlights of red and yellow, are very soft and erode easily. Little vegetation grows on the poor, unstable soil. This trail description is meant only as an introduction to the Bisti Badlands. No trails really exist in the wilderness. The badlands can seem maze-like to the inexperienced hiker, making it easy to get lost. However, if you are a beginner, do not be afraid to at least walk into the edge of the badlands. To go farther, take a map and compass and go with experienced hikers.
Farmington, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 4
A day hike to an active fire lookout tower on the summit of a high peak on the north side of the Gila Wilderness. Black Mountain lies on the north edge of the Gila Wilderness in splendid isolation. Despite having a good trail, maintained for the active fire lookout on the summit, and being a scenic area, the trail is little used. You’re unlikely to meet anyone except the look-out person during fire season. Some sources show the distance as 4 miles one way to the summit, but my GPS unit indicated 4.7 miles. You will pass four wire livestock gates in fences on this hike. Be sure to close them after you.
Truth or Consequences, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 9.4
A long day hike (with shuttle) with great views along part of the crest of the Black Range. This hike follows a beautifully scenic stretch of the crest of the Black Range along the edge of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, from the McKnight Road (FR 152) to NM 152. In October the aspens can be quite beautiful along this route. Both NM 152 and FR 152 use the same route number, but they are different roads; don’t confuse them. This hike can be combined with the Hillsboro Peak hike for a longer trek.
Mimbres, NM - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 10.2-21
A day hike in the remote Peloncillo Mountains of far southwestern New Mexico. The hike follows up a fork of Clanton Draw to a relatively permanent pool called Blackwater Hole and up to the site of an old corral. Clanton Draw was named for the hideout of the Clanton Gang, notorious for their shootout with Wyatt Earp and others at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. The Clantons used a hideout, only a mile or so from the trailhead, to raid Mexican smuggler parties in the 1880s. Nearby Skeleton Canyon was named for the many bones left after two particularly brutal raids in 1881. The first bit of the hike follows what was once an old Jeep trail up the canyon.
Animas, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 5
A day hike along abandoned grades of the historic Cloudcroft logging railroad. From the parking lot, cross the footbridge over the Rio Peñasco to the railroad grade on the south riverbank. The waterfall above you has formed impressive travertine deposits from calcium carbonate dissolved in the water. The main trail climbs the bluff to the top of the waterfall and the spring’s source about 0.3 mile away. Be sure to take time to climb up the trail. Obtain and purify water here if you need it. The area around the waterfall is very popular in summer.
Cloudcroft, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5
A loop day hike or overnight trip along mountain streams through the lush White Mountain Wilderness. The 44,000-acre Little Bear Fire of 2012 burned a large chunk of the White Mountain Wilderness, plus quite a few homes near Ruidoso. Fortunately this hike was only moderately affected by the fire with some patchy burned areas that are now healing with new growth. From the parking area, take Trail 36, the Big Bonito Trail (do not take Trail 39).
Capitan, NM - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 10
A spectacular overnight hike from the Texas desert into the New Mexico mountains. The trail starts in the mouth of McKittrick Canyon at the Park Service information station. From there, the trail climbs up the north wall of the canyon and crosses into the Lincoln National Forest of New Mexico. McKittrick Canyon is famous for its permanent stream and fall display of bigtooth maples. Be sure to fill up water bottles at the information station because there is no water on the canyon rim. From the information station, follow the signs for the Permian Reef Geology Trail, rather than those pointing up the canyon. Dogs are not allowed.
Whites City, NM - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 15.2
A two- or three-day loop backpack through lush old-growth forest into one of the least visited wildernesses in New Mexico. The first section of the route, Trail 65, contours west along the base of the mountains, crossing numerous drainages. Some of the hike is in heavy forest and some was burned in the 2004 fire, especially around Seven Cabins Canyon. The only part of the hike that was sometimes confusing before the fire is the first 5.0 miles along the North Base Trail because of a network of old logging roads. The fire added to the confusion. The Forest Service is still working on repairing the trail and replacing signs, but progress is slow due to limited recreation budgets.
Capitan, NM - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 19.5
About 60,000 years ago, Capulin Volcano was built up over 1,000 feet above the surrounding plain by fountains of ash and lava. Scores of other surrounding peaks and hills were built during the same and other periods of volcanism. Because Capulin’s three lava flows erupted from vents at the base of the mountain, the peak retained a very symmetrical cinder cone shape. In the center of the cone lies the original crater. The loop trail begins and ends at the parking lot. The climb is less steep if you start on the south side. The trail follows the circular rim of the crater. Vegetation has gained a good foothold on the steep, cinder-covered mountain. Dogs are not allowed.
Raton, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 1