The Catwalk And Beyond

Mogollon, New Mexico

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The Catwalk National Recreation Trail is one of the most unusual hikes in the Southwest. The route follows that of a pipeline constructed to supply water to a mining mill and town located at the mouth of Whitewater Canyon. The town of Graham was founded in 1893, just after the discovery of rich ore within the canyon. Although water always flowed within the canyon, Whitewater Creek was often dry at the townsite. The solution was to run a 4-mile-long pipe to carry water from within the canyon. As one might guess from its name, the canyon is a narrow gorge of tumbling water. The pipeline (and hence the trail) was often forced to cling to the rock walls. In the narrowest section, the pipe was suspended above the stream supported by spikes driven into the rocks. The precarious pipeline was difficult to maintain, and miners were often forced to walk the line to fix leaks. Their balancing act gave the pipeline the name “catwalk.”
100 Hikes in New Mexico

DESCRIPTION FROM:

100 Hikes in New Mexico

by Craig Martin (The Mountaineers Books)

The Catwalk National Recreation Trail is one of the most unusual hikes in the Southwest. The route follows that of a pipeline constructed to supply water to a mining mill and town located at the mouth of Whitewater Canyon. The town of Graham was founded in 1893, just after the discovery of rich ore within the canyon. Although water always flowed within the canyon, Whitewater Creek was often dry at the townsite.

The solution was to run a 4-mile-long pipe to carry water from within the canyon. As one might guess from its name, the canyon is a narrow gorge of tumbling water. The pipeline (and hence the trail) was often forced to cling to the rock walls. In the narrowest section, the pipe was suspended above the stream supported by spikes driven into the rocks. The precarious pipeline was difficult to maintain, and miners were often forced to walk the line to fix leaks. Their balancing act gave the pipeline the name “catwalk.”

©  Craig Martin/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Mogollon
Distance: 5.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Season: mid-March through November
Local Maps: USGS Holt Mountain and Mogollon;
Driving Directions: Directions to The Catwalk And Beyond

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Apr 2018