Red Canyon

Mountainair, New Mexico

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4 Reviews
4 out of 5
A day hike through thick forest to the wilderness crest of the Manzano Mountains.

Red Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"A day hike through thick forest to the wilderness crest of the Manzano Mountains."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Mountainair
Distance: 7.5
Elevation Gain: 1,960 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4–5 hours
Season: Late April through November
Trailhead Elevation: 8,000 feet
Top Elevation: 9,960 feet
Local Maps: Capilla Peak and Manzano Peak 7.5-minute USGS quads

Red Canyon Reviews

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icon4 Total
Nice trail to Gallo peak very well maintained
Did it as published in the guide. Pleasant weather and no other hikers. Leaves were past peak, but it was still very scenic. Spruce Spring was a trickle. Saw (and felt) a herd of Elk on the Crest trail. According to my GPS, the total hike was about a mile shorter than the guide says.
I have enjoyed this trail several times and each time there is something different to enjoy. If there is adequate rainfall, the waterfalls are very nice. The fern field can produce plants 3-4 ft. tall and the giant aspen trees near the top are enough to make the hike more than worthwhile. The trail is steep enough for a good work-out (I am in my 40's and in average shape) but not so strenuous that you don't enjoy it. Pack a lunch for the top and enjoy the cool canyon coming down. I have never encountered many people on this trail, even on weekends.
An outstanding high elevation hike, well maintained and well-marked at trail junctions. Since the trail description was written, the Forest Service has constructed a separate hiker parking area. A trail from this parking lot runs for 100 yards to a trailhead sign. Warnings for cougars and bears are posted. To the right is Spruce Spring Trail (Forest Service No. 189), and to left is Red Canyon Trail (No. 89). The loop is best done counterclockwise, as in the trail description, beginning with the Spruce Spring Trail (no. 189). The Spruce Spring Trail is a steady but gentle grade up to the Manzano Crest. It is shaded by large old-growth conifers. A sign marks the Manzano Mountain Wilderness boundary at 2.5 to 3 miles up the trail. The spur trail to the spring is well marked and spring water is diverted into a tank for horse watering. The one-mile ascent on the Crest Trail (No. 170) to Gallo Peak (10,003 feet) is steep, and you will feel the elevation, but it is worthwhile because side trails to the west offer outstanding views to the north and west. The descent on Red Canyon Trail (no. 89) is steep but footing is not bad. It contains numerous creek crossings, but the creek appears to be small (it was only a trickle on the day of my visit). When the Red Canyon trail arrives at the upper end of the campground loop, hikers should turn left to complete their loop to the separate hiker parking area. It took me 4 hours to complete the loop; I encountered two hunters and two other hikers.--submitted by H. Draper

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