North Ponil Creek

Questa, New Mexico 87556

North Ponil Creek

North Ponil Creek Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Walking the long, flower-laced meadow beside North Ponil Creek is a delightful trip a hundred years back in time. Despite the 2002 Ponil Fire, the small valley is much as it was before lumbermen pushed a railroad through its serene grasslands, but the traces of human use are still much in evidence. The Cimarron and Northwestern Railway traveled 22 miles into the mountains from the town of Cimarron to Ponil Park, the broadest part of the meadow, which soon became a bustling railroad and lumber town.

The railroad connected Ponil Park, the center of operations in the woods, to a series of lumber camps in the canyon below. Perhaps as many as two hundred people lived there in 1910, working the rails, in the sawmills, or as lumbermen. The surrounding forest never provided as much timber for mine supports and railroad ties as the company had anticipated, so the line was torn up in 1921."

North Ponil Creek Trip Reports

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This is a long trail that is straight and UPHILL. There are no switchbacks, which makes this trail a bit tiring--no breaks from the uphill for the whole 5 miles. Coming down is just as challenging. The trail does follow a stream, which offers nice views as well as abundant water for cooking/drinking. Other than the uphill challenge, the trial is nice--not very busy, even on the 4th of July. Heart lake is beautiful. I'd recommend camping a bit up the Baldy Mtn. trail (just East of Heart Lake) to avoid mosquitos and other campers. If you go up to Latir Peak or the surrounding mountains, take your map and compass. Trails fade at points. This hike is ideal if you want to see the wilderness but avoid crowds.
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hhhhhhhiiiiiiii I went backpacking in the north west area of New Mexico!We thought it was the best trip ever it was my first time!

North Ponil Creek Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
late May to late October
USGS Van Bremmer Park and Abreu Canyon
Local Maps