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Re: [CDT-L] Trail info
- Subject: Re: [CDT-L] Trail info
- Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 00:32:10 EST
>In your journal, you mentioned finding a spring north of Mt. Taylor based
>Wolf's book but you did not specify which spring. I assumed that was Ojo
>los Indios which is perhaps a half mile west of 239A and down in a canyon.
>Is that correct or do you recall?
He may have been referring to the two springs in American Canyon. They
moved the road, making the springs a bit harder to find, but they were
there. We never found Cold Spring though.
I am attaching our trail notes for New Mexico -- We sent these to JW to help
with the next edition of his book - Betsy may find it of interest as well.
Assuming hotmail lets me send it.
* We followed the Land Grant fence instead of descending into Rio San
Antonio. There was one nasty gully, but the rest of the four miles was
* They have bulldozed closed the jeep track from about 27-36. Lots of tank
traps. It doesn't stop the ATVs--the country is open so they just go
around--but it is a nuisance for hikers.
* After 33.6, we got off track and ended up on the highway. We may have
missed a turn, or the bulldozer may have buried it.
Section 2 - Reality didn't quite match the description. There was no culvert
or swinging metal gate. There was an immediate split in the road. Left went
to a campsite and may have continued beyond. Right was a good used jeep
track, with other tracks splitting off. Never saw a t-junction, just a
couple of Ys. Didn't see a pond at 0.6, it may have been dry at that time of
year. There were 3 cabins. The trail crosses beyond (not at) the 3rd. The
road heading to the cabin deadends shortly past it.
* Mile 3.9: the trail disappears in a rock pile. There was snow on the
ground, which didn't help. We climbed steeply up over the ridge through
woods to Rio Vallecito and the confluence with Placer Creek.
* Mile 7.0: the north-south fence is gone (still visible to the left, but
not near the fenceline.) From 7.1-7.5 there are two ridges, not one. At
8.1 there are traces of an old road and a cowpath leading to the pond. From
there, I wasn't sure if we were supposed to head toward the creek on the
left or the one on the right. We followed an old logging road right to the
shed at 9.3.
* Mile 19.1: the junction has become obscure. The FS bulldozed the roads in
both directions and put up a half-fence across the road to 15 Springs. It
would be easy to miss the turn, except that the fence draws the eye. Once
past that, it was easy going.
* Mile 23.4-24.7: the trail was very obscure and ended as a straight
bushwhack down to FR 130.
* Section 3: We decided to try FR 724A instead of the bushwhack route. It
was an easy climb. There was a piped spring about a mile up. The private
land had a couple of cabin ruins, but nothing inhabited. The road is
obviously used by hunters and all gates were open. Nice views south and
* Harris Bear Spring: you should note that you can get there by staying on
the road. I was paranoid about not finding it, especially when the trail we
followed from the gully was so faint. Leaving the spring, we just stayed on
the road since the cows were blocking the other route. The description
makes it sound hard to find, half a mile off the road, but it's right on the
* At FR 337, the first road is signed as FR 636, with 636A 100 yards beyond.
Past the spring, 636A crosses 636 at an angle, but there is no 100 yard
jog to the left.
* FR 677C isn't signed any more. It is a nice walk with good views and good
dry campsites until it deadends in a logged area.
* We never found West Cisneros Spring on 636A.
* The descent toward Ghost Ranch needs to be reworked. We bushwhacked down
the hill and ended at the "wagon road" but didn't realize it would take us
straight to Ghost Ranch. Instead, we crossed the stream to the "pack trail"
(old road) and followed it downstream. It climbed back up to the plateau on
the other side. Two hours of bushwhacking ensued before we finally went
back to the beginning, the old red road, followed it in the other direction,
and found a straightforward, though rough, trail down. It would be much
easier to skip the ranch, following the roads around.
* There is no camping at the Chama River access place mentioned at mile 5.4,
though there is an outhouse. There is a dispersed camp area at about 5.8.
* We couldn't find the spring at 8.4. The one at 9.4 was barely visible.
It's a green stock trough to the right of the trail that barely shows
through the grass and sage.
* The water at 17.3 may not be evident. Higher up we found water, beyond an
* Fence at 24.4 is at 10 feet, not 100. There is a gate in the second fence.
You could avoid crawling under the fence by continuing down NM 96, I think.
The road is used by hunters and wood gatherers, so there must be an opening
on the highway.
* Mile 25.7: There is a split in the road. We went left and met up with
your jeep trail at 25.9.
* There is water in an irrigation ditch beside the road off and on from
* There was confusion re the road numbers, and the maps don't help at all.
At 2.8, 1161 heads right - a very faint track. At 3.3, 1162 heads left - a
good road. At 3.7, 1163 heads right. The road at 4.5 wasn't signed.
Cuba to Cabezon:
* Section 2: There is a road following the powerline at 3.3. It heads due
south, so there is no need to bushwhack down to Piedra Lumbre road. There
is a stock tank just south of the junction with Piedra Lumbre Road that had
water. We missed the turn at 1.4, just kept going to the power line and
followed it south to Zambarno Lake.
* We met Charlie McCarthy of the New Mexico Mountain Club. He has designed
an entirely new route between Cuba and the National Forest. They have
completed the 25 miles north of Ojo do los Indios. There is no tread, just
cairns. He said it was pretty rough, but a couple of this year's hikers
found it and followed the route. It has water (but not the faucets at
Cabezon) but could be slow going through the desert and up to the mesa.
* Up on the plateau, all the side roads have been closed off, so the
junctions at 21.6 and 22.2 have become pretty obscure. We never saw the
* According to Charlie, no one can find Barrel Spring, despite the sign
* American Canyon: They moved the road (FR 453) between miles 4.6 and 5.6,
affecting access to both springs. For the lower spring, go straight back
toward the canyon at the gate at 4.6 instead of climbing on the road. Or,
if you do climb, stop at the open/camp area and drop down the gully 200
yards. The new road stays on the west side of American Canyon. At 5.6
there is a T-junction with FR 451. There is no road sign except "American
Canyon Green Aspen" at a clearcut at the junction. To get to the upper
spring, turn left on 451 for about 0.2 to the old junction and follow the
jeep track down to the spring. If you don't need water, go left about 50
feet at the t-junction and follow rough jeep track straight up through the
clearcut. It will connect with 453 in about 100 yards.
* We never saw Cold Spring. Neither did Tom Bombasi.
* Tom's route down off the mesa was hard to find. It was flagged, but we
lost the flags after the second one, then picked it up again purely by
Grants to Pie Town
* Zuni Canyon has an electric-pumped stock tank about 10 miles out of town.
Pretty, but a busy road.
* The turn down Bonito Canyon is at about 10.5.
* There is a stock pond about a mile later. The windmill 3 miles down Bonito
Canyon Road had no water (but may have been fixed since???) There was a tiny
pond just past it. Five miles down Bonito Canyon there was another good well
just off the road to the right. There was camping in the pines nearby.
Three miles later, about 200 yards to the left, there was a working
* It was 2.5 miles from there to NM 53 and the Zuni-Acoma Trailhead. There
was an outhouse, but no water. The Zuni Acoma trail was a long rough 7.5
miles. It comes out near mile post 42 on NM 117. About 1/2 mile later, at
Los Pilares, near La Vieja, there is a hidden stock pond on the left side of
the road. It was behind the rocks, behind an electric well that wasn't
working. There were two hidden ponds, one dry, one with a lot of water.
Across the road, there was a nasty shallow pond and a couple of dry stock
* La Ventana is at MP 39 and has an outhouse, but no water. There was a
stock pond across the road, but it would be hard to get to because of a new
barbed wire fence. There is a campsite with port-a-potty at MP 35. We
didn't find the windmill that was supposed to be near mp34.
* Just past MP 31, turn down an unmarked road, through a gate. There were
working windmills near the turn and one mile down the road. Two miles
farther, the road splits. Turn right. There was another windmill across
the valley on the left fork. It was spinning, but we didn't check it out.
About 10 miles from the highway, turn right at the top of a steep long hill,
turn right onto an OLD jeep track toward Armijo Canyon. (There is a windmill
about 3/4 mile farther on Sand Canyon Road which we didn't check out. The
BLM ranger told us it was working.) There was a stock pond 1/3 mile down the
hill, and one before the turn toward Armijo. Both were very muddy. About 1.5
miles into Armijo Canyon, where the spring shows on the map, there is an old
adobe cabin, the remains of an older wooden one, and another muddy stock
pond. There is a spring up the hill about 1/3 mile and about 300 vertical
feet in a spring house. We lost the jeep track/cow path we were following,
so missed the windmill that is supposed to be at the mouth of the canyon. It
may be gone. It was an easy bushwhack out to the road. For northbounders,
it might be as easy to just bushwhack into the canyon. If not, turn
opposite the ranch.
* There are several windmills near the road, mostly dead. An electric well
about 0.1 south of the broken windmill at Freeland Arroyo was working. The
people who bought the old store (built about 1910) about 2 miles north of
there intend to fix their well and are happy to let hikers get water. They
store water on the back porch for emergency use. There was a well about 3
miles north of Pie Town, just north of the junction with 601.
Pie Town to NM 12
* Pie Town has only one cafe , closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, plus the PO.
There is no longer a store there or a gas station. South of town, the only
water is at the ranches. There were no ponds or tanks near the road, and
the springs off road and the windmills are on posted private land. There
was a windmill about 200 yards off the road (NW) at Cottonwood Draw about 15
miles south-west of town. The well and windmill near the National Forest
boundary were broken, as was the windmill at the Jones Ranch. There were 3
or 4 stock ponds on the way up Mangas Mountain. The horse troughs at Tio
Vinces, fed by the spring, were all we found at the campground. Very green!
* The map shows the trail leaving FR 11 just 1/2 mile past FS 13 on FS 218.
There is a road in between that is not shown on the map. It leads to a tiny
spring, then dead-ends. There were a few water impoundments, with water, in
the 12 miles to NM 12.
* It was about 42 miles from Pie Town to NM12. It was 85 miles from Grants
to Pie Town.
NM 12 to the Gila
* Reserve was a long hitch, but the town was a decent trail town, with good
grocery, two motels, and several restaurants.
* In both directions at NM 12 there are road forks just off the highway. In
both cases, take the left fork.
* One mile south of NM 12 there is a working windmill and tank.
* Damian Spring was dry down near the trail, but there was water 200-300
yards up the draw. The foot trail leaves the road about 0.2 before the
spring, just before the ruins of a cabin. It is well blazed, but there was
no treadway at the turn. We built a cairn, but it is still a bit obscure.
The foot trail climbs 1300' over Wagontongue. It briefly joins a jeep track
about 1 mile down the back side, then takes off along the Divide for another
mile before joining a jeep road that leads to FR 289. The blazing is good,
so if you lose the blazes, you missed a turn. The road twists and turns
much more than the trail shown on the map. It doesn't follow the Divide,
but goes in and out of each drainage.
* Just past John Kerr, the trail leaves the road and heads south on a roller
coaster pack trail for 6-7 miles to FR 94.
* Dutchman Spring is down FR 94 about 3/4 mile. It is the first water since
Damian Spring, 15-16 miles north. It's very small and may dry up. Another
0.3 down FR 94 was a cattle pond, which looked like a good water source if
the spring is dry. Both are easy to find. The spring is at a hairpin turn,
about 20 feet up on the left. The pond is about 100 yds left of the road.
If you stay on the route over Eagle Peak the next water is about 7-8 miles,
I think. There was some burn damage up there from a big fire last year (a
controlled burn that got out of control.) We needed water, so took the road
* Davis Spring is a metal tank just to the right of FR 94 about 3.5 miles
south of Dutchman.
* The windmill at the junction of FS 28 and FS 94 was dry. It is about 10
miles from the saddle where we picked up 94 to the first junction with 28.
It was 2 miles to the second junction.
* There was a little water in a creek beside the road a couple of miles
before the junction where a side road turns in to private property.
* Turkey Spring, about 10 miles south of Davis Spring, is a good spring 3/4
mile off FS 28.
* Negrito Fire Base, if occupied, is a good source of water. The fire crews
were friendly. It also has two pay telephones. It is about 13 miles south of
Turkey Spring. We saw no other water in between.
* We couldn't find Dog Flat Spring. There is a big stock pond just south of
FS 512 - Burnt Cabin Cienega.
* There is water in a creek about 1 mile before the campgrounds at Willow
* It was 27 miles from the second turn on FS 28 to Willow Creek campground.
The water there was from the creek. It was five miles from there to the
trailhead for Trail 138, which goes up 3.5 miles to Bead Spring and trail
182. About two miles was through private lands. There was water all the way,
but it would be better to get it above the cabins.
* On trail 182 it is 12 miles from Sandy Point to Mogollan Baldy (10.5 if
you come up on trail 138.) There was water at Bead Spring at 1.6, 4.7, 8.6,
9.8 and 11.2. There is fire damage from about a mile before Mogollan Baldy
to the Gila River, off and on.
* On trail 152, it is 9 miles from Mog. Baldy to the junction with Trail
#151 on the West Fork of the Gila. The only water is at Snow Park, 1 mile
past the firetower, and White Creek, 3/4 mile before the junction with 151.
Nice camping at both. It is two miles from the junction to the river. On
Trail 151 it is about 16 miles from White Creek to the Cliff Dwellings.
* It is about 5 miles to the village of Gila Hot Springs, where there is a
store with gas, a phone, limited supplies, shower and laundry, plus
campgrounds with hot springs and an inexpensive B&B. The Visitors Center
will accept mail drops, but call first to confirm. They have no trash pick
up anywhere in the Park.
* By our route, it was about 116 miles from NM 12 to the village of Gila Hot
* Because the water was icy, we decided not to follow the Gila River south.
Instead we decided to go up on the mesa. I can't really recommend the route,
as it was pretty obscure and the maps are wrong. However, we picked up the
trail near the Grapevine primitive camping area, 1 1/2 miles south of the
village (where the trailhead for the Gila River Trail starts.) Instead of
following the river north for several miles, there is an unmarked pack trail
to the right of the jeep road right after the second river crossing (about
1/2 mile.) Evidently the landowners have closed access through their
ranches. The trail climbs to the top of the ridge, then down the back side.
It is maintained, albeit a bit rough, but not marked. We crossed the E.
Fork of the Gila 3 or 4 times, then headed up a pack trail just past the
place where the river is trying to make an oxbow, before the house. The
trail goes through a gate and begins to climb, parallel to Corral Canyon. It
is about a 900' climb, with switchbacks. There are good views from the top.
The trail disappears in the grass, but can be picked up again after about
100 yds. We headed NE toward Tom Moore Canyon. At a gate about 1 1/2
miles from the top of the mesa we bushwhacked east toward Trail #716. (We
never did see any sign of Trail #709.) The map is wrong again here. There
was a pack trail heading south just past the junction that may have actually
been #716, about 1 mile west of its map location. There are a lot of
north-south canyons and ridges that don't show on the BLM map with its 50m
contours. We eventually stumbled on 716 and headed west. Once we found it,
we had easy walking across the mesa. We passed two stock ponds with water.
It was about 13 1/2 miles from road to road via trails 708 and 716.
* Trail #72 up Black Canyon was very nice. Easy walking and lots of water.
Lots of easy rockhop crossings.
* Trail #73 was a disaster: steep, eroded with lots of deadfall and burned
forest. It would be better to stay on 72 instead of trying to shortcut to
* Trail #79 was burned out for about 8 miles, off and on (mostly on.) Great
views but hundreds of downed trees. There is a tall firetower at Reeds Peak.
The side trail to Squeaky Spring was buried under deadfall. There was
water (ice actually) at Willow Spring, Mimbres Lake (ycch!) and McKnight
Cabin (turn right on NM 252 about 1/2 mile. The water is in a concrete
trough in the corral.)
* Trail 129 down Gallinas Canyon is steep and eroded but mostly in good
shape. Water was intermittent all the way down. It was 5 1/2 miles from the
ridge to the road.
* Trail # 721 is 1/2 mile to the right of Gallinas Canyon, not left as shown
on the maps. It is rough and steep in places (1200' climb in less than 2
* We followed dirt and paved roads from the Mimbres Mountains to Deming.
From the NF boundary to Taylor Mountain is all posted private property. We
followed the highway for about 10 miles to a junction just past Dwyer when
we headed back into the desert. There is water in the Mimbres River, some
stock ponds, and a couple of windmills. Most of the windmills shown on the
map are on private land. The postmistress in Faywood/Dwyer lets hikers get
water from her hose, just north of the PO. There are no other amenities
there. We went down the dirt roads on the west side of Taylor Mountain.
There is a good well at the junction of A011 and A009 (where the two roads
around Taylor meet.) The dirt track headed southeast that shows on the map
wasn't visible on the ground. It would be a good route though. It would be
easy to bushwhack southeast through the open desert, but it is
faster/shorter to just follow the highway the last 12 miles to town. We saw
some windmills off the road, but didn't check them out.
* The approximate distance from Gila Hot Springs to Deming was 106 miles. I
don't really recommend the route, but it wasn't bad, except for the burned
zone in the Black Range. It was fast and easy with no real water or
navigation problems. The highways have wide shoulders. We got in a hurry
because of the cold and the holiday (I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving in
town.) Next time we'll try the Cooke Range. Following the Gila south is
probably a better route, but in November the water is very cold and fairly
* Deming to the Border:
* It is 12 miles to Rockhound State Park if you head east then south, 14
miles if you head south then east.
* Water may be available at the rock shop at the corner of 143 and 141 -
nice owner.There was a stock tank just beyond. There is water and showers at
the state park ($10) and a nice view. There was a well/tank about 100 yds
left of the road just past the park. Shortly after, paved NM 198 turns right
to head toward a new park in Spring Canyon. Don't follow it. Instead go
straight on the dirt road B0023. The next confusion is at a ranch at
Headquarters Draw. The good road turns back toward the ranch. Go straight.
It curves back toward the mountains a little bit later. There was a windmill
and stock tank by the radio tower. At White Dome there is good water (3
tanks) at the corrals b y the broken windmill. Must be artesian well now.
* The next two wells were disabled. Just before the highway there was a
stock pond fed by a windmill. Get water there or at one of the houses. The
water at the corral by the road was disconnected. The water at the onion
field across the road wasn't water (fertilizer, we think.) From there it is
12 miles to Columbus by highway. The only wells in the Tres Hermanas are at
ranches. The well shown on the map near the airfield about 4 miles north of
Columbus is at a house.
* Columbus has one motel, 2 B&Bs, 2 restaurants, 1 small grocery, the PO and
a library with Internet. There is nice camping at the State Park.
* Palomas has lots of bars and restaurants.
We stopped to talk to Pat Harris at the Egg Nest - he's a very nice man. He
showed us the official route of the CDT on a map. It seems to have water at
regular intervals, but the trail actually starts in a really remote location
about 20 miles east of Antelope Wells and bypasses both Hachita and Separ.
Pat will drive hikers (for a fee) to Antelope Wells, but wasn't enthusiastic
about the rough roads to the "official" trailhead (which is 2 miles off the
jeep road.) Following the roads north would be boring, but we saw several
working windmills. The Egg Nest has free camping, food and a shower. He
stocks a few Liptons and such for hikers and bikers. It is listed for sale,
but he doesn't seem to be in a hurry to move.
IMO, Columbus is dryer, but still is a better starting/ending point. It has
much better access and not as many miles of walking across endless sage
We stopped to check out Silver City too. It's very spread out, but has all
the amenities on or near the main drag.
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