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[cdt-l] CDT Planning - New Mexico (long)

We both kept trail notes for the routes we hiked.  For those who might be 
interested, these are the combined notes for our route through New Mexico. 
This is long – and won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t have the CDTS (Jim 
Wolf) Northern New Mexico book as well as the NM maps.

There are many other routes that have been followed – some of them involving 
long roadwalks through or around the Tierra Amarilla north of Ghost Ranch.  
But we were here, in part, to check out Jim Wolf’s route through northern 
New Mexico and in part because it avoided paved roads and went through the 
mountains in the Carson NF.  We thought his route was a good one.

Our route through southern New Mexico was based partly on Wolf’s recommended 
route, partly on routes suggested by other hikers and BLM personnel (yes, 
some of them DO know what they’re talking about), and partly on 
circumstances that forced changes along the way.  As you will read, parts of 
the route were very good (through the Gila, through the Cebolla Wilderness) 
and parts were not ideal.  We are not recommending you follow our route, 
just trying to give an idea of what you will find if you do follow all or 
part of the route.  We would love to hear from others who followed other 
routes, to get an idea of what they found along the way.  We have some ideas 
of what we’d like to do next time, but we’re flexible.

Large parts of the CDT in New Mexico follow dirt roads.  We rarely saw any 
traffic on the roads we followed, so it wasn’t a problem for us, especially 
after so many months on the trail.  We tried to follow trails as much as 
possible, or dirt roads rather than highways, but a lot of roadwalking was 
unavoidable.  For northbounders, the roads are easy walking, but may be a 
less interesting way of starting a hike than starting in “real” mountains.  
Remember, this too shall pass.  The real desert is mostly south of the Gila, 
except a small area around the Chama River. And it is very different from 
the Mojave or Sonora type deserts.   Much of the trail was pinyon/juniper 
grasslands, except where you go up in elevation – like in the Gila, San 
Pedro Parks or the Carson NF when we were 9-10,000’ high.

As some of  you know, there are several contentious sections along what’s 
projected to be the “official” route – specifically the Chain of Craters 
route with its 40+ mile waterless stretch through the Malpais (we didn’t go 
that way), and a long walk through a burned over section of the Black Range 
with hundreds of blowdowns to climb over and around (we did part of this 
section and won’t do it again).  You’ll  have to decide which way you want 
to go – but I’d advise getting input from someone who’s been there before 
committing yourself to a particular route.  I’ll repeat what’s been said 
before – just because it’s “Official” trail doesn’t mean it’s the best, the 
most scenic, the most hiker friendly, the easiest --- or even worth doing.  
The “Official” trail, for example, makes a long eastern jog and goes down 
the Black Range then back west to Silver City, not because it’s the ‘best 
trail’ but because the ‘bureaucracy’ decided to “minimize traffic” through 
the Gila  and avoid the Cliff Dwellings.  We think following the Gila 
(either branch) is a much more scenic and interesting route.  More than 
that, we were totally unable to find any sign of the official trail in three 
places where it supposedly crossed our route.  Nuff said.

Again – these notes won’t make sense without the maps and, in Northern NM, 
Jim Wolf’s (CDTS) guidebook.  And remember, we were going North to South 
starting at Cumbres Pass – not at Chama.

At this time (Feb 2001),  there is only one guidebook (the CDTS Northern New 
Mexico book).  The “Official” guidebook has yet to be published.  Not only 
that, but due to local political situations, a large part of the NM route is 
likely to remain ‘undesignated’ for the foreseeable future.

Another point to keep in mind -  these notes are the water situtation as we 
found it in November 1999.  Wells break and ponds go dry.  There may be new 
wells or more dismantled ones.  As private lands are traded to the 
government (i.e. around the Malpais), the land managers may choose not to 
maintain the water sources as the grazers did.  YMMV

Definitions (in this context) -
“Stock tank” means a metal tank fed by a spring or electric pump.  Windmill 
fed tanks are specified as “windmills”

“Stock pond” means a bulldozed depression that may or may not have water.  
If it has water, it’s usually a mud-hole and the water is hard to get at.  
Don’t fall in – the mud can be knee-deep.


New Mexico
Carson National Forest, Section 1: Cumbres Pass to US 64
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: US 64 to NM 110
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 
which we followed, 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 went right and followed an old logging 
road 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:  NM 110 to Yeso Tank
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 west.
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.

Section 4: Yeso Tank to Ghost Ranch
  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, but the area is so 
beautiful, it was worth the trip.
	The Ghost Ranch Living Museum was closed – we got water there, but that’s 
all that was available.
Santa Fe National Forest, Section 1: US 84 to NM 96
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 the 
jeep trail at 25.9.

Section 2: NM 96-Cuba:
  There is water in an irrigation ditch beside the road off and on from 
about 1.0-1.9.
  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.

Piedra Lumbre Segment, Section 1: Cuba to Ojo Jarido
	The windmill at 5.7 was operational.
	 Ojo Jarido is located about 12.5 miles from Cuba in Arroyo Jarido.  The 
spring is in a cave inside a fenced enclosure on the north side of the 
arroyo.  The enclosure is fenced to keep stock and wildlife out, but there’s 
a stock tank outside the enclosure that was a better water source than the 
spring.  It’s very green.

Section 2: Ojo Jarido to Cabezon
We missed the turn at 1.4, just kept going to the power line at 3.3 and 
followed the powerline maintenance road south to Piedra Lumbre Road.  It 
heads due south, so there is no need to bushwhack down to Piedra Lumbre 
Road.  There is a stock pond just south of the junction with Piedra Lumbre 
Road that had water.
	Zambarno Lake was dry.
	Past the pump station at 20.7, there’s a stock pond on the left.  There’s 
an electrically pumped well just before the stock pond but it wasn’t 
operational when we were there. 1 mile before the turn onto  NM 279  there 
are stock tanks on the right.
At the Cabezon turnoff there are 2 spigots located in a vertical drain pipe 
at the top of the hill.  Don’t miss them – some people have and it’s a long 
way to the next water.
We met Charlie McCarthy of the New Mexico Mountain Club at the Cabezon 
spigots.  He has designed an entirely new route between Cuba and the 
National Forest.  They had completed the 25 miles north of Ojo do los Indios 
when we met him, and were working on the next 25 miles to Cuba.  He said 
there is no treadway, 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 bushwhacking through the 
desert and up to the mesa.

Mount Taylor Segment, Section 1: Cabezon to Ojo de los Indios
At 8.6 - Don’t get water out of Arroyo Chico – it’s salt. Notice the salt 
deposits through this section.
	The turnoff (and sign) to Barrel Spring is at 13.5 – the spring is shown on 
the map, but according to Charlie, no one can find Barrel Spring, despite 
the sign.
Ojo Frio is reported to be good, but we didn’t check it.
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 
second junction.
It’s 24 miles from Cabezon to Ojo de los Indios.  At the fence line where 
BLM 1102 meets FS 239 (the boundary between BLM and FS lands) follow the 
fence line west.  Cross the first ridge to the edge of 200’ deep Arroyo de 
los Indios.  There’s an old road that leads down into the arroyo.  The 
spring is in the bottom of the arroyo and can be seen from the road.

Section 2: Ojo de los Indios to American Canyon
	Is entirely roadwalk unless you choose to bushwhack.  Not necessarily a 
good idea.

Section 3: American Canyon to Grants
American Canyon:  They moved the road (FR 453) between miles 4.6 and 5.6, 
affecting access to both springs.  For Lower American spring, go straight 
back toward the canyon at the gate at 4.6 instead of climbing on the road.  
The old road is obvious – they’ve closed it with tank traps. Or, if you do 
climb, stop at the open/camp area at the saddle and drop down the gully 200 
yards to the old road.  The spring is visible from the old road.
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 American Spring, turn left 
on 451 for about 0.2 mi to the old junction.  The spring is downhill to the 
left, below the rock outcropping.
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.
Cold Spring is on the way up Mount Taylor – but the location is a complete 
mystery.  Certainly doesn’t correspond to the map location and the locals 
don’t know where it is either.
Gooseberry Spring had water.  Then 1½ miles past the Gooseberry Spring 
trailhead there’s a water tank on the left.  Tom Bombaci’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 accident by continuing down 
the road to where it crossed again.  At the bottom of the ridge there was 
water at Little Turkey Spring.
The guidebook only gives details as far as Grants.

Grants to Pie Town:  This is “our” route – sorta.  It was recommended by Tom 
Bombaci, Jim Wolf and the BLM personnel in Grants --   We used the Delorme 
maps for this stretch.
>From First St in Grants, head 1 mile north on NM 124 (old US 66), then left 
on NM53
Cross I-40 on the bridge across from McDonalds, then right on Zuni Canyon 
Road (NM 49)just past the campground.  Zuni Canyon Road becomes a gravel 
road after about 3 miles. Zuni Canyon has an electric-pumped stock tank on 
the right about 10 miles out of town. Pretty area, but a busy road.  The 
trail could follow the old rail line just left of the road, with very little 
Turn left on Bonita Canyon Road (NM 447) – El Malpais Spring is supposed to 
be behind the historical marker on Zuni Canyon Road ¼ mile beyond the 
intersection of Zuni Canyon and Bonita Canyon Roads.  The stock tank is a 
better source.
The turn down Bonito Canyon is at about 10.5.   Memory says there is a stock 
pond on the right ¼ mile down Bonita Canyon Road and then another about a 
mile later. The windmill 3 miles down Bonito Canyon Road was broken and had 
no water. There was a tiny pond just past it.  The windmill may have been 
fixed since then - there was a repair crew out on that road the next 
morning. 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 windmill.  It’s 2.5 
miles from there to NM 53 and the Zuni-Acoma Trailhead.
Hope you tanked up before this, cause the next water is on the other side of 
the Malpais.  At the Bonita Canyon Road/Rt 53 intersection is the western 
trailhead for the Zuni-Acoma Trail.  There’s an outhouse, but no water at 
the trailhead.  The literature says the Zuni Acoma trail is 7.5 miles across 
there.  If so (and I doubt it) it’s a LONG 7.5 miles.    Walking through the 
Malpais (lava beds) can be fun for a while, but it gets old real fast.
Once you get to paved NM 117 (near milepost 42) turn right.  After ¼ mile 
south there’s a non-operational well on the right.  Another ¼ mile there’s a 
non-operational windmill on the left directly in front of Los Pilares (big 
rock formation). Across the road, there’s a nasty shallow pond and a couple 
of dry stock tanks.
If you look across the road you’ll see La Vieja – another distinctive rock 
formation. If you go through the small gate and walk around the back of Los 
Pilares, theres a stock pond. There were two hidden ponds, one dry, one with 
a lot of water. It’s been unused for some time – but it’s still 
green/brown/grey.  But it’s water - and it’s 11 miles to the next water 
source.  Be grateful.
Follow NM 117 south past La Ventana.  La Ventana is at MP 39 and has an 
outhouse, but no water.  It is definitely worth a visit.  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 (dry) campsite at the Narrows with a port-a-potty at 
MP 35.  We didn’t find the windmill that was supposed to be near MP 34.
We followed the BLM ranger’s recommended route through the Cebolla 
Wilderness.  Just past MP 31, turn down an unmarked road, through a gate 
into Cebolla Canyon.  This is BLM land.  There were working windmills near 
the turn and one mile down the road. About 2.5 miles down Cibolla Canyon, 
take the right fork and head down Sand Canyon.  There’s a windmill on the 
left fork that appeared to be operational but we didn’t check it out.  About 
a mile further on the road up Sand Canyon there’s a stock pond on the left.
About 10 miles from the highway, turn right at the top of a steep long hill, 
at the top of the ridge. Make a right through a gate onto a very old jeep 
track and follow it into Armijo Canyon.  There’s a windmill on Sand Canyon 
Road ¾ mile beyond the turnoff into Armijo Canyon.  We didn’t go there, but 
the BLM advertises it as being operational and there were trucks down there, 
so it probably is.  The ranger said that following that route is longer and 
with more elevation change than heading out Armijo Canyon.
There was a stock pond 1/3 mile down the hill, and one before the turn 
toward Armijo.  About 3 miles down Armijo Canyon there’s a water tank and 
the remains of an adobe cabin, the remains of an older wooden one, and 
another muddy stock pond.  The stock pond has water – but Armijo Spring has 
better water.  The spring is in a springhouse at the top of the draw to the 
right.  It’s about ¼ mile and 300 ft elevation above the house, near the top 
of the mesa.  But the water is worth it.  Use a filter – the amphibian 
livestock is active and plentiful.  Good protein for your dinner  :-)
NM 41 is 5 miles down Armijo Canyon.  About a mile from the road 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.
Turn left on NM 41.  There are 2 non-operational windmills – the first at 3 
miles on the right, the second at 4 ½ miles on the left south of the King 
Bros HQ.  11 ½ miles down NM 41 there’s a cabin/ old store on the right with 
a windmill in back.  The windmill may be operational in 2000.  The people 
who bought the old store (built about 1910) intend to fix their well and 
were happy to let hikers get water.  (Anyone know if their well was 
successfully repaired?)
2 ½ miles beyond the cabin is Freeland Arroyo, with a broken windmill on the 
right.  Don’t bother – ¼ mile south (up the hill) is an electrically 
operated stock tank that is operational.  There was a good well about 3 
miles north of Pie Town, just north of the junction with 601.
It was about 85 miles from Grants to Pie Town, by this route.

Pie Town to NM 12:
Pie Town has only one café, 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.  It was an interesting walk though, with lots of 
volcanic plugs and an interesting ridge.  There were no ponds or tanks near 
the road, and the springs off road and the windmills are on posted private 
land.  We got water at a ranch at Greens Gap Road intersection.
There was a windmill about 200 yards off the road (NW) at Cottonwood Draw 
about 15 miles southwest of town.  There’s a steel gate on the left and a 
small steel gate on the right, between 2 volcanic  domes.  There’s an 
operational windmill about 100 yards down the draw to the right.
Another 2 miles south, theres a stock pond on the left.  1 mile south 
there’s a stock tank on the right at the intersection with the Mangas Road.  
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 impoundments on 
the way up Mangas Mountain.   ½ mile after the cutoff on FS 322 there’s a 
dry well on the left, but there’s a stock pond above.  The well shown on the 
BLM map isn’t there.
The next water is the Valle Tio Vinces spring on the south side of 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.

NM 12 to the Gila :
Reserve was a long slow 35 mile 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 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 east 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.  We  were told there was burn damage along the 
ridge from a big fire in 1998 (a controlled burn that got out of control.)  
We needed water, so took the road instead.
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 Creek begin.
It was 27 miles from the second turn on FS 28  to Willow Creek campground.  
The water there was from the creek (which comes past a lot of cabins and may 
be contaminated.)  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 Mogollon Baldy (10.5 if you 
come up on trail 138.)  There was water at Bead Spring at 1.6, and at 4.7, 
8.6, 9.8 and 11.2.  There is fire damage from about a mile before Mogollon 
Baldy to the Gila River, off and on.  Still, the trail was a good one, well 
built and with beautiful views.
  	On trail 152, it is 9 miles from Mogollon 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.  
We crossed the river over 60 times in that 16 miles.  Beautiful country 
	 It is about 5 miles from the Cliff Dwellings 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 

Following the Gila River south is probably a better route, but in November 
the water is very cold and fairly deep, so we decided to go up on the mesa 
instead of following (criss-crossing) the river. I can’t really recommend 
our route, as it was pretty obscure and the maps are frequently 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.)  We were warned that the landowners have 
closed the trail that used to go through their ranches.  The pack trail 
climbs to the top of the ridge, then down the back side. It is maintained, 
albeit a bit rough, but not marked and forks occasionally.  We just kept 
heading in the same direction, and were fine.  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.  The canyon was beautiful.
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 
Reeds Meadow.
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 (west) of Gallinas Canyon, not left 
as shown on the maps. It is rough and steep in places (1200’ climb in less 
than 2 miles.)

We followed dirt and paved roads from the Mimbres Mountains to Deming.  From 
the NF boundary to Taylor Mountain it is all posted private property.  The 
landowners we met were friendly though, and twice we were offered water as 
we walked down the road.   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, but 
we were warned that the Mimbres is polluted by mine runoff.  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 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 or possibly the official route 
through the Hachets if we ever get any info out of the BLM.

Deming to the Border:
The fastest way to the border is a 30 mile roadwalk straight down the 
highway to Columbus.  We chose an alternate – around the east side of the 
Florida Mts. and then a swing back across the highway and around the west 
side of Tres Hermanas – a 60 mile wander in the desert.  It is 12 miles to 
Rockhound State Park if you head east then south, 14 miles if you head south 
then east.  The roads are paved to the park.
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 by the broken windmill. Must be an artesian well now.  
The next two wells were disabled in ways that were obviously deliberate and 
not meant to be fixed.
Just before the highway there was a stock pond fed by a windmill.  It was 
really nasty when we were there.  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.  We had intended to circle around the Tres 
Hermanas, but decided to hoof it down the highway instead after we killed 
the filter trying to filter the fertilizer.  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 in Hachita – 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 10 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 road north from Antelope Wells 
would be boring, but we saw several working windmills. (Probably not as bad 
as following the highway from Palomas to Deming, which many hikers do.) The 
Egg Nest has free camping, food and a shower. He stocks a few Liptons and 
such for hikers and bikers.  It was listed for sale, but he didn’t seem to 
be in a hurry to move.  Still, call before you go, if you are heading that 

We weren’t able to get any info from the BLM about the official route 
through the Big and Little Hatchets.  A crew went out a couple of years ago 
and marked some of the roads.  We just don’t know which roads.  Anybody else 
get any info from them and/or who is willing to share route/water info for 
this route?  (JG – are you still on the list?)
IMO, Columbus seems to be a dryer route, but still is a better 
starting/ending point.  It has much better access and not as many miles of 
walking across endless sage flats.  Unless you get Pat to drive you, or have 
a friend who lives nearby, it would be a very very long hitch down to/from 
the border.

Silver City:
We stopped to check out Silver City too. It’s very spread out, but has all 
the amenities on or near the main drag.  There’s supposed to be a nice 
hostel in town.

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