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Best Backpacking in New Mexico?

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Best Backpacking in New Mexico?

Postby Bubba Suess » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:44 am

I spent four years going to school in Dallas and I took every opportunity I could to go to New Mexico (or further, if possible). I made many trips into the backcountry. My personal favorite was the West Fork of the Gila River, in the Gila Wilderness. What are some of y'alls favorite trips/destinations in New Mexico?
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:36 am

The northern mountains are wonderful.

Bisti badlands is an interesting day trip.

The area around Farmington the NW corner has some famous mountain biking trails.

The Jemez has a million hot springs, good for some easy winter cross-country ski trips on roads.

My favorite is the hiking in the lava fields of El Malpais, pretty rough on boots and ankles.

Lots on world-class caving in southern New Mexico, if you want to combine your hiking, climbing, and exploration skills. The Carlsbad backcountry (Slaughter Canyon) and Guadalupe Mountains have some of the best limestone caves in the USA. Just north in UFO country is a vast gypsum plain with totally cool stream caves.

Day hikes through any of the archeological sites are always interesting (Chaco, etc.)

Sandia Peak has some great views and is easily accessed from Albuquerque.

Cabezon Peak is a "must" climb for anyone in New Mexico.

Great backcountry skiing can be found right from the parking lot at the Santa Fe ski area.

If I can think of any more, I'll add them.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:30 am

For backpacking, the Pecos Wilderness offered decent campsites, water, and easy access to mountains above timberline. At least, that was the case 20 years ago...
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Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:34 pm

I second the Gila NF area. That are has some rugged, spectacular scenery, low relative visitation, and really low outside of hunting season, there is water, good monsoon shows, its lower so you won't need lots of cold weather clothes in summer, and then there are the Mexican Gray Wolves. Also, because it was inaccessible and it was made a wilderness early on, the ponderosa pine forests on the higher elevation sections are considered virgin, and while grazing did occur there hasn't really been any for decades. Plus, they have had a liberal fire policy that included a lot of wild land use fires so the herbaceous conditions are pretty close to what may have existed when whites came into the area. I guess what I am saying is, it is probably the nicest non-alpine and high mountain area in the state.
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Postby Alex Wood » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:25 pm

Even though it can be a little crowded, I think the Taos area (around Wheeler Peak) is quite an amazing place. The Valle Vidal is also pretty amazing. I haven't been to the Pecos yet, but it does look amazing
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Postby Jabberwocky » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:58 pm

I've fond memories of hiking along the beautiful Trailriders Wall from Jack's Creek Campground in the Pecos Wilderness Area. Highly recommended!

From the fantastic truchas photos gallery:

Image

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... t_id=26333
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Postby maddie77777 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:47 pm

I'm going to the Guadalupe mountains in April, with a planned stop at Carlsbad, overnight in Roswell, then the next day hike Nogal Peak (thanks to advice from Truchas), then on to White Sands. Is there anything in that small loop I should try and hit also, or does that cover it pretty well? I may have some time to kill around Las Cruces possibly, before I have to hit my hotel in El Paso for the night. I won't have a lot of time to invest elsewhere unless I forego anything mentioned previously. Thanks!
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Postby Jabberwocky » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:13 pm

Hey maddie77777, I feel certain truchas advised you not to miss McKittrick Canyon and Smith Springs Loop Trail after exploring underground in Carlsbad Caverns.

But, if he didn't...

http://www.texasexplorer.com/guad2000.htm

Both are easy but worth the time.

I hope you have a wonderful adventure! Please tell us all about it, when you get back.
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Postby maddie77777 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:19 pm

My first goal is to hike Guadalupe peak. I was going to try and camp at the high camp on that peak, but I may just go up and down the same day, then hit Smith Springs the next morning. Thanks for the advice!
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:28 am

Wow, that's beautiful

Jabberwocky wrote:I've fond memories of hiking along the beautiful Trailriders Wall from Jack's Creek Campground in the Pecos Wilderness Area. Highly recommended!

From the fantastic truchas photos gallery:

Image

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... t_id=26333
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Re: Best Backpacking in New Mexico?

Postby walsh.221 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:01 am

Hi All,

I am from the East and have only done backpacking in the East, however my wife and I just moved to Texas. We would like to spend spring break (mid-march) backpacking in New Mexico. We don't really have winter gear so our options are limited I assume. Are there good backpacking regions in South New Mexico? Or what are some good week long backpacking trips that you recommend, if any, where we don't have to be concerned about snow?

Thank you all for your help!
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Re: Best Backpacking in New Mexico?

Postby jfrishmanIII » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:31 am

Walsh, a week-long trip is a bit of a tough nut to crack that time of year. Your best bet is probably the river canyons of the Gila. It's a low-snow year (again, sigh...), but even so, I'd stay out of the higher trails down there in March. But the streamflows may be low enough to work with this year. But you'll need to be keeping an eye on conditions, calling the Forest Service, and have a backup option. A Big snowstorm or a sudden surge of snowmelt could shut you down.

The only other option that comes to mind for a week-long trip that time of year would be hiking some desert portions of the Continental Divide Trail, but those would involve water stress and PITA shuttles. You might be able to get away with a trip into either Aldo Leopold or Apache Kid Wildernesses, but you'd probably encounter at least some snow high up. Backup options that might work for shorter trips would be Carlsbad Caverns or Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.

If it were me, I might plan on the Gila Canyons, but be willing to change plans to a series of overnights and/or dayhikes at modest elevations at the last minute.
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Re: Best Backpacking in New Mexico?

Postby GreaseMonkey77 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:10 pm

I'm completely new to New Mexico and I'm trying to plan a hike during the first week of June this year. I want to do the 19 mile backpacking loop on the north side of Wheeler Peak. I would greatly appreciate any knowledge you guys could lend regarding what kind of weather to expect, how crowded the area is during that time of year, and any area-specific hiking/backpacking tips. I've done some backpacking in SE Oklahoma, but it's all been at low elevation. I am prepared for freezings temps and rain. Is there anything else I should be worried about?

Thanks in advance.
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