Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 31.63600°N / 108.398°W
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 8356 ft / 2547 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Rising in splendid isolation in a remote corner of New Mexico, Big Hatchet Peak stands as a majestic desert sentinel of the rugged southwest. This tall and dominating mountain is perhaps the most remote big mountain in the 48 states. It's dark, imposing bulk, and distinctive pointed summit can be seen far to the south by passing travelers on Interstate 10. The sheer limestone cliffs of Big Hatchet Peak rise over 4,000' above the Playas Valley to the west.

Despite these attributes, few people visit Big Hatchet Peak. It's located only a few miles from Mexico, and many people probably think it is in Mexico. The summit of Big Hatchet Peak is surrounded by cliffs on several sides. Access to the area requires a long drive on rough and remote dirt roads. At the summit, climbers can see south into the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, west into the Animas, Peloncillo, and Chiricahua Mountains, east into the Sierra Rica in Mexico, and north into the Gila. The Big Hatchet Mountains are located on BLM land, and are part of the Greater Big Hatchet Mountains Complex. Remote location, low visitor use, and rugged topography ensure that any visitors to this area will be able to enjoy a true wilderness experience.

The new field of Reduced Spire Measure has made Big Hatchet Peak an important mountain. Using this criteria, Big Hatchet Peak ranks as the No. 1 mountain in the state. This makes Big Hatchet Peak perhaps New Mexico's most impressive mountain.

Getting There

From Hachita, drive south on NM Highway 81 until you reach a right curve about ten miles south of town. At the curve, there are two turnoffs to the left. The first one is marked by a green Hatchet Road street sign. About 150' further south, there is another turnoff marked by a Hatchet Mountains BLM sign. Take either turnoff, and start driving southeast about three miles or so until you see a BLM Public Land Access sign pointing to the right. Turn right, and drive about one mile southwest, then turn left at another BLM sign. Drive about two miles south, then turn left and start driving southeast. You will pass by a ranch a half mile to the north after about two miles. Continue southeast about three more miles until you reach the turnoff to Thompson Canyon. The road to this point is mostly good, and the route is marked by a few BLM and CDT signs. There is also a windmill nearby.

Turn right, and drive into Thompson Canyon about 3 miles until you reach the end of the road. Park here. The roads in are rough in places, and a high clearance vehicle is required. The elevation at the parking spot is about 5,760'. The attached comments provide some additional details.

Mountain Conditions

Contact the BLM District Office in Las Cruces for the latest information. Their number is 505-525-4300.

BLM Maps: Animas Quad.
Topo Maps: Big Hatchet Peak; Hatchet Ranch; U Bar Ridge; Sheridan Canyon.


Primitive camping is allowed in the area. There are no developed campgrounds here.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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wbass - Jan 20, 2005 11:34 am - Voted 5/10

Untitled Comment

Thanks for making the changes, although it would appear that your directions are still off. The FIRST public land access sign is not as far from the main road as your directions suggest.


wbass - Jan 16, 2005 8:24 pm - Voted 5/10

Untitled Comment

If you follow this author's directions, you might not ever find the trailhead and/or be chased down by a Border Patrol helicopter (thinking you’re trying to smuggle something or someone across the border). The correct directions are as follows:

Take NM 81 south from the town of Hachita until you reach the first sharp curve at approximately 10.5 miles, turning left onto a very good gravel road at the BLM Big Hatchet sign. Proceed on this road for approximately 2.7 miles east and then curving southeast, until you see the FIRST BLM "Public Land Access" sign. Turn right here and proceed on this sometimes rough but mostly good road, always following the additional BLM "Public Land Access" directional signs (basically in a southeasterly direction). Although you will pass near the ranch referred to in the author's directions, it is about ½ mile off to the northeast. At approximately 8.5 miles from the first turnoff, turn right (southwest) onto the very rough Thompson Canyon spur. There is no sign other than a CDT marker, but a windmill lies directly in front of you. Proceed on this road past the windmill approximately 3.7 miles to its terminus at the trailhead (or less, if the road is not to your liking).


JohnGolob - Feb 22, 2022 6:58 am - Hasn't voted

Update on Feb 2022

I was able to find the road to the trailhead following wbass directions. But, there is no longer a windmill or CDT marker at the junction. Also, when he says 8.5 miles from the the first turnoff he means from the first turnoff from the gravel road, not from NM 81. The road approaching the turnoff to the Thompson Canyon spur is mostly straight, but has a brief jag right at the turnoff. I drove my Acura RDX about 2 miles up the Thomson Canyon spur, could have driven further but decided I'd rather walk it. The road was slow going but not too bad, the main problem is brush and ocotillo growing along the side of the road, couldn't avoid scratching my vehicle. Fixed OK with scratch remover after getting home.


wbass - Jan 20, 2005 11:34 am - Voted 5/10

Untitled Comment

Thanks for making the changes, although it would appear that your directions are still off. The FIRST public land access sign is not as far from the main road as your directions suggest.


GuitarsWeB - Sep 10, 2008 3:34 pm - Hasn't voted


The direction are not too bad. But, as of September 2008, roads are washed out, I gave up, even with a 4X4 Toyota truck. We hiked up Thompson Cyn. The second windmill, where you turn right and head up the canyon, is blown over. So, don't go looking the the second windmill. Don't even think of driving a car off the first dirt road. You are very close to the Mexican boarder, so expect to be stopped by the US Border Patrol. Be sure and have all your auto registration and paper work. I have been in the area three time in the last year and have been stopped four times. Twice in one trip. Just be glad the Border Patrol is doing their job. Paul McGuffin, Green Valley, AZ


Rayo - Dec 12, 2013 12:01 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Windmill

Yep, you're right. We were stopped by border patrol when we left. No big deal, just have your ID and paperwork for vehicle on hand.


GuitarsWeB - Aug 1, 2009 8:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Zeller Pk.

August 1, 2009: Found out that Zeller Pk. just north of Big Hatchet Pk. was named after Dr. Robert A. Zeller, Jr. Zeller lived in Hachita, NM. did his doctrot thesis on the Big Hatchet Mountains. It was published in 1965 as "Stratigraphy of the Big Hatchet Mountains Area." I found a copy on Ebay. Very interesting, but of no real value to a hiker or climber. He totally ignored the Thompson Canyon area in his writings. Zeller died in a plane crash, in 1970. Google him, interesting person. Paul McGuffin, Green Valley, Arizona


Rayo - Dec 12, 2013 12:00 pm - Hasn't voted

Road Conditions - Dec. 2013

We just hiked Big Hatchet on 12/08/13 and the road was really rough getting to the trail head. In fact, we stopped four miles short of the trailhead and made our day a bit longer. If you have 4x4 and high clearance, and your 4x4 is rough 'n' ready, you can make it to the trailhead; however, after all the rain and washout, the road is really rough at times and a longer hike should be expected for those without proper off-roading vehicles. GREAT HIKE!


seano - Jan 2, 2015 1:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Reduced Spire Measure

The RSM link is stale -- the new one is apparently

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Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.