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.
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.
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.