First off, if you think that your Subaru is like a mini-Jeep (present company included), you should reconsider the road in. My experience today was that the BLM access road is actually in worse shape with far more rutting and washouts than the Thompson Canyon road. I wound up parking my car on the side of the road about a mile from the Thompson Canyon turn off (which is unmarked), but wished I would have just driven the Subaru Forester all the way to the TH. Thompson Canyon no longer has a CDT marker at the turn, but if you make it there, you may as well keep driving.
The trail up to the ridge is in shockingly good shape and well-defined. No cairning and only a very faint trail in places along the ridge, but it's not needed. I'd recommend wearing either pants or tall gaiters for this slighly brushy ridge. I had running shorts and tall gaiters and still got cut up pretty well.
Beautiful views, but bummer about the Border Patrol tower on the summit within this WSA...
Roads are washed out in Thompson Cyn. so we camped at the water tank, which is about 1.5 miles from the end of the road and the start of the trail head.
As you enter the canyon you'll see some high cliff with caves at the bottom. We arrived on Sunday about noon and did the climb up there; one hour up to the caves.
Next morning, left the water tank camp at 07:30 arrived on the summit at 11:30, great weather. As of 4/20/2009 there is NO summit register. So, maybe someone could take a new one up. The first mile of the trail is hard to follow. After about two hours it ends and you start up brush and rocks. From where the trail ends it takes about 1.5 hours to make the summit. We were back at our camp by 2:30pm. Not bad for two 67 year old guys. When you think about giving up, just remember us.
The roads in are very rough. I did it in a 4x4 Toyota truck but never use the four wheel drive.
Paul McGuffin/ Ray Kunselman, Green Valley,AZ and Laramie, WY
This is a magnificent peak and it felt great to get it under my belt. Big Hatchet has some of the loosest rock and dirt that I've seen on a mountain. The trail was decent, terminating about a mile from the summit. Small cairns thoughtfully placed to mark the trail were a nice touch. Took the Thompson Canyon route, 3.7 miles one-way with 3,050 feet net elevation gain.
Spectacular winter afternoon in the bootheel, and one of the prettiest peaks in the state!
Clear blue skies and a better than expected trail made this a great day in the mountains!
Quiet and fantastic weather. The summit log has several entries from north and southbound CDT hikers. Note that the author's directions to the trailhead are incorrect (see post in "Getting There" section).
January 1994: Climbed up the East Ridge.
April 2004: Climbed up Thompson Canyon.