Hiked up the route that starts from FR 144 right before it turns north. Pretty straightforward walk-up for the most part. Route is easy to find up to a point where downed trees become a big pain. As long as you are walking uphill you should be fine, but coming down might be tricky to find the route, so bring a GPS if you have one. Was up and back in just over an hour. Didn't spend long on the summit because of ominous clouds.
With Cerro Pedernal, Mesa Gurule & Mesa Escoba.
Biked the road, then hiked through the trees to the summit, which has a couple of cairn/shrine things on it. Like others said, bring a GPS: we headed slightly off-course in the forest, which often has no views, and finally came out on the road about a mile east of where we left it.
Hiked with my wife Lauren and my Mother-in-law Susan. We didn't have any trouble finding our way. I can see how it can be difficult, but if you get to the ridge or saddle that runs North/ South between Chicoma and Polvadera, just head ESE and keep going up. As long as you CAN keep climbing, keep climbing. We were on cow and deer trails off and on and some Forrest roads, but it's easier to just go off trail and take a direct route. It's good route finding practice and nice to get off the beaten path too! Great view from the top with a lot of Native history. Beautiful spruce trees (picea englemannii, picea pungens) at the higher levels with Fir and Pine varieties on the way up.
Accompanied Scott on this one yesterday. Extremely pleasant ascent and descent. Sweet summit and perfect spring corn ski descent. Great view of Cerro Pedernal.
Enjoyed a fantastic ski descent of the SE face on a gorgeous spring day. FS144 was mostly snow-covered above ~10000', making for an "interesting" drive out.
Date a guess. We got to the trailhead about 1 PM, and meandered through flowery fields. This peak used to have an Amerind monument on top. On the way back, cows kept running up behind us. We were "confused" for a few moments at sunset, but found the correct cowpath back to the car.
We ate dinner at McDonald's in Espanola after the trip. At 9PM, the place cleared out incredibly quickly -- as everyone responded to the curfew. The streets were deserted afterward.
My wife took many pictures of beautiful flowers, using our SLR. Afterward we discovered that there was no film in the camera!
Took an unplanned detour on the way down... Yes, I would agree that getting lost is easy to do up here. Like others have said, bring a GPS. I had everything. I might add: bring them, and use them! You can read about my hike here: Chicoma Mountain, 8/11/07
Left Albuquerque at 2 am and got to the northern slope around 4:30 but had a hard time trying to find the right place to park in the dark because the GPS didn't save the coordinates I had input when at home. I had to wait until 9 am to have my dad look them up again in Albuquerque and tell me them over the phone. Fun trip, though.
What a view. On a clear day you can see the Blanca Massif in Southern Colorado as well as the southern parts of the San Juan's.
However, I have a word of caution for those who might have an interest in bagging this peak: If you have a difficult time being able to keep track of where you are at or are unfamiliar with this area take a GPS device at a minimum.
I took my aunt with me on the ascent and about two miles from the top she decided not to go any further. While she waited and after I had summited the mountain and was decending I lost my markers. Fortunately I used Povadera peak as a northern reference point and found my way to the road with relatively little trouble. Unfortunately, my aunt did not have the same luck as me. She spent a cold, wet and hungry night on the mountain.
Thanks to the quick and professional effort of Espanola, Taos and Los Alamos Search and Rescue volunteers she was found in very short order. God bless each and everyone of them for their efforts.
I found no real established trails to the summit. In fact during my aunt's rescue, the team I was on used a map, GPS and compass to follow the (supposed) trail to FR 144. I kind of like that because of the solitude of hiking there unlike the Sangre's on the other side of the valley in which literally 1,000 people will be out there clogging the trails.
I lived in Los Alamos during my high school years, so this was one of the local peaks - views off this peak are really incredible. When I went in 2003, I also did Polvadera Peak...good way to work on route-finding.