Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 32.53700°N / 107.731°W
Additional Information County: Luna
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 8408 ft / 2563 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Cookes Peak is an unforgettable landmark peak, located north of Deming in Luna County, southwest New Mexico. Visible from miles along Interstate-10, the peak is notable for its spire summit, which looks dauntingly challenging from below. However, a day-hike of the peak is very attainable for hikers in good shape - no technical skill is necessary other than a willingness to scamper up slightly exposed slopes. At worst the climb entails some moderate class-3 moves near the top, and some bushbashing down below, but the rewards are worth it. Views out over the vast desert landscape to the south and the mountains to the north are well worth the effort.

The famous City of Rocks State Park is nearby, on the highway between Deming and Silver City.

Cookes Peak from the WestCookes Peak (by WildmanDallas)

Getting There

In Deming, exit the interstate at US-180 (the sign will mention Silver City) and proceed north for about a mile, then turn east onto NM-26. Travel generally northeast on NM-26 about 13.5 miles to Cookes Canyon Road on the left, with a lonely ranch house at the corner. Take this road north. It's good quality hard-pack for the first 6 miles or so and a little sandy for the next 4 miles where it comes to a locked gate** (see below for access changes)

Those with a 4wd vehicle and the land-owner's permission to get past the gate can proceed about another 2.5 miles along the road to a junction with a 4wd track shown on the map (see the locator map on the "Northeast" route page. This junction is marked by "1" on the map).

** The following is an update on the road by wbass, from late 2006: In a recent trip back to Cookes to hike the ridge north of the peak (Fall 2006), apparently the BLM has gone ahead with old plans to bypass the corral with a new and improved road. We parked where the improvements ended. I did not call the BLM to inquire of further plans to grade the road, but it seemed as though more work was in store for that area. No idea why - in my numerous trips, I've hardly seen another soul.

** Update, Nov 2007 (Thanks to Charlie Winger, "wingman", for providing the updated information): The BLM road connects with the original access road as of my visit on November 6, 2007. It is no longer required to obtain Mr. Hyatt's permission to access the peak as the "new" portion of the road bypasses his property. The road which you follow from NM-26 is signed A109 and has a green street sign reading "Cookes Canyon Rd NE".

Cookes Peak approach road...Approach Road (by wbass)

Red Tape

The gate at about mile 10, and some of the lands on the approach, are part of the Hyatt Ranch, which encircles the peak. Permission can be gained from Mr. Leedrue Hyatt at the Hyatt Ranch HQ, which is at about mile 6 on the dirt road (a sign points left). You'll only be on their land for a very short time. As far as I know, the peak and most of its flanks are on public land.

Absolutely positively honor Mr Hyatt's wishes. He has been very kind over the years to allow access across his land. Please do not do anything stupid like leave the gate open or damage some fencing. Most ranchers in the SW don't allow public access onto their lands; the Hyatts are a rare exception.

When To Climb

The mountain is climbable all year. Snow falls but shouldn't linger too long. The route should be no problem after a dry spell of a couple weeks. Summer thunderstorms could be dangerous. The very best times seem to be April-June and Sept-Nov, when the weather is warm and dry and the storms aren't kicking up. If you go during the monsoon get an early start. The spire summit would seem to be a very attractive lightning target.

Snow falls high on the ridge.April snow!


Deming has many hotels in the $30 range- cheap, basic but decent. There is camping at nearby state parks in and around Deming. Bush-camping might be slightly tricky - it's open desert so you'll be exposed for the most part, and the land is a checkerboard of public and private land, and not always obvious which is which. Use good judgement.

Mountain Conditions


Cookes Peak from the NorthAnother fine photo by wildmandallas

Visit also

Further useful information can be found at the county highpointers website:

Luna County, New Mexico

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Bezoar Goat

Bezoar Goat - Nov 28, 2011 7:06 pm - Voted 8/10

Jeep Road

The jeep road definitely goes through (as of November, 2011) and bypasses the gate. Follow this 2-3 miles to find the TH. You pass a few branches (continue taking the left route) and an old tank before finding a few fire rings and a cairn where the trail starts up a drainage.


HikingMan - Oct 19, 2016 10:09 am - Voted 8/10

Length of Hike

Nice Post! Would anyone happen to know the length of the hike? I may have missed that.

Bryan J - Dec 6, 2020 9:52 pm - Hasn't voted

Update Dec 2020

This is a moderately difficult hike with a small scrabble in the final quarter-mile. This hike is fairly remote so take your time and don’t get hurt. I wouldn’t recommend it for a person that isn’t familiar with desert hiking or route finding. Also, be snake aware (year-round)! Follow A019 north past the no trespassing and private property signs. These signs were put there by the “Flying U” ranch and can be misleading upon first seeing them. They are basically stating that you need to stay on the road until you reach BLM land. Do not be dissuaded. Lots of people go drink and shoot guns on rancher’s land and these signs are up to limit that type of activity, they not to stop you from accessing the peak. It is a county road and you have a right to proceed (there are not any gates because it is publicly owned). Do not follow the red GPS on All Trails, this is not the route. Instead, use the southern trail noted by a dotted line found on most trail maps which passes near Rattlesnake Ridge. I suggest downloading the map offline as there are a couple of spots along the trail which are hard to navigate without GPS. To reiterate, do not take the northern route, this on private property! Overall, this is a slow hike as the trail is not maintained. Be prepared for a 4-7 hour outing without any drinkable water along the trail. Be on the lookout for rock cairns, the easiest to miss turn comes when heading up the canyon as the trail is very washed out. The majority of the trail is scattered with rocks which slows progress (but not problematic). Upon reaching the upper ridge the views are great on both sides of the peak and offer views up to 80 miles. The final scramble is straight forward, you do not need a rope, there are lots of holds and foot placements. This is a great hike if you have already explored parts of the desert southwest and are looking for a trail to get away from people. It’s not going to provide the “spiciness” of summiting Organ Needle or other true Class 3 peaks, but it’s a great hike to feel like you’re truly away from it all.

ppbradpp - Apr 17, 2021 3:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Climb of 04/10/2021

I drove from Hatch through Nutt on NM26, continuing 13.0 miles to Luna County road A019 (aka. Cookes Canyon Road) and turned right. You cross several cattle guards for the first 9.8 miles on this excellent dirt road. There are side roads, but these are either signed for a different destination (Fort Cummings, Hyatt Ranch) or are barricaded with a “No Trespassing” sign. About 9.8 miles after turning off NM 26, the road becomes rougher, but still passable for a regular car. After about a mile on this rougher road, you will see a road to your left with a BLM sign. This is the relatively new road that bypasses some Hyatt Ranch property. Almost immediately after turning on the BPM road, it gets significantly rougher, crosses an arroyo, and then requires a steep, rocky climb up to level ground. Given that it was dark and I had no information on road conditions further up, I chose to park here (about 0.25 miles after turning off the main road) for the night. The next day I found that the arroyo crossing was probably the roughest part of this BLM road. I took a hand-held GPS unit with me for route finding and milage. I strongly recommend taking one, as this area is isolate; I did not see another person the entire time. In the morning, I walked up this road, passing a tank with a broken windmill at mile 1.6, a road fork at mile 2.0 (take the left fork, picture), and the “trailhead” at mile 2.3 (picture). This trailhead is mentioned in the other trip reports and the faded “no vehicles” sign is still there. There is room for a few cars to park here. The trail starts out as an old road that is severely rutted, and there is a use trail alongside it. After a modest distance, the road becomes more distinct and is on the right side of a better defined arroyo (picture). The trail is generally pretty obvious going up the canyon and has cairns. Throughout it all, the rock summit of Cookes Peak will draw you on. Most of the time, the trail is on the left side of this canyon, but sometimes goes up the creek bed. About 1.3 miles past the trailhead, (at 7300 feet), the trail I took made a sharp right turn and climbed out of the creek bed. The trail works its way up to a northeast pointing ridge at about 7520 feet (picture). I was able to follow the trail to the southeast ridge of Cookes Peak a bit above the prominent saddle. Once on the ridge, I followed the sporadic trail and also an old barbed wire fence around two rock knobs (I did not see any tape in the shrubs). The upper rock knob has a use trail on the west (left) side after you step over the downed barb wire. Above the rock knob, the trail follows a ramp at the base of a headwall, and comes to a stop below the class 3 pitch at about 8140 feet (picture). I scrambled about 20 to 30 feet up this pitch and reached a rocky ramp (with some cairns, picture) to the final ridge. Follow this ridge to the first knob, from which the summit finally comes into view and make the final push to the summit. There are two summit markers here and a rock pile at the summit (picture). Enjoy the expansive views (pictures) for a while. I retraced my steps back to the road and the car. The trek down the ridges back to the trail and following the trail back into the canyon require care to follow and not get off-route. This is where my GPS unit was crucial. The hike took me about 5 ½ hours, 9.2 miles and about 3000 feet of elevation gain from where I parked my car. From the trailhead, the climb is about 4.6 miles and 2400 feet of elevation gain.

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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.