Overview(Page re-adopted, May 2010)
Eagle Peak is the highest point of the Tularosa Mountains located in Catron County in far-western New Mexico. A lookout tower sits atop the bare summit, which is surrounded by mature stands of large ponderosa pine, and in other areas, large stands of burnt-out trees from a large fire in the late 1990s.
Because of the lookout tower, a pretty good dirt road leads all the way to the summit. With a good vehicle, a drive to the top is possible, but there are plenty of pull-outs along the way in case you want to make a short hike to the peak. The forest roads are pretty good for most vehicles (high clearance would be advised). Only the final couple of miles would require 4-wheel drive.
This is a remote, unpopulated region of New Mexico. Catron County is the second-largest county in area in the state, but counts barely 3,000 people. The largest towns are Luna and Reserve, both with about 500 people. Reserve is a neat little place with lodging and some basic cafes. Hunting is very popular in the region, especially in Fall.
The lookout tower atop Eagle Peak
From the small town of Reserve, drive north on NM Highway 12 for about two miles to the marked turnoff for the Eagle Peak Lookout. This is Forest Road 233. At first FR-233 passes through some private property with spectacular scenery. There is a small creek ford along the way but it should not pose a problem.
The road gains onto a forested bench for a few miles. You could camp in here. Finally, the road comes to a set of junctions. The way to the top is signed. Here, the road may get a bit rough. A good place for less-sturdy vehciles to park would be before the final junction. The walk up the road to the top would cover maybe 7 miles round trip.
Contact the Reserve Ranger District at 505-533-6232 for the latest conditions.
Forest Map: Gila National Forest.
Topo Map: Eagle Peak.
Forest road views (by streeyyr)
There are several Forest Service campgrounds in the vicinity of Eagle Peak. Apache Creek is the closest.
Bush camping in the forest is also permitted. We saw a few places that had old fire rings. Try to re-use old camping spots if possible, and leave no trace, as usual.
External LinksGila National Forest
New Mexico Prominence Map
Trip Report (surgent.net), May 2008)
Shadow the lookout dog
You may meet Shadow if you're lucky...