The Fresno Creek approach to Fresno Peak is a long, remote hike. With a distance from acceisble road to the peak being more than 15 miles, only the fastest of hikers can make this a day trip. However, as a reward for the length of the hike, many old structures, mines, and natural wonders exist along the way. Treat all of the with respect so that other amy enjoy them as well. Defacing historical artifacts and natural wonders will only keep the interior of the park closed for a longer amount of time.
Fresno Creek winding its way through the desert. Image © Ryan Becker
From Lajitas, travel west on FM 170 10 miles until you reach Fresno Creek. Continue past the creek roughly 200 yards, where you will see a gate. There is no gate in place, nor any fencing on either side. There is no parking available at this location, so arrangments must be made for a drop off. Parking may be available at the western end of the Contrabando Multi-use trail, contact the park service for more information. From the Contrabando parking area it is less than a mile along an old paved road to meet up with the Fresno Creek route.
Though this route is long, it is VERY straight forward. The route consists of staying in the creek bed until you come across the jeep trails, then following the jeep trails up the creek until you reach the proper canyon in the western side of the Solitario. A link to a series of topo maps outlining this section of the route are provided below. Once you reach the turnoff into the canyon, simply follow the canyon until you reach a section where the main gully veers to the left, following the topography of the rim. From here, follow the first small ridge leading straight forward, your ultimate goal being to summit this small ridge. Don't feel the need to gain the very top, you will be losing the altitude on the other side. Now Fresno Peak is directly in front of you. Continue down this small canyon towards the peak, angling as to minimize elvation loss. Climb the next ridge in front of you, then angle towards the western flank of the peak. The northeastern side of Fresno Peak is cliffed out, making progress from that direction difficult. From here, simply scramble to the top of the ridge, then follow the ridge south until you reach the peak.
Looking down the steep canyon section of the route. Image © Ryan Becker
Water, water, water. There are no reliable springs along the way. Since this hike is a multi-day affair, 2 or more gallons per person is recommended. Also, necessary camping gear is required for an overnight stay. Sturdy footwear, a wide brimmed hat, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a cloth to cover your neck are highly recommended, as the hike is very exposed. Preperation is key to staying safe on this hike.
A small bluff typical of the route up Fresno Creek. These bluffs and a few cottonwood trees provide the only shade. Image © Ryan Becker
External LinksFirst Section of Map
Second Section of Map