Gallo Peak is the northern most 10,000 foot peak in the Manzano Mountains. One of several 10,000 footers in the southern cluster of the Manzano Mountains, it stands like the northern guard tower over its 9,000 foot northern neighbors. It is completely covered in trees but still offers great views near and at the summit. Within an hour and a half from Albuquerque and directly above some nice campgrounds, Gallo Peak can be accessed quite easily. Since it is in close proximity to many other peaks in the area like Osha and Manzano Peaks, Gallo Peak offers a great opportunity for peakbagging.
From Albuquerque, go east on I-40 and take the Tijeras exit. Stay right when the off-ramp splits after a couple hundred feet. Go straight through the light onto Highway 337. Follow this road for about 35 miles until it hits NM-55 at a “T” intersection. Turn right and continue to the town of Manzano. Take the turn off towards the end of the town that has the sign pointing in the direction of Red Canyon Campground and Manzano State Park. Keep on the paved road for a few miles and take a right at the Red Canyon Campground sign. From here, go straight and follow the signs to the trailhead. A couple of great maps are the Manzano Mountains Wilderness map and the Cibola National Forest (Mountainair District) map.
No permits or fees are required to hike or park at the trailheads. However, as always, follow the outdoors code of conduct and leave no trace. Gallo Peak is in the Manzano Mountains Wilderness, which forbids use of motor vehicles and bikes on any of the trails.
When To Climb
The peak can be climbed at all times during the year, but the best times are from April until September like on most of the peaks in New Mexico. Afternoon thunderstorms also form around this mountain with little warning, more frequently during the spring, summer, and fall.
Due to the dry air, altitude, and intense sun that drain you of fluids, as well as the mostly dry streams in this region of the Manzano Mountains, it is important to pack plenty of water. 2 liters should be sufficient for the Red Canyon Trail.
Camping is allowed on the mountain as long as fires are not made. However, all climbs are done within a day so camping is unnecessary for most people. The nearest campground is Red Canyon, which is where the trail begins. It offers a couple of restrooms and areas for horses.
The only two websites you need are below with weather, fire danger, forest ranger contact information, and more.
New Mexico Website
National Forest link
Post by jfrishmanIII
Be advised that FR253 may be closed during winter months. I planned to hike Manzano Feb. 6 2006, but found the road gated off just past Manzano State Park. The signed said it was closed in winter "for resource protection." I have no idea if FS422 might be open from Abo Pass to the south, or FS 275 from Punta de Agua. I assume the closure effects all routes to Red Canyon trailhead, but just maybe 422 might be left open far enough to Climb Manzano Peak via Pine Shadow Trail. I can't find any reference to the subject on the Forest Service website. If you are similarly unlucky, the closest alternative is to take FS 245 out of Manzano and hike Osha Peak instead.