Gray Mountain is the highest point in the Peloncillo Mountains. This small mountain range runs along the Arizona-New Mexico border, and is generally bordered by the Animas Valley to the east, and the San Simon Valley to the west. The Peloncillos appear to be a collection of small mountains and hills that cannot be included in any other range. They are over 100 miles long, and run from the Mexican border in New Mexico all the way north to Clifton, Arizona. The 6,575’ Guthrie Peak is the highest mountain in the northern end of the range, and the 6,625’ Owl Mountain is the highest peak in the southern part of the range. The southern end of the Peloncillos is also included in the Coronado National Forest.
The Peloncillos have several mountains that contain scenic rock formations. Gray Mountain and Owl Mountain are two that have impressive rock formations similar to those found at Chiricahua National Monument. However, because the Peloncillos are a small, mostly unknown mountain range, few people venture out into them. There are no developed trails or campgrounds in the Peloncillos, and private land holdings in the area tend to complicate access routes. With the towering Chiricahua Mountains overshadowing things only a few miles to the west, few people pay much attention to the lowly Peloncillos. They just aren’t high enough to attract much attention. However, for those willing to venture off the beaten path, the Peloncillo Mountains contain a few impressive peaks that are worth exploring.
From the small town of Animas, drive about six miles west on NM Highway 9 to Clay Mine Road, which is between miles markers 8 and 9. Clay Mine Road is marked by a green street sign. Turn left, and start driving south on a good gravel road for about two miles until you come to a locked gate next to an abandoned open-pit mine. Park here. The elevation here is about 4,595’.
The above-mentioned access route to Gray Mountain involves crossing some private land. The landowner lives near Mile Marker 10 just east of Clay Mine Road. Although we never saw any no trespassing signs anywhere, you should contact the landowner to gain permission. We did, and he said it was no problem for us to cross his land. The BLM District Office in Las Cruces has the telephone number to the landowner. The BLM office can be reached at 505-525-4300. I've been told that there is a public access route to Gray Mountain, but there may be some locked gates across the public road.
BLM Maps: Animas.
Topo Maps: Indian Peak; Antelope Pass.
We were allowed to camp at the locked gate. This is a good camping spot.