North Approach (Trails 15, 25)

North Approach (Trails 15, 25)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 33.37400°N / 105.808°W
Additional Information Route Type: All trail, very minor cross-country.
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 1, Maybe Class 2 on the final scramble to the top.
Sign the Climber's Log


Start at Trail #15 located near the final turn on highway NM-532 just before one enters the Ski Apache Complex.

Route Description

Follow Trail #15 into the wilderness. It makes one switchback and covers about a half-mile to where it tops out on a small ridge at a junction with Trail #25. Gain here is about 400 feet (you are now at elevation 10,200 feet). It's mostly open grassy slopes.

Follow Trail #25 south through open meadows, grassy slopes and occasional stands of trees. After about two miles the trail starts to contour up and into a drainage. Meet Trail #78 (Ice Springs) here, and follow #78 south, hiking pretty much by sight tward the obvious big hump of land directly ahead of you. This is Lookout Mountain. The trail comes to a saddle, where a set of old Jeep ruts continues steeply up grassy slopes and past some ski-lift buildings. Leave the trail and hike a few feet to bag your first summit, Lookout Mountain. At 11,580 feet, this is a quality peak, and the highpoint of Lincoln County. A large circular cement and stone seating/viewing area is on the summit. Sierra Blanca looms to the south about a mile and a half distant.

Leave Lookout and descend south about 400 vertical feet through grass and rocky slopes to a saddle at roughly 11,100 feet. The Lincoln-Otero county line and the Mescalero Indian Reservation boundary (same) is roughly at this saddle. Hike steeply up a grassy slope to gain about 500 feet, coming upon some large rocky knobs. Next, worm your way through a level stretch of rock outcrops. A trail herein helps. From below this section looks menacing but it's very safe. Finally, ascend the final 300+ feet up the prominent north ridge, through large boulders and following occasional foot-paths, to gain the summit. Sign in the log and enjoy the amazing views!

One way hiking is about 4.5 miles and about 2,800 feet of gross gain. My personal info: Left TH at 4:45 am, summitted SB at 8 am and was back to the TH by 10:30. Storms were already building by noon.

I cannot underscore the importance for being OFF the summit well before noon. You can set your watch by the regularity of the summer storms.

Essential Gear

Good boots, trekking poles.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Jessicahiker - Dec 20, 2005 12:08 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

I was there in March 2005. The sign marking trail #15 and intersection with trail # 25 was missing. Not sure if that has been rectified.

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