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