Tularosa Mountains

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New Mexico, United States, North America
9786 ft / 2983 m
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Tularosa Mountains
Created On: Nov 12, 2007
Last Edited On: Mar 20, 2008


NOTE: Weather information observed at St. Johns, AZ and may not represent actual conditions in the Tularosa Mountains.
Lower reaches of the Tularosa MountainsThe lower reaches of the Tularosa Mountains.

The Tularosa Mountains lie within the borders of the Gila National Forest near the small town of Reserve in southwestern New Mexico. Bordering the western edge of the Plains of San Agustin, the Tularosas run northeast to southwest for about 25 miles. Eagle Peak, at 9,786 feet elevation, is the high point of the range. At the lower elevations of the range, piñon and juniper are the dominant trees. Coniferous forestland, mainly fir and spruce, is characteristic at the higher elevations.
Tularosa Mountains northeast viewNortheast view of the Tularosa Mountains.

8K+ Summits in the Tularosa Mountains

Source: Lists of John.

Peak Elevation Prominence Latitude Longitude
Eagle Peak 9,786’ 2,286’ 33.67685 N 108.57702W
Buzzard Peak 9,700’ 360’ 33.68183 N 108.56995 W
Point 9403 9,403’ 983’ 33.74005 N 108.43825 W
Point 9245 9,245’ 385’ 33.75378 N 108.47976 W
Point 9243B 9,243’ 343’ 33.73281 N 108.4842 W
Point 9279 9,279’ 459’ 33.7355 N 108.50289 W
Point 9175 9,175’ 955’ 33.82015 N 108.43884 W
Point 9112 9,112’ 332’ 33.73662 N 108.51615 W
Wagontongue Mountain 8,979’ 599’ 33.8636 N 108.4613 W
Point 8937 8,937’ 357’ 33.69122 N 108.52801 W
Point 8882 8,882’ 622’ 33.8097 N 108.4935 W
John Kerr Peak 8,868’ 580’ 33.8027 N 108.47432 W
Point 8780A 8,780’ 560’ 33.78809 N 108.45526 W
Piñon Knob 8,665’ 445’ 33.6796 N 108.4942 W
Point 8602 8,602’ 302’ 33.7880 N 108.4670 W
Milligan Mountain 8,409’ 509’ 33.67929 N 108.64974 W
Point 8353B 8,353’ 413’ 33.7877 N 108.43644 W

Eagle Peak lookout towerEagle Peak, the crown jewel of the Tularosas.

Getting There

The drive alone makes a trip to the Tularosas worthwhile. U.S. Hwy 60 and NM Hwy 12 are among the most scenic in the state. About 50 miles west of Socorro along U.S. Hwy 60 lies the Very Large Array (VLA) astronomy observatory on the Plains of San Agustin. The VLA site was a filming location for the 1997 motion picture Contact.

The below routes lead to the vicinity of Eagle Peak, the highest peak in the Tularosa Mountains.

From the west or south: Take U.S. Hwy 180 to the small town of Reserve; proceed east on NM Hwy 12 for about 3 miles; turn right onto Forest Road 233. See below for further directions from this point.

From the north: Near the town of Quemado, proceed south on NM Hwy 32; turn right on NM Hwy 12 and proceed southwest for 16 miles; turn left onto Forest Road 233. See below for further directions from this point.

From the east: From Socorro, proceed west on U.S. Hwy 60 for 61 miles; turn left on NM Hwy 12 and proceed southwest for 71 miles; turn left onto Forest Road 233. See below for further directions from this point.

From Forest Road 233: Proceed 15.5 miles to a clearing off FR 233 near the base of Eagle Peak’s summit. The first 12.2 miles of FR 233 is not too bad; after that point, a high-clearance 4WD vehicle is required. There is a Forest Service gate on FR 233 about 0.8 miles from Eagle Peak that is sometimes locked (seasonal); it is probably open during the high fire danger season. The destination to the clearing described above is on the assumption that the gate to the summit is locked. The route to Eagle Peak is 0.9 miles on FR 233 with 483 feet elevation gain.
Very Large ArrayOne of 27 Very Large Arrays.

Hiking & Camping

There are numerous Forest Service roads and hiking trails in the area, including the Continental Divide National Recreation Trail which traverses the range. I recommend investing in a USGS topographic map (Eagle Peak and John Kerr Peak quadrangles). Some of the land in the area is private property and the fencelines seem to define these areas pretty clearly. As long as you’re not on private land, primitive camping is permitted in the area at no fee.

Red Tape

USFS regulations apply. No fees or permits required.

Food & Lodging

The nearest town is Reserve, 3 miles southwest of the NM 12-FR 233 junction. Reserve is a nice town, but with a population of less than 400, its facilities are limited. For lodging, try The Hidden Springs Inn (505-533-6906) or Village Motel & RV Spaces (505-533-6600). There are several cafes and restaurants in town.

Phone Numbers

Gila National Forest – Reserve Ranger District: 505-533-6232

External Links

Gila National Forest – Reserve Ranger District

Tularosa Mountains

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