Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tonuco Peak











The Tonuco Peak uplift area is one of the best places for  desert hiking here in southern New Mexico. It has petroglyphs, interesting geology, cool rocks(various colors of quartz crystals, barite, fluorite, obsidian), old mines, and great views of the Rio Grande Valley from the peak. I have hiked here many times and there is always something new to discover;like a small needle eye arch in a branch canyon, or encounter, like the time I took a " short cut ' down through the cliffs that tower over the  large sandy arroyo on the north side and accidentally roused a couple of great horned owls, whose appearance so startled me that I nearly tumbled down the rocky ravine I was so carefully negotiating.Be careful around the mines if you go. Also, there's a giant mystery hole on top of the flat peak- don't fall in it. There is no waste rock near it, so if it's a mine shaft, it must be connected to a tunnel further down on the side of the mountain.The loop hike I usually make is a moderate 7 miles, and uses the big sandy arroyo,Pictograph Canyon, and the road coming from the east to the peak, but there are several other old mine roads that I've used for exploring. Getting down into some of the small arroyos has been fun too.The final climb to the peak is steep,but fairly short. It's amazing the remote feeling you get in the hidden Pictograph Canyon on this hike, even though you're very close to I-25 on one side and the farms along the river on the other. Good directions can be found in Greg Magee's Dayhikes and Nature Walks in the Las Cruces/El Paso Area. Caution: there is deep sand on some vehicle routes, and some roads can turn from decent to dangerous without much warning, and the "road" to the peak isn't really a road at all, so unless you have a jeep or some other vehicle suited to these conditions it's best to do your adventuring on foot.








11 comments:

Mauren Navarro said...

I just did this hiking, amazing interesting place..

devon said...

So glad you enjoyed it!

Brad Schultz said...

Just moved to the area and hiked to the peak a couple weeks ago. Where are the petroglyphs located?

devon said...

They are in canyon on the northeast side of the peak that runs from the road down to the big wash on the north side of the uplift. It's the only canyon system of any size on the whole north side.

Brad Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Schultz said...

Ok, that is what I thought but your confirmaton is helpful. Thanks for taking time to respond.

Sherri Buerdsell said...

I really want to do this hike, but I am really confused on how to get close to the mountain. Is there a way in from the west side? We tried the east side but, as you said, the roads were really bad in places, so we couldn't get within several miles of the mountain. Please help! Thank you!

devon said...

It's going to be at least an three mile roundtrip hike to the peak. And that's if you are able to drive in deep sand of the big wash. Otherwise it's going to be more like 5 or 6 miles. Access roads on the west side necessitate crossing private property, for which you would need permission and keys to gates- which is unlikely to happen. I can email a google earth image of the routes I use, if that would help.

J.D. LARA said...

NO NEED FOR KEYS OR PERMISSION, THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS ARE THE KARSONS AND LACKS WHO CONDUCT ALL THE FARMING TGAT AREA.. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY INTO THE FARMS AND OUT JUST OBEY THE SPPEED LIMIT ON THE DIRT ROADS AS IT IS POSTED AND JUST RESPECT THERE PROPERTY MANY PEOPLE PASS THROUGH THE PROPERTY AND ENTIRELT ACCESIBLE WITH 2 WHEEL DRIVE NO HARSH CONDITIONS..

devon said...

Thanks for the info.

Brad Schultz said...

I've always asked for permission from the Carson family to drive-thru and Park at the foot of the West Side of the Mountain close to the Carson house.