Thursday, May 27, 2010
Hillsboro Lake-Aldo Leopold Wilderness
Hillsboro Pond, or Hillsboro Lake is an oddity in the steep, and relatively dry Black Range. It sits in a small depression just below the crest of the Black Range. The only other natural pond I know of in the Black Range is Mimbres Lake, which sits on the crest a few miles to the northwest.
There are two ways to get to Hillsboro Pond. First, there is the Ladrone Trail FT 127 which is very steep and hard to follow(see my post about it). Reaching the trailhead 3 miles past Kingston on the very dodgy FR 40E is also a bit of an adventure. The other way is via the Crest Trail FT 79 starting out of the Emory Pass parking area. This trail is wide, well worn and easy to follow. At about 4 miles in, this will be the second relatively wide, open saddle you will reach on the crest, there will be sign pointing east for Trail 127 which says “ Kingston 6", turn right here head steeply down for less than a 1/4 mile. As the trail levels out, you will see Hillsboro Pond on your left. When it’s full, it’s probably only a little more than an acre.
Still, it’s a sweet spot surrounded by aspens and firs, as well as a few spruce. Try to visit during wet times, spring after a good snow year or late summer- early fall when we’ve had good monsoon rains, otherwise it may be little more than a mud puddle.IMPORTANT UPDATE: this beautiful area was within the Silver Fire and may be vastly different from this description(October, 2014).