Monday, December 19, 2011
Sierra Vista Trail
We hiked the newest section of the Sierra Vista Trail on Sunday. This trail previously ran from the Texas border near Anthony Gap all the way to Soledad Canyon Rd. We've hiked the section from NM 404 to Webb Gap in the New Mexico segment of the Franklin Mountains. We also hiked south from the Soledad Canyon Rd trailhead.We've used the trail as a part of a loop hike around Bishop Cap Mountain, as well as heading north past Pena Blanca to Massey Tank and returning on a parallel old road which leads back to the county road that runs along Mossman Arroyo. Now the trail has been extended from Soledad Canyon Rd. to Dripping Springs Road,where we started our hike. There is small sign on the south side of the road that says "Sierra Vista". A parking loop is right there,but we continued down the dirt to one of several pullouts and parked. After about a 1/2 mile the road has another loop and more parking where it dead ends in an arroyo. The trail winds in out of several arroyos which start out wide and shallow and but get more narrow and deep as we headed southeast. The ridges have certainly been overgrazed here,but not nearly as badly as some parts of the Organ Mountains foothills.There is still some grass growing with abundant barrel cactus and Mormon tea instead of catclaw, creosote and mesquite. Some large isolated houses came into view as we got closer to the lumpy-bumpy Soledad Rocks and our turnaround point at the Soledad Canyon Rd. trailhead.Distance for the hike is about 2 1/2 to 3 miles one way, with elevation gain of about 200 feet. It's more of trail for exercise or walking the dog,as it has no real destination of any significance. It does have views of the high peaks of the Organs and Squaw Peak,which of course even a long time Las Crucen find hard to take for granted.