A blog about exploring the natural areas of New Mexico focusing on but not limited to Dona Ana, Luna, Otero, Sierra, Grant, Lincoln,Socorro and Catron counties.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Hillsboro Peak, Gila National Forest
Our first hike in the Black Range was along the Hillsboro Peak trail(FT 79). We had driven through the range on an earlier vacation on winding,but very scenic NM152. When we moved here it was our first destination for some forest hiking. That first time we ended up stopping after a couple of miles on a late summer day due to us not getting the earliest of starts, but we would get back soon enough. I remember being delighted and surprised that there were aspens along the trail here. In my mind they belonged to more northerly climes. I think we've gone all the way to the top three times,but we've used the trail for a hike to Hillsboro Lake(see earlier blog entry) as well. One variation we've tried was to return from the summit on the Hillsboro Peak bypass trail(FT 412). This makes for a longer hike, and there is one sketchy section barely notched into the side of steep,open hill,but it's hard for me to do the exact same hike too many times. I don't know if they still leave the lookout open,but it's great fun for map junkie like me to go up there have that bird's eye view of all the places I've studied over. It's like Google Earth, but real. This hike, Sawyer's Peak, and the Mimbres River usually end up in the various New Mexico hiking guides, so we've seen a few people out on the trail on weekends, but it's not crowded by any means. I encountered more people on a weekday hike to Nambe Lake near Santa Fe than probably all my hikes to Hillsboro Peak put together. IMPORTANT UPDATE: This area has been burned by the Silver Fire(June,2013).