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.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Iron Creek Road( Black Range)-Gila National Forest
We hiked down this old road,which starts a few hundred yards west of Wright's Cabin where we had eaten a picnic lunch. There is an entrance on the south side of NM152 and room to park. It can be driven down a short way to a good sized campsite,where there is room to turnaround. Beyond there the road doesn't appear to be driven at all and it's not advisable. This was nice walk with tall oaks, gnarled boxelders, and some of the largest New Mexico( Arizona) alders you'll see providing ample shade. Iron Creek had water here and there this year, but sometimes it can be an ample stream. A little more than a half mile down we saw the remains of an old bridge( with a steel frame, so not real, real old), and an outhhouse. I surmised this was an old camping area. Later when I looked on the topo map, I could see that I was correct; this had been a campground. It's about a half mile east of the current campground at Iron Creek. We continued exploring up a side canyon immediately to the south and found some old rusty grates, 50 gallon fuel cans, and corrugated steel lying around. There were s mine shafts and tunnels on either side of the drainage continuing uphill for several hundred feet. I'm thinking the grates were either platforms or were for keeping people out of the mines and have since been removed. Please don't enter the mines if you come here to have a look. It was pretty humid and about 80 degrees, so we were working up a sweat as we climbed upward. We rested for bit on top of an old tailings pile, and then went back down. Before turning back toward our starting point, I scouted around to see if there was any sign of a road or trail that would take us all the way down to Iron Creek Campground,but I saw nothing. On our way back to our truck, I thought about how this abandoned camping area and road have a wilderness feel to them even though the highway is only about 20 feet over and 30 feet up from where we were walking.IMPORTANT NOTE: This hike is within the Silver Fire burn area which is currently closed( June, 2013).