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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Brown Canyon Telephone Canyon Traverse, NM

no permit
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Guide 0 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,405 feet
Elevation Gain -650 feet
Accumulated Gain 250 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.83
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Post the 1st photoset!
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:51am - 6:00pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Off Trail... On Track!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Off Trail, then way off trail... this route provides a very interesting leg for a variety of potential connecting hikes. It could be hiked as an out and back, possibly limiting or eliminating the extreme off trail section, but much better is to combine it with one of the connecting Water Canyon routes... or, loop up Willie White trail for a variety of additional connecting loops.

The "way off trail" section probably makes the mountain biking option for this route questionable, but I have covered far worse on my bike... and this is all down hill over a pretty nice elk track route. It is doable.

The traverse begins on Forest Road 64, along the old logging road 6411. It follows that ridge line route around, up and down, until you reach the fork split. You follow the roadbed headed to the left, downhill.

The right fork would soon terminate at the upper point of the Willy White Trail.

This old section winds down and around the mountain, finally leaving Brown Canyon and crossing above Water Canyon... and then dead-ending as it approaches Telephone Canyon. From that deadend, you move off to your left/right and down, catching nice elk trails that will wind you down and to your right... eventually dropping you to the top of a bench. Here you will pick up a very nicely cut elk track that follows the bench top around to the right into Telephone Canyon... then down and off the bench, eventually working its way towards the mouth of Telephone Canyon, dropping over another bench... and out into a nice meadow area above the Willie White trail. If you've chosen the right elk trails/tracks you will have enjoyed an easy descent through a thickly forested canyon side.

You can not really get lost... just go downhill... you'll hit the bottom and be in Water Canyon!

Once down, decide from a variety of great looping options... Consider an early morning start to up your chances for spotting the deer, elk, turkey and bear that thickly occupy this off trail area.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-06-22 imike

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Brown Canyon Telephone Canyon Traverse
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Bear and Bull Elk!

    Exceptionally nice to have the cool morning air, but even if it were warmer out, the cut of the trail would have kept me walking in deep shade. Winding around the western edge of the ridges is ideal morning routing. On one of the earlier curves I came in sight of the rear end of an elk... grazing with his head down and away from me. I walked softly to within about 20 yds, then turned on the camera. The buzz caused him to lift his head and turn towards me... big rack of antlers! Hopefully, I got that full face shot. (Can't tell on my camera until later; view screen has not worked since that fall down the waterfall last year!)

    More curves... more elk... lots of bull elk. They'd move on aways, then bugle or honk a complaint.

    I moved around the old logging road track, splitting off and down towards Water Canyon... the idea to traverse around to Telephone Canyon if all went well.

    It did!

    At the far end of the lower leg of 6411, where the road bed deadended, the elk trails began. I followed them down and around into the lower section of Telephone Canyon, dropping bench to bench and finally into the lower meadow area, intersecting Willie White Trail just as it began it's trek up Telephone. The Elk did good! In many respects, their trails were nicer than those official tracks maintained by the Forest Service!

    One down, I decided to hike up Water Canyon. The official route is 5009, the Old Sunspot Hiway... but, the canyon bottom had long ago held a logging road, and it promised a more interesting route than the open, exposed old hiway. I was not 100 yds into the up canyon walk when I sited a potential side canyon trail. I am constantly on the lookout for these old cuts; they tend to lead to very interesting mini-adventures.

    I stopped and started to eyeball the trail line up the side of the opposite hill. At the first bunch of brushes obscuring the thin trail I noted the observer was being observed. A Black Bear was tucked in behind the shrubbery watching me. I watched him back. He watched, me watched, we watched. After a time I broke the stalemate with some idle chatter, assuring him I was headed up Water Canyon... and I apologized for interrupting his drinking interlude. He ambled on up trail, away from me. I did the same from him. I need to go back and check out that trail, sans bear.

    I was two hours into my hiking day as I worked my way up along the little stream that irrigates most of the length of the canyon. It was interesting. The hot air rising on the ridges was causing a down draft of cold air, hitting face on as I worked my way up the drainage. It was cooler than it had been at 5am!

    To hike Water Canyon on those lower trail as opposed to the upper road cut is an entirely different experience. It is the way to do this canyon.

    The bird life... the flowers... the butterflies... the soft gurgle of water. I found myself stopping, sitting and soaking in the moments. I thought about the issue of solo hiking, and could not imagine not getting to enjoy these moments... and pondered just how much non-solo hiking was a reasonable balance...?

    I passed Brown Canyon then Deadman Canyon... both reasonable alternatives for looping back to the car, but I wanted to check out the alternative southern fork of the upper Water Canyon. If there was a way to avoid the upper section, directly adjacent to the old hiway it would be nice. I got lucky... the south cut was an open meadow leading right up to one of the old logging roads... a greatly improved access to this wet canyon area.

    All in all... a very nice morning outing. Now, it any of the pictures will have turned out....?

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From cloudcroft, follow hiway 130 out of the Village to the Sunspot Hiway, turning right onto that road (6563) and following it to just past the milepost 13, turning then left onto Forest Road 64... and following that gravel road over a mile to the unmarked trailhead for the old logging road 6411, on your left. This will be the third in a series of metal swing pole barricaded roads. The first cluster are marked as 640B... the next, about a mile along the road past 640B is the unmarked pole barrier(Brown Canyon) and 0.1 mile further along: 6411.
    page created by imike on Jun 22 2012 9:48 am
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