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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.

Kathy Canyon, NM

no permit
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Guide 0 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 1.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,637 feet
Elevation Gain 923 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.68
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & 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   Aug, Sep, Jul, May → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
0 Alternative
Kathy, Yes... Cathey..No!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
I discovered this unnamed canyon when trying to find Cathey Canyon... and it proved to be the only good thing about that day of hiking. Kathy Canyon is the drainage just to the north of Cathey, and unlike that named canyon, Kathy is a great hike.

This gently climbing drainage is filled with aspen and mixed conifers... broken by meadows but mostly you are hiking under a nice, shady canopy. A well established Elk track carries you steadily upward and around. The lower canyon holds some active springs. There is a greater sense and feel of being off and away up this narrower cut.

There is no ATV use up in this canyon. It is not an official route. This one is worth the time to find and explore.

You can hike the entire length of the drainage, starting well down Water Canyon, closer to Willie White Trail. Or, you can hike it like I did... starting higher up Water Canyon, across from the junction with the Brown Canyon loop (barb wire fence and power poles across stream in Water Canyon.)

If you decide to begin at this upper point: Walking off the road, and up and onto a small bench, you'll spot an old campsite... moving then up and around on fairly clear elk routes... you will enjoy a nice elk trail that carries you up, around and over a side drainage... and onto a small ridge, from the top of which you'll look down into Kathy Canyon. Elk trails will guide you softly down off the ridge into the Canyon bottom, where you could head up canyon: you'll top out very near Cathey Canyon on The Sunspot Hiway... or, you could head down canyon and loop out and back up Water Canyon.

Take a book... a picnic... maybe some wine? This is a great getaway hike!

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

2012-06-25 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
    Kathy Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3

    The 64OB right hand logging road wound down and around for only .7 mile... but then allowed an easy sideways descent on down into Deadman Canyon... and another little bit on up Deadman and I was at the intersection with 6409. Since I had already hiked that connecting loop, I turned and headed down canyon, intersecting Water Canyon in less than half a mile.

    My thoughts had been on Cathey Canyon... one of the more prominently labeled on the maps... and the one having the named overlook off Sunspot Hiway at it's upper end... I knew I needed to hike it. I'd glanced down it from the upper roadway... it looked really dull: wide open cow pasture?

    My problem: I did not know where exactly it intersected Water Canyon. As usual... no map on hand... no real planning* to the day. I did know it was close. I headed down canyon checking side drainages on my left. None looked good; eventually I decided I'd have to approach the canyon from above... no way to make a mistake doing that... and, it would have to happen on another day.

    I'd had a slow start on the day... energy was not great. A simple walk up canyon back to the truck was in order. Then, walking around a curve on the Old Sunspot Hiway, I noticed a potential path leading up on to a bench above the canyon bottom that I thought was Cathey. I had not started up the cut earlier because it looked too steep and too overgrown. But... if I could ascend a side bench and walk it around into the canyon, ideally dropping into some of that more open, gentle meadow section... well... I'd score my new canyon hike.

    I got lucky... bench carried me up and around, and a nice Elk trail carried me ever higher. But... the drainage proved not to be Cathey Canyon. It was a side drainage that ridged out... and crossing the ridge I could see a nice meadow canyon beyond.

    Ah! I figured I was there. I walked along the ridge for a ways, then enjoyed yet another Elk hiway down into a most delightful canyon bottom. Closed in... shady... narrower than I imagined it would be. Was this Cathey Canyon? Over the next mile my mind picked off the petals of "...I think it is... and I think it is not"... carrying that indecision all the way to the top of the canyon. As I topped out on the ridge at Sunspot Hiway, I looked across: there was no overlook!

    It was not the right canyon.

    I walked 100' further up the ridge and gazed down into the upper meadows of the very familiar Cathey Canyon. I'd come up the drainage immediately to the north! Interestingly, it was a really nice canyon, far nicer than Cathey.

    I walked up and crossed the road to the Overlook... no longer overlooking anything. Forest Service has allowed the lower section to get so overgrown all you can see are the other cars parked in the parking lot.

    Well, now I could at least hike down Cathey and discover where it really did intersect with Water Canyon! Oddly enough, it turned out to be at the official trailhead for Old Sunspot Hiway Trail... directly across from Deadman Canyon. I'd seen the opening, filled with power lines and an old road I thought went up to the gravel pits above... nope... the ugly road cut going up and away was Cathey Canyon. It is ugly... now filled with pile after pile of cut trees and shrubs.

    I could now do a nice write up warning folks away from Cathey Canyon... and suggest they try to find the little hidden gem of a canyon I accidentally enjoyed.

    I walked up the south fork of Water Canyon, back to my car. I drove over to the fire tower lookout (Closed) and prowled around looking for my next little hiking potential. Instead I found a very nice, pleasantly hidden alcove to bring the little Acorn Trailer up for the next month. I'll set up a permanent camp, adjacent to the cordwood cutting area... and enjoy a more relaxed pattern for the coming month or so. I plan to be up here three or four nights weekly. Though it only takes 15 minutes to setup and take down camp with the tent, the idea of having the trailer during the wetter monsoon weeks has appeal. It also makes it nicer when friends drop over to share some hikes. The spot is deeply shaded and not too far off road.

    Home Away from Home for the next set of hiking days...

    *on that issue of planning: my idea of effective planning is to have given some thought to where I might begin hiking... and maybe thought about what direction I might head. I do not think to carry along a map... I do not bother to study a map or hike description prior to the hike. I like to hike, so it is enough to just have a beginning point to engage... and let the rest fall where it might... since I hike solo, this process does not endanger or even inconvenience anyone else. It does likely mean there will come a time when I give over to accident or age, and no one will have the slightest idea where to look for the body... and that is fine, too. I don't think I'd be any good at changing. Maybe a Spot device in 2014?

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Cloudcroft, follow hiway 130, 1.8 miles out of the Village to Sunspot Hiway (6563) turning right and following that road to just past MilePost 13. Turn left on to Forest Road 64. Park on the right side of FR 64... and enter the Old Sunspot Hiway Trail across the road. Hike down this trail/road to the point below Cathey Canyon (.75 miles) that you choose to use to traverse over into Kathy Canyon... or hike all the way down to the mouth of the canyon (about 1.6 miles?)
    page created by imike on Jun 25 2012 12:26 pm
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