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Wills Canyon Trail #5008, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,246 feet
Elevation Gain -561 feet
Accumulated Gain 361 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours?
Kokopelli Seeds 5.6
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Post the 1st photoset!
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:37am - 5:00pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Willie White Trail #113
1.0 mi away
5.0 mi
770 ft
Taylor Canyon Trail #5007
1.1 mi away
1.9 mi
814 ft
July Canyon
1.2 mi away
1.8 mi
590 ft
Kathy Canyon
1.2 mi away
1.6 mi
923 ft
Willie White Spur Trail #112
1.7 mi away
0.6 mi
156 ft
Benson Ridge / Bluff Springs Trail #5006
Benson Ridge / Bluff Springs Trail #5006
1.7 mi away
7.0 mi
1,582 ft
Schofield Canyon Trail #5007A
1.9 mi away
2.7 mi
977 ft
Cathey Canyon
2.0 mi away
1.1 mi
320 ft
Bluff Springs
2.2 mi away
5.0 mi
880 ft
Willie White Canyon
2.2 mi away
3.8 mi
1,220 ft
[ View More! ]
Worth the Effort...
by imike

Well, Wills Canyon Trail neither starts nor ends in Wills Canyon. In fact, it is really not about traversing Wills Canyon at all. For that, Wills Canyon Road combined with Upper Wills Canyon Trail provide the true canyon meadow experience.

Wills Canyon Trail comprises a sort of horse shoe loop, breaking off from Willie White Trail (t113)at the top of Willie White Canyon, following a side drainage down into Wills Canyon, then once there, catches the old railroad grade from Hubbell Canyon, and follows it along the high ridge side above the north side of Wills Canyon, winding pleasantly around under the trees. Eventually, the grade winds up, around and back over into Willie White Canyon, and terminates at the Willie White Trail.


Included in all this winding are rough remains of the old rail bed, including the rotting hulk of one of the trestles. At a sharp hairpin curve the reversing switchback grade is still clearly evident... here the train would proceed up and past the hairpin till the final car had cleared, then the track would be switched, and the rear of the train would roll back down and onto the up grade, and proceed on up and around with the caboose in the forefront for the next portion of the climb.

Down at Willie White Canyon, the railbed included yet another switchback grade, proceeding on up Willie White Canyon for aways.

It is interesting to take note of the differences in the trail grades. The ones once cut to include the train log haulers have a softer grade with softer curves, and often a more substantial gravel bed... and often bits of coal and cinder left scattered in the bed. Adjoining these main train tracks are the logging roads and drag line routes. Most every canyon holds the remnants of one or the other; these mountains were extensively logged up until 1948.

Along the main forest roads, active logging continues to this day...

Wills Canyon Trail is a great hike. You will obviously have to include it with other routes to put together an effective loop. It can be accessed from above off of Forest Road 64... (Hubbell Canyon Trail... Upper Wills Canyon Trail... July Canyon.... fr6411.... ) Or from below off of the Rio Penasco Road (Willie White Trail: either end!... Or Wills Canyon Road).

The mileages are liable to be long for some of these connecting loops. It would be best to plan wisely. The trail intersections are nicely and clearly marked at this time, but I have encountered horseback riders well lost. A wrong turn can cost you a great many additional high elevation miles.

Plan for rain or even ice storms in the summer monsoon season!

Note: some maps may have this trail labeled as the Hubbell Canyon Trail. While it is an extension of the old railway that traversed Hubbell Canyon, officially, Hubbell Canyon Trail deadends into the Upper Wills Canyon Trail, terminating at that point.

imike
  • Willie White Trails Map
    guide related
    Willie White Trails Map

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.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
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Road
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
Form Cloudcroft, follow state road 130, 1.8 miles out of the village, turning right onto Sunspot Hiway (6563) and following it 13 miles to Forest Road 64. Turn left on to FR 64. You may stop immediately, at the trailhead for the Old Sunspot Hiway Trail... using it to hike down to Willie White Trail (113) for the hike up to the upper end of Wills Canyon Trail... or, check the map for other alternative loops
page created by imike on Jul 24 2012 2:44 am
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