It's a Wreck of a Hike!
It's Winter... It's cold...and Wet. You want an easy to follow track out in the full sun. You do not want to drive on muddy dirt roads. You want Forest Road 5575!
Starting just off Hiway 82, around mile post five, this all uphill trek fits the bill. The entry is not obvious; it is the Runaway Truck Ramp over on the east side of the hiway. Park out of the way at the bottom of the ramp. Look close and you'll see the track on the right that runs along the deep sand pit truck trap... and up to an unsecured forest service metal gate. Proceed on through the gate and follow the old road around and up to the peak. The views of the valley to the west are pretty good, with overviews of Salado Canyon and the canyons and ridges to the north. You will note a signed split halfway up the mountain... another deadend track that runs over to the ridge above the hiway.
If you want a bit more adventure to your day, make this hike a loop connecting with Dry Canyon. Hike up to the peak then on your way back down, about halfway, turn down into the canyon drainage that holds the power lines headed towards Dry Canyon (below hiway 82) (Mill Ridge Canyon). Target the south side of the canyon, catching the old maintenance road bed. It is hyper steep and filled with lose rock and gravel, but it will carry you down into the canyon proper. Once in the drainage, you have the option to remain in the rocky tumble, blended with moderately easy dry falls... or, stick with the old roadbed as it winds its way down. Eventually, you do have to downclimb the mid section... the road sections do not cover the middle canyon. You can return to the old roadbed (on the left) after a bit of canyon bottom work. Warning: this section is hazardous... Class I Canyoneering, unlike the basic FR5575...
At the bottom, cross the hiway and walk down drainage into Dry Canyon... turn left (up drainage) and hike 3+ miles up to the gun range... and walk up the road to your car. You'll have about a nine mile loop if you take this diverse route. If you are choosing this looping option I suggest you park just inside the gateway to the gun range area. Do not drive down the hill upon turning off hiway 82, but instead, turn immediately right after passing through the upper gate... park right there and follow the old Cloudcroft hiway roadbed (blocked by big rocks) around and over to the Runaway Truck Ramp and FR 5575.
Is this a great hike? No. Is it worth doing? Yes. Just make sure the temps are low enough to justify all that sunlight!
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
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.