High and Dry!!
Aqua Chiquita Road
Wrapping the ridgeline above the Sacramento River Valley, Forest Road 64 provides one of the highest elevation accesses in the Lincoln National Forest south of Cloudcroft. This five mile section, from the Sunspot Hiway around and over to the cutoff up to Sacramento Peak provides a variety of very interesting hiking and camping opportunities. Summertime cool! The monsoon season often yields nicer temps in July and August than are to be found in May or October. The area gets lots of ATV use, but the off trail opportunities make that a mute issue.
As you turn off of Sunspot Hiway (6563) you can pull over and park immediately on your right... to hike the official trail: Old Sunspot Hiway heading down Water Canyon on your left. This route connects with Cathey Canyon Trail, Kathy Canyon Trail, Deadman Canyon, Brown Canyon, Broken Leaf Loop, Willie White Canyon Trail and beyond, dropping all the way down to the Rio Penasco River basin.
Driving in another .3 mile, On your left you reach the old logging roads, 64OB and have a variety of hiking choices, including some interesting connecting options.
Most of the hikes off of FR 64 are about connecting loops.
At .9 Miles:
On your left, This broad meadow hike is Deadman Canyon, On your right, across from Deadman Canyon will be an official trail: Sacramento North Trail. Halfway down Deadman Canyon you could intersect with the Broken Leaf Trail, looping you around into Brown Canyon.
At 1.3 Miles:
Next along the route is Brown Canyon on your left. Here you have the choice of following the logging road 6409 around to Deadman Canyon on the Broken Leaf Loop, or simply hiking the meadow down and around, connecting with Water Canyon in a couple of interesting routes.
At 1.5 Miles:
Brown Canyon: Fifth Gate: you will notice an old logging road coming in from the left (metal pole barricade). This is Old Logging Road 6411 and will carry you up, down and across to more connecting routes. One of the more interesting will be the Telephone Canyon Traverse. Staying on 6411 'till it's end will have you at the top of Telephone Canyon, connecting with Willie White Trail, Willie White Canyon and Wills Canyon Trail and July Canyon, with the possibility of traversing over to 6th Gate Logging Road.
Corral Canyon, an official route coming in from your right ,will be the next hike along Forest Road 64. Enjoy this narrow, steeper trail down to the Sunspot Hiway.
Gate 6 takes off to your left, both the canyon cut and the Old Logging Road. These provide interesting looping options over to July Canyon and beyond.
Next, the Upper Wills Canyon trailhead is to be found on the left side of the road. This old logging road bed canyon winds down and connects with Wills Canyon Trail and Hubbell Canyon Trai, also connecting to July Canyon and 6th Gate Canyon. You could also retrace the abandoned route portion of this trail that used to run over to connect with the Hubbell Canyon Trail through Fenceline Canyon.
The Overlook Ridge, on your right, is an old logging cut that provides a short, but dramatic overview of the Sacramento River Basin. Sunspot Observatory stands proudly out on the opposite side of the valley.
On your left, the takeoff for Fenceline Canyon and Bull Elk Canyon.
Here is the south end of the Overlook Ridge hike and the takeoff point for the Overlook Canyon Loop, both on your right.
On your left...The Campsite Cut trail is next. If you are lucky, the campsite will be available; you can walk down and away from your vehicle, immediately immersed in this narrow cut.
Hubbell Canyon and Thousand Mile Canyon, both official Forest Service trails... and the old Logging road, Rock Pile Road kicking off an off trail trek down and around to the bottom of Sacramento Basin.
Winding your way a bit further around, on your left, up a narrow track, will be an old gravel pit. It might make a nice cold weather camp, though most folks camp over the hill past it further back into the trees. Directly across the road on the right is also a large camping area.
The road next drops down into a broad open meadow... with this section terminating in the road that climbs to your right up to the Fire Tower lookout on Sacramento Mountain, turn right up FR 430 to visit this potential camping site.
The gravel road that is Forest Road 64 is maintained such that motor homes traverse the route. It is a popular summertime getaway, with most of it's length lying well above 9,000'. Cool temperatures and shaded trails make for a happy combination.
All in all,with over 20 basic hikes and a variety of connecting loops, Forest Road 64 is worthy of a visit... or many!
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.