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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.

Grindstone Trail #91, NM

no permit
86 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 3.65 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,709 feet
Elevation Gain 1,043 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,174 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.56
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2018-07-10
Grindstone Lake Trail
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   Apr, Oct, May, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Winter
Sun  5:51am - 6:00pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
It's 2, No 3...No 4 Trails in One!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Look at a Topo Map and Trail 91 is clearly marked, rising out of Ruidoso on each end. It connects up with both a Loop Trail (91A)and a Spur Trail (91B). Unfortunately, the map fails to illustrate the true story.

The official guide book talks about the development of this trail system... with the plans formed back in the late 1990's... and still awaiting execution in 2002.

The book describes the lower end of the route as hard to track. It suggests that you wait until the trails are completed.

You would still be waiting.

Oddly enough, the lower end of the trail is clear... it takes off out of Mine Canyon climbing along a too well established Jeep track. Deeply rutted and too steeply angled, there is no problem following this route except for the fact that all it does is climb straight up the narrow saddle back ridge.

The Jeep portion terminates atop the fourth mini-peak. From that point on you might have a problem holding to the "true" trail except for the fact that all you have to do is continue to climb. As long as you move up you are on the correct route... except for when you are moving down, which you do after you crest each mini-peak. The repeated drops to the upside saddle will add close to 300' to your total ascent to the Mesa. If you are returning on the same route, remember to add that same amount to your net AEG!

Note: the fourth peak Jeep road section is a Jeep hyper challenge route... you can avoid this section by simply heading to the right (east) when the trail splits before the base of that hill. The alternate trail will wind you gently up and around to the next saddle.

There are six mini-peaks to ascend/descend over the course of the 3 miles to the Mesa. You will know you are finally on the Mesa portion when you cross the upper reaches of Sawmill Canyon. That is about the only way to know; you cannot tell by looking.

There is no Mesa.

The area labeled Grindstone Mesa is yet another, broader, saddle back ridge. There are some flattened wider areas in the upper reaches, but for the most part you could walk the middle of the area and see the ridge fall down and away from you on either side. Sawmill Canyon falls away in a gentle slope, covered with deadfall. The opposite side, North Fork Cienegita Canyon, has a nicer top edge.

Oddly, the proposed loop route shown on the Topo Map (90A) fails to approach either edge... just carving a small circle in the middle of the tree shrouded top.

It is a nice area... or could be. There has been extensive tree felling. Multiple roads have been cut into the area and huge piles of downed trees remained piled along the roads. Where the map shows Trail 91 winding along the north end of the Mesa, instead there is a much improved road plowing through the area. Effectively, trail 91 merged with that road back on top of Peak 6.

The same wide cut roadbed continues on and becomes what the Map calls the Spur Trail (91B).

So... there is no 91, 91A, nor 91B... at least not now. There may be the remains of the north end of 91 dropping down to the Black Forest Subdivision as shown on the map, but really it should be given a different designation. It is totally disconnected from the trail rising up from Mine Canyon.

All of this may soon change.

There must be 1000 survey flags tagged along the routes... with a suggestion that the new trail route might correct many of the shortcomings of the original trail. Time will tell.

For now, enjoy this area as if you were doing an off trail exploratory. Until they finish their work, for the most part you are.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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

2013-05-14 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 Reviews
    Grindstone Trail #91
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Went to check out the new trail... initially, it looked as if they had never done the work, but it turned out they had... in a big way. Problem: they re-oriented the Trailhead over to the lake. It no longer connects up over close to the Casino. The new trail is impressive... obviously done with a sharp eye for Mountain Biking. Now, need to go back over to check out the new Trailhead and the upper Mesa Loop.
    Grindstone Trail #91
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Well...Interesting to finally loop all of the non-trails in the Grindstone Mesa area. Checking with the official trail guide, it comments about the plans for the system of trails, soon to be signed and developed, back in 2002. Yet, the area is nothing like is noted in the book.

    There is no loop trail nor any spur trail. There is a major road going up and over the Mesa. Oh, yeah... there is no Mesa either! The book talks about the lack of trail on the main route... there, it is now a major trail, it's just so poorly laid out (straight up hill!) that for most folks, it would not be liked. I need to go back up with a mountain bike to check out all of the roads... then maybe I can make a final assessment of the area?

    There are full fledged survey and new trail flags over most of the trail areas... it appears that there is about to be real trails... more properly laid out. Or, they just wasted about 1000 flags!

    so... how to do the write ups?

    One More Bus Monday before the Forest gets closed?

    Won a net 75 cents on the slots...
    Grindstone Trail #91
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Well, another Monday... another fifty cent bus ride! Net winnings on the slots today was only .75... but still... that and free drinks made for a nice complement.

    Something needed to be nice... the trails certainly were not!

    I'm not really sure you could even call them trails anymore... routes at best, and that might be stretching it for most of the "real" trails. The clear paths I had today were prior to the formal forest trails... the elk game trails were better maintained and easier to follow.

    These will make for very interesting writeups.

    At least there is some hope it may change... survey markers and flags were posted on all three routes. Perhaps some potential is about to be realized? I'd hoped to find clear trails, well engineered. Instead... no trails, and where the routes were clear, they were vertical ruts, cut straight up and down the ridge. I can't bring Terri's Friday group over to experience any of that. Alas.

    Day did open well... a few miles into the hike, down in Sawmill Canyon, I had a mountain lion cross the road right in front of me. Instead of the normal skulk... or slow, curious staring, this guy bounded... full stretch and flex! Got my attention! I watched the ridge above me for the next 15 minutes just in case he decided I looked plumper and easier than the elk I scared off right after crossing his path.

    Deer later to round out the animal encounters.

    Talked to a Ranger yesterday when hiking up here... they are closing all of the Lincoln before the end of the month, unless there is a major rain. They do not want the risks of so many people over the holiday... today's light mist probably did not qualify for rain.

    So... not sure how many more hikes I can score right from the Casino here... but then again, there's only a couple weeks of open forest left!

    For weight augmentation in my pack today I carried along this computer...Casino has free wifi! I could hang around up here and do the computer work, but the 1:30pm bus is a few minutes away... guess I'll head back down.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    From Ruidoso, follow the city streets to the intersection with the old Forest Rd 5622. This is the logical starting point for most hikes up Trail 91. The proposed trailhead is .25 miles along FR 5622, taking off to the right up the ridge above Mine Canyon. You could also walk over from the Inn of the Mountain Gods, along the Sawmill Canyon road. If you are uneasy with route finding, you would do well to take along a programmed GPS for this hike.
    page created by joebartels on May 14 2013 10:41 am
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