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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.

Three Rivers Trail #44, NM

Guide 5 Triplogs  1 Topic
  4.5 of 5 
125 5 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,436 feet
Elevation Gain 3,400 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,450 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.4
Interest Perennial Waterfall, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
13  2018-12-15 nobert15
42  2014-05-05
Three Rivers to Lookout Mountain 11580'
60  2013-10-04
Three Rivers to Lookout Mountain 11580'
10  2013-04-27
White Horse Hill 10255'
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 60
Routes 56
Photos 8,510
Trips 1,855 map ( 11,120 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Marana, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Aug, Jul → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Winter
Sun  5:15am - 7:04pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2012 Little Bear Fire44.4k

Finest of the Tularosa Basin
by Jim_H

Likely In-Season!
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For as dry and alkaline as the Tularosa Basin is, the Sierra Blanca Mountains are a cool moist oasis. Volcanic in origin and nearly 12,000' (3 feet over 12,000 feet depending on your source) at their highest point, they are more alpine than desert and a stark contrast to the desert below. The Three Rivers Trail is probably the nicest trail to access the Sierra Blanca, and possibly the finest in the entire Lincoln National Forest trail system. You hike next to flowing water for nearly the entire length of the trail, and when you leave the water behind it is because you are climbing up to the Crest trail and through some very scenic sub-alpine grasslands.

The trail begins at the end of Three Rivers Road just beyond the regular campground. Passing by the group campground, you cross the creek and start up hill through some oak and juniper and then come back to hiking along the creek itself. Initially in ponderosa pine, you pick up Douglas-Fir and White Fir pretty quickly. Higher up, some of these trees are very impressive in size. The forest cover affords a great deal of shade. That and the smell of mixed conifers on a warm spring day is one of the great pleasures of this hike. Numerous creek crossing further in provide spots to filter water if you don't want to carry, and while there is the risk of the creek drying out, locals inform me that it never does.

Some of the more interesting highlights are water falls, or sections of water cascading over the exposed rock in the lower half, and the grassy slopes as you approach the Crest Trail. Wildlife is reports to abound in this area, and I saw a bear on my first hike here. It must have been use to people, as it could not have cared less about me after looking at me.

If you take this trail to it's end at the crest trail, but had no plans to continue on, you can rest at the saddle and enjoy some pretty remarkable views, or round out the hike with a short trip to the northwest and Whitehorse Hill, which is 10,255'. You can take the Crest trail to Ski Apache, or make other loops using some other local trails.

Please note that trail stats reflect the new guideline of one way statistics for a "trail". If you choose to connect to other trails, your hike will vary accordingly and your data should reflect this. If you choose to hike a round trip Whitehorse Hill Hike (my logical hike to a peak using this trail) it is about 12 & 1/2 miles and 3,800' round trip. Other options in the area exist.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2013-05-21 Jim_H

    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 $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Las Cruces, NM, take I-25 from it's birth and split from I-10 and drive north briefly to US 70. Take US 70 east to Alamogordo and continue through Alamogordo on US 54/ 70 after US 70 is joined by US 54 coming in from El Paso, TX. Follow US 54/70 to the town of Tularosa and take the left exit or turn, continuing on 54 north after it splits from US 70, which proceeds up to Mescalero, NM. Drive on US 54 for just under 18 miles. As you approach the obvious volcanic hills to the east of the road, look for the sign for the Three Rivers Campground and Petroglyphs. Turn east onto the Three Rivers Road, also known as FR 579, and follow this road which turns to dirt and continues to it's end at the trailhead.
    page created by joebartels on May 21 2013 4:28 pm
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