Your first decision: just how to access this pleasant Forest Road amble.
A simple approach, and one that starts from the base of Sawmill Canyon: park at the Inn of the Mountain Gods and walk out to the far end of the Mescalero Lake dam. Walk past the sign telling you there is no hiking nor biking, and up the hill to the east. You will pass out of the Indian Reservation as you follow the faint remains of an old logging track.
At the top of the meadow you will intersect with Forest Road 9017E. It is coming up from the entrance to Mine Canyon, your alternative start to the hike back down in Ruidoso. If you want to begin there, use the same access point used for the Grindstone Trail (91).
The referenced mileages orient from the Dam Start. You may log a mile getting across the dam, depending on where you park at the Casino.
Once on the old road, turn left and enjoy the gentle ups and downs and the partial shade as the road gently winds up canyon. Cross the little stream, turning to your right (left hits the Boundary Spur Trail)and continue on up past the next "T"...there, left takes you to the upper end of the Spur Trail; stick to the main road going up to your right.
The next intersection to your left will exit the canyon. It is yet another old logging route... and it runs over to intersect with the #22 Road, which either way you turn would carry you on to the Indian Reservation. Your Sawmill Canyon route is to yet again turn to the right and begin the steeper ascent up and on to Grindstone Mesa.
Before you reach the top of the plateau, the road will die off and you'll be hiking along the drainage off trail. Grindstone Trail (91) will be passing along the top of the ridge to your right... once the road ends you can move over and up to enjoy that trail to the top.
Once up, enjoy the Grindstone Mesa Loop (91A)... or the Grindstone Mesa Spur Trail (91B)... or just wander around the top of the Mesa.
You day can include a nice mix of off trail, on trail, Forest Road rambling... with a bit of game play at the end if you parked at the Casino!
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.
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