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Dark Mesa Spur Trail, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 5,321 feet
Elevation Gain 50 feet
Avg Time One Way 10 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.17
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Post the 1st photoset!
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
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Preferred   Oct, Mar, Apr, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:52am - 5:59pm
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This is A Find!
by imike

This is a sweet connection!

Where Mineral Springs Trail (#5579)loops around the west side of the big hill right below the Water Tank and Springs, as you reach the south side of the hill, the trail turns sharply to the left and heads up to the Water Tank. At this point you have left the Beeman Canyon side of the drainages; to the south are the Lost Trail drainages.

Here, you could leave the trail and head out along the cliffs of Dark Mesa to the West… or… You could divert off and down on the use trail exiting to your right (south). This short Spur trail crosses the top of a drainage cut then turns right and heads out across the hillside.

Looking up, Dark Mesa Peak cliffs out dramatically above on your left.

You wind around on a very good use trail (…thanks to local mountain bike riders!) that eventually dumps you out over on the old Jeep track of the Little Mineral Springs trail. On some Topo Maps, that route is labeled as Rd 426.

Though short, less than .3 mile, this spur trail provides a great connection, allowing you to create a variety of nice loops.

Take the time to get to know this one... it will come in handy!

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

2013-05-24 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
    Dark Mesa Spur Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Linking up the loop I walked today made me realize I need to add in a couple more descriptions to cover some of the route.

    Well... glitched my right knee.

    Thought I could walk it out, but no... so, I can hike, at less than one mile per hour, unless it involves any uphill; then I slow down.

    Guess the next week will prove interesting. Oddly enough, just yesterday I plugged a couple of mountain biking days each week into the Calendar of events. Migt need to add a few more?

    Seven progressive months without a hitch... then... boom.


    Not the 7,000' AEG day I had in mind! :(
    Dark Mesa Spur Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I needed an easier day.

    Awake last night on the half hour… and that was after 2:30am when I first managed to drift off… but, out of bed before 6:30am… over to and on the trail before 7am. I thought I’d re-loop last weeks hike and snap some defining photos.

    Then, that odd impulse to head off to where I have not yet been… or not been in a long time, so I dropped into Dark Mesa Canyon and started enjoying that bit of off trail up to the “real” Mineral Springs Trail (the part that is no longer a Jeep route). From there I did cut across and over to the Spur Trail for the pictures.

    It looked as if the mountain bikers had been coming down Little Mineral Springs… made me wonder about a connecting spur from the top of that trail. So, up then off trail once again… rough route, but sort of nice. Not for bikes, but some potential for an upper looping connection to Mineral Springs above Dark Mesa Peak.

    I got pics of the peak and the mesa, as planned… and oriented the full length of the Mineral Springs Canyon drainage below the cave (…the spring fills and flows out of a cave that has been dug back into the hill). I’d never realized that that drainage splits the Basin, not flowing into the Lost Trail nor the drainages north of Dark Mesa. Interesting.

    I re-positioned an old forest service trail marker ½ mile over to the correct trail… it was the carbonite marker that once was bedded down near Indian Wells, where everyone parks. It had disappeared years ago… then earlier this year found it’s way half way up Little Mineral Springs trail. T5579... Mineral Springs Trail. I moved it higher up the route; ideally less prone to vandalism?

    Lots of pics to edit… then I need to hit a Hotspot for the upload to HAZ.

    Slow pace… cooler temps, and once it turned hot (sweat dripping off my arms and hands!) the soaked cotton T-shirt combined with a pleasant breeze to make it all just right.

    Thunderstorms predicted for later today… Fire Danger high… but, they have yet to close the Forest. Gotta like that!
    Dark Mesa Spur Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    ...early start, headed up and over to Dry Canyon, but on the way... both some energy issues and the thought of doing the dull, open Dry. And, I was staring up and over at the Dark Mesa, upper and lower. That had appeal. I made the looping turn to carry me over to access that ridge.

    It was a very nice hike... cacti blooming... shadows on cliffs... much like walking in and through a private desert park.

    I was surprised to find that the upper Mesa was really just a peak. Though surrounded by dark cliffs, it lacked the substance I was expecting to be the upper Mesa... and, it had a use trail directly off of the Mineral Springs Trail.

    Next, dropping down and past the Springs, I followed the real trail route down to the next pass and found access to the lower Mesa easy. I looped around the Mesa, noticing what appeared to be yet another trail down below and heading off to the south... it proved to be a great connecting Spur trail over to Little Mineral Springs trail. It was in great shape and covered with cacti in full magenta bloom.

    I exited LMS trail down at the Indian Wells, and went off trail over to Lost Trail Canyon, and looped back to my car in that drainage.

    It was not the harder day planned, but it was a great outing. New stuff... that seems to be what keeps me going of late. Now, for some stupid reason I did not take my camera along. So, got to redo the loop...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    You would use this connecting Spur with either Mineral Spring Trail (5579) or Little Mineral Spring Trail (426). It provides a shortcut route between the Beeman Ridge drainages and the Lost Trail drainages.
    page created by imike on May 24 2013 11:28 am
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