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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.

Signal Peak Trail #742, NM

no permit
67 7 0
Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southwest
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,293 feet
Elevation Gain 1,680 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.5
Interest Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2018-04-09 rwstorm
5  2017-05-25 Nightstalker
17  2013-07-06 cindyl
5  2013-06-08 Pivo
12  2009-07-24 rwstorm
14  2008-11-03 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Aug → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:01am - 6:10pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
pinos altos, por supuesto
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Signal Peak, the second highest in the Pinos Altos Mountains north of Silver City, New Mexico, offers spectacular views of the surrounding area from its forested crown. This relatively easy peak bag is conveniently located for those planning a trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. A hike after monsoon season has begun will likely reward you with a wildflower garden at the summit. Be careful on this isolated peak if lightning is present in the area.

Hike: From the signed trailhead along highway 15, the Signal Peak Trail crosses a grassy cienega along Cherry Creek, then turns southeast to steadily climb a forested slope. The trail is a little indistinct at this point as it travels over exposed bedrock, but soon turns into a definite path.

Above Cherry Creek, the trail enters a side drainage, where it ascends a north facing slope of healthy fir and oak via numerous switchbacks. Arriving atop a ridge, the Signal Peak Trail meets an old road at the one mile point, which it repeatedly crosses while continuing to ascend the crest of the ridge.

At the head of the ridge, the trail bends south to traverse the mountain side, before turning southeast again at 1.4 miles onto a gently sloping bench of open pine forest. The bench soon transitions to mountain slope, and the trail renews its vigorous climb up the west side of Signal Peak. Small breaks among the massive ponderosa pines reveal the rolling green hills and valleys of the Pinos Altos range, now far below.

As the trail nears the summit, switchbacks begin anew, and a short spur trail to a conveniently located ledge provides an ideal lunch spot with an outstanding view. Stunted trees and a gentler slope signal the proximity of the summit.

Emerging from the gambel oaks at mile 2.5, the fire lookout tower comes into view, and the trail comes to an end at the summit of Signal Peak. The best views are from the fire tower, where one can see most of southwestern New Mexico, including the Chihuahuan Desert to the south, and the Gila Wilderness to the north.

From Signal Peak, one can return the way they came, or continue east along Forest Road 154 to other connecting trails.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-11-07 PrestonSands
    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
    Signal Peak Trail #742
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    after the rest of the week in the lincoln national forest, we headed back toward home via the gila, and a nice hike up to an active tower. we camped at poison ivy campground, oops - i meant mcmillan campground, just down the road with absolutely no camp-mates. cherry creek was pretty desolate as well. do the people in new mexico just not want to camp on a holiday weekend? and with only stage 1 fire restrictions in place, campfires in campground metal fire rings were allowed (but not easy, due to the damp conditions). very nice weekend outside of silver city! oh - and a post-hike meal at jalisco's could not be missed!

    can you believe it wasn't until around two miles in that we saw any flowers whatsoever? (flowers posted in this set are from the campground)
    Signal Peak Trail #742
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After camping with friends in the Chiricahuas for a couple nights, I rounded out the long holiday weekend with a swing into NM. I visited to the Gila Cliff Dwellings yesterday, then drove back out and set up camp in the Cherry Creek Campground just down the road from the trailhead. With camp so close, I was able to get on the trail first thing in the morning, but almost burned myself out on the steep ascent to start before reining my legs in to a more appropriate pace. I enjoyed the walk through the forest, and reached the summit and tower just as the lookout drove up, returning from his weekend off. He said he needed some time to prepare before he'd be available for a visit, so I decided to continue on and walked the Divide Trail over to Black Peak and back, which was a very nice ridgeline walk although Black Peak didn't offer much in the way of views with so many trees on it.

    I returned to the Lookout Tower and had a very nice visit with the lookout, who has had this tower for a long time and made the place his own with some gardening touches including a flock of pink flamingos in the yard behind his trailer. Usually when I'm in a tower I can pick out some of the landmark peaks in the distance, but this far from home I had no clue and when he offered to point some out I said, "Don't bother." After a while the radio chatter picked up and he had a phone call so I left him to do his work and made my way down the hill.
    Signal Peak Trail #742
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My employer sent me to Siver City for a short training session, and I ended up with a free afternoon. :-k Nearby Signal Peak looked like peak bagging fun. It delivered that along with sweet views, huge ponderosas, and nice autumn weather. Had a great hike in a pleasant forest untouched by fire. On the way home, I swung into the old western town of Pinos Altos to check out some of the historic structures. A few locals gave me a look that seemed to say "Who's that weirdo with a tripod?". Driving home on AZ/NM highway 78 that night, I broke out the big camera and did a few star shots. Great trip!!!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the junction of highways 180 and 15 in Silver City, New Mexico, head north on state highway 15 for 14.25 miles to the signed trailhead at milepost 14.25. There is parking on the left side of the highway, while the trail begins on the right. A trail sign is nailed to a tree next to the highway.
    page created by PrestonSands on Nov 07 2008 12:12 pm
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