Trail 79 follows the crest of the Black Range offering spectacular views of rugged canyons, the Rio Grande River valley to the east, and the Gila Wilderness and Mogollon Mountains to the west.
Following the length of the Back Range is an exceptionally rewarding experience. This trail is broken into two segments, each beginning at Emory Pass on NM 152. Trail 79 going north toward Hillsboro Peak is almost all wilderness and suitable only for hiking and horseback. It traverses the hightest peaks in the range as it follows along the crest through ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and aspen forests. It's about 27.7 miles from the trail head to Reeds Peak where it connects with Continental Divide Trail 74.
The segment of #79 that goes south from Emory Pass towards Sawyers Peak is 8.3 miles and terminates at Forest Road 886. This out-and-back segment passes through dense forests with few view points.
Springs on the mountain crest depend on winter snow pack. If winters have been mild, springs may be unreliable. Water can often be found by decending into canyons on any of the connecting trails. How far the descent is to water depends on how much moisture there has been. Water quality is not tested therefore it cannot be guaranteed to be drinkable, it is advisable to filter or treat all drinking water.
Check out the Official Route.
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.