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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.

El Calderon, NM

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14 1 0
Description 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Northwest
Rated
3
3 of 5 by 1
 
0
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 4.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,268 feet
Elevation Gain 340 feet
Accumulated Gain 395 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.58
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2018-09-06 jochal
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:59am - 6:10pm
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Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
The land of Fire and Ice
4.5 mi away
Zuni-Acoma Trail
5.2 mi away
14.0 mi
Big Tubes
6.1 mi away
2.0 mi
50 ft
Big Skylight Cave
6.5 mi away
1.0 mi
El Malpais National Monument Trails
6.9 mi away
26.0 mi
Zuni - Acoma Trail
7.8 mi away
7.0 mi
400 ft
[ View More! ]
smells like one would expect
by jochal

Likely In-Season!
Overview
A short distance from the I-40, this is a convenient way to explore the remnants of volcanic activity while enjoying beautiful scenery. The hike optionally follows part of the Continental Divide Trail. The trail is well marked, and there should be a free NPS booklet at the trailhead. The booklet is also available as pdf from the NPS El Malpais website.


Hike
Hiking the loop clockwise is recommended and probably most popular. Most of the points of interest in the NPS booklet are in the first half of the loop.

Junction Cave is the first stop, and was a significant part of a study of cave life. A short way up the trail, Double Sink are 2 sinkholes which are dramatically deep (80 feet). Continuing on, Bat Cave and Xenolith Cave share a depression in the soil, with Bat Cave obvious from the trail, heading away from it, and Xenolith cave running back underneath the trail (the entrance isn't obvious until you walk up to the depression.) The Bat Cave smells like one would expect.

After the Bat Cave and Xenolith Cave stop, the trail hits a fence and then follows the fence to the right. Lava Trench is reached right before the Cinder Cone. The Lava Trench is like a Lava Cave, but with a collapsed roof.

El Calderon Cinder Cone can be hiked by either doing a loop around the rim, or just going to the overlook and back. The overlook is just above the steps on the right. We chose to go left, up the switchbacks, do the full loop, and and return by the steps.

After touring the Cinder Cone, there is a choice to return using the complete loop trail or take a shortcut on Cerritos de Jaspe Road. Continuing the full loop is another 2 miles on top of the 2-2.5 miles already hiked, while taking the shortcut is only 0.9 miles. Hiking the full loop gives a longer walk through beautiful scenery, and the novelty of hiking for a mile on the Continental Divide Trail.

jochal
    buy a hikearizona hat now
    buy a hikearizona hat now
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Located 20 miles South of Grants, on highway NM 53. Exit 81 from the I-40, the same exit from Grants for the commercially operated Ice Cave, as well as El Morro NM.

    Also can be reached from Gallup by going South on NM 602 and East on NM 53.
    page created by jochal on Sep 07 2018 5:15 pm
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