El Calderon, NM

Guide 2 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
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no permit
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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
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14  2018-09-06 jochal
Author jochal
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 22
Photos 1,884
Trips 563 map ( 2,785 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
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Preferred May, Jun, Sep, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:16am - 7:20pm
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smells like one would expect
by jochal

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.

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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2018-09-07 jochal
    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 $$

    Map Drive
    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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