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It's all about the End...
This hike is a meander through juniper, pine and scrub oak over a too oft used jeep track, now kept torn up with ORV use... but, it is worth the effort, and pretty much solely because of the views from the top of the Knob. There you will find you have a 360 degree view. To the east you gaze up at the ridge line of the Sacramentos, 1500' above you, with the Solar Observatory at Sunspot sticking out conspicuously with it's tall white spire. To the north you can see Sierra Blanca, the tallest mountain in this range. Looking far south you can glimpse the Guadalupe Mountains on the far south end of the Lincoln National Forest; Texas' highest mountain. But the drama all lies below you to the west.
Immediately off the ridge a hogback formation curves off and down into the drainage with impressive erosive spires, leading over to huge shiprock mesa formations projecting out towards the basin far below. The drainage winds down to the desert floor, ending in a section of the White Sands National Monument (not sure why... there is no white sand over here). Off and across the basin lies the southern end of the vast White Sands Desert... sprawling away into the distance and over to the mountains on their far side. It is a spot to linger and enjoy the spectacles.
Eventually, you will have to head back, and the hike has a deceptive amount of accumulated elevation gain through subtle ups and downs... but not enough to pose any real challenge. In fact, a much nicer approach to this hike is to drive up to the Solar Observatory and walk down trail #234...#234A to West side road, then walk the 1.7 miles over to Gobbler Trail (#236) rounding out your day to a nice 14 miles with around 2800' of elevation gain. Or, walk up from the desert floor... shorter than the Observatory, but with over 3000' of climbing. There are options.
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