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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.

Rim National Recreational Trail #105, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,841 feet
Elevation Gain 653 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,244 feet
Avg Time One Way 6-7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.48
Interest Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Post the 1st photoset!
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Up, Down and Around...
by imike

Likely In-Season!
The Rim trail has undergone numerous progressions and alterations since it's development. A section of the trail has now been designated a National Recreational Trail under the 1968 National Trails System Act, the first in New Mexico. The trailhead designation is for this section of trail, which begins outside of Cloudcroft at the entrance for the Slide Group Camping area, and terminates 14 miles later in Atkinson Meadows.

The Rim trail generally follows the upper ridge line of the Sacramento mountains, between 8500' and 9500', which also follows closely to the roadway for the Scenic drive of Sunspot Hiway (NM6563). This means that often the trail is not far from the road (100'), which provides numerous opportunities to access or exit the trail. This is a nice feature, especially for mountain bike riders who tire of the up/down, often deadfall obscured trail... they can always opt for the paved road.

There are exceptions, and the route does get away from the roadway, but never for very long, and even then there will be numerous connections to forest roads that could lead back out to the paved hiway. Major intersections include Karr Canyon at around trail mile post 10, Alamo Peak road at trail mile post 11, and Atkinson meadows at the end of the trail at trail mp 14.

I find the best use for the this portion of the Rim trail is as a connector... creating loops with the various trails dropping down from the rim in the numerous drainages, particularly trail #109 (Alamo Canyon) connecting to either Atkinson Canyon trail (#111) or Pipeline trail (#110)... driving out to access the trail at either Karr, Alamo or Ackinson Canyon roads. Some folks really enjoy the mountain biking on this hilly portion.

The difficulty noted is for the accumulated elevation gain for the full length hike... probably averaging only 150' to 200' per mile, but it adds up over that much mileage.

If you are staying in Cloudcroft and desire a nice, longer outing T105 may be accessed directly from the Village by making your way to the end of Curlew Place, then to the deadend of Corona (past the Gray Townhomes)... the trail will take you out NM 130, cutting through a tunnel underpass, then within a mile connecting with the old formal trailhead for the National Rec trail... very nice access for the mountain biking from town.

Trail #105 extends well beyond the terminus of the National Recreation Trail section, but is best broken down into this portion, typically called the upper trail... and the section of trail that includes the Solar Observatory at Sunspot and beyond... normally considered the lower section...

You will also note if you drive along the Sunspot Hiway (NM6563) that there are a variety of gate accesses that provide parking and entry to the trail. Pick your spot and enjoy the scenery. Though for the most part overgrown and closed in, there are a few long views down to the Tularosa Basin and the broad expanse of white sand down in the Monument. Often, you would need to leave the trail and hike a few hundred feet or yards to be able to see beyond the dense tree cover.

It is a nice trail... no a great trail. Does have the advantage of very little use. You will likely have it all to yourself!

Check out the Official Route.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2009-10-02 imike

    One-Way Notice
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Rim National Recreational Trail #105
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Unchip was not feeling well, and for good reason. We get together and hike each Wednesday. Last week while we were out enjoying the mountain, her sister was killed in a car wreck. She did not find out until the end of the day after she'd returned from the hike. I did not see her until this morning when she showed up for the weekly outing. It was hard to enjoy the great splash of color on top of the mountain... her mood was withdrawn.

    Color is close to a peak, but highly variable by area... it looks to be a pretty nice year, not the most colorful but far from the worst. I probably will miss out on the true peak, although we will be hiking from town up to the top of the mountain two weeks from now.

    Making very slow progress getting back into shape... I can do a long, slow hike, with the emphasis on slow. I guess I should be happy for that. To celebrate the slowness, leading a group trek on Saturday that is as minor as our hikes get: ten mile with 1400' of gain. At least it is off trail!
    Rim National Recreational Trail #105
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Would have scored a 26 mile day, but decided to show Heart Attack Canyon to Karen and Yubao... even though we only did one loop, it hit me hard. Aspens not yet turning, but color in some of the hardwoods. Yubao harvested 3 pecks of mushrooms along the trail, along with lots of antelope bones (skull, spine, hips today...)

    Karen was amazed at how steep Heart Attack was... fell once... nice that she had her trekking poles for the descent.

    So.. I guess progress is being made?

    Note: Rim Trail has been rerouted. It now moves around Atkinson Meadows instead of through them... and does not connect to the Forest Roads in that area. It winds around and over, not allowing the motorcycles to have any access around the Meadows area. It is a major improvement.

    Fun day...
    Rim National Recreational Trail #105
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    From yesterday's raging rain, to just some drifting clouds... a perfect mountaintop day! Temps in the 40's to start the hike, but slowly warming to the high 50's with a cooling breeze. Trail was not too muddy... a surprise after all the rain. Moved the mileage progressively up a notch. Wanted more, but felt 21 miles with the rolling hills and accumulated elevation gain was probably about right, especially after the fasting hike the day before. That one beat me up with the first canyoneering hit of the season with real climbs... so, this was enough. Next time up: 26 miles or more. We will cover the entire 30 miles of the Rim trail over three hits, out and back giving us 20 mile plus days each time. The plan is to switch to trail running once my weight cuts below 180... 215# today... so the 3 mile an hour moving pace was not too bad, all things considered. I logged a nice 4 mph mile just to see what it would feel like to stretch the pace; it felt good?!

    Now, Sunday log a 10-11 hour, slow paced day... solo?
    Rim National Recreational Trail #105
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Very slow progress, but progress none the less. Couple of good days: 5,000' with 19 miles and 6400' over very steep ten mile course. Ideally heading for that nice 16,000' day in another six weeks. Monsoon pattern settling in, so I'm getting to ice down beer with shovel scoops of hail. So goes the summer.
    Rim National Recreational Trail #105
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I'm camped out on the mountain for the summer... getting out most days. This first week has kicked my butt, being totally out of shape and not used to the elevation. Hardest day was today doing 14 miles with 3400' of up/down, including some nasty steep sections. The totals for the week are more what a good day should log... oh, well. The weather makes it all worth while... 70 degree days and 40 degree nights. I'm off the mountain for supply... heading back up for a two week hit, which ideally will remain the pattern for the summer.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the village of Cloudcroft, take NM 130 south toward Weed, turning right in 1.9 miles onto NM 6563, the Sunspot hiway. Within the first mile, pull over to the right at the entrance to the Slide Group campground, at the marked trailhead.
    page created by imike on Oct 01 2009 9:31 am
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