...Old Railway, New Crossing...
This lower portion of trail #130 has received a great deal of attention from the New Mexico Rails to Trails Association, but it has mainly been focused on the restoration/recreating of one of the stream crossing trestles, adapted for hiking, horses and bikes. The trail, though shown on MyTopo to wind from well on down the canyon bottom, and on up to connect with the upper portion (Grandview trail), in fact it does neither of those things. Certainly remnants of the old railbed are still there, but one of the major features of the Sacramento Mountains Railroad was trestles... lots and lots of timber beam crossings and drainage culverts, nearly all long gone since the abandonment of the tracks back in 1948. If you attempt to hike down canyon, there will be numerous eroded washouts, and intrusions of now private land. Hiking up the canyon is pretty good, connecting nicely up to a very intimate little waterfall, but then again there is a disconnect requiring some scrambling to continue on up to the upper railbed. It is planned to connect all of these sections, ideally from the base of the mountains all the way up to Cloudcroft... but, for now, plan on making whatever hike you want along this old route.
The Trailhead has limited parking, but the road is wide and sees little use; feel safe parking along any of the wider areas. The trail moves downhill, splitting and circling a small hill, rejoining on the back side, dropping you down to the restored trestle. From there, the established trail goes up canyon, although you can cross the trestle and venture down the drainage for a ways. Moving up canyon you'll hike well above the drainage at first, then eventually, drop down to the creek level. It is worth the effort to make your way up past the old abandoned homestead, and on to the waterfall. If you do not mind the bushwacking/route finding on up the hill, you can combine this hike with the Grandview loop, returning the same way or simply walking the 1.2 miles down the road back to the trailhead.
The mileage hiked in total will be dependent on the routes you choose, as will the total elevation gained. This is a little used trail. It makes for a fun side trip if you are climbing or descending the mountain on your mountain bike... and this smooth gravel road is a popular mountain bike route. As always, you can take note of the extensive efforts given by the local Rails to Trails group... you may want to consider checking in with them and volunteer for one of their monthly trail maintenance days...
Check out the Triplogs.
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.
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