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Sierra Vista Trail, NM

no permit
10 0 1
Guide 0 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southwest
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 26.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,359 feet
Elevation Gain 631 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,750 feet
Avg Time One Way 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 32.33
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → 5 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:49am - 6:14pm
0 Alternative
It be desert...
by imike

This multi-use Recreational Trail is restricted to non-motorized vehicles, and for the most part provides a great desert meander for mountain bike riders out of Las Cruces on the north end of the trail. Hiking seems a touch nicer when approached from the south end, Anthony Gap, walking slowly around and into the views of the Organ Mountains, first at a great distance, then as the day draws on, closer and closer. You never hike close or even into the foothills except when the initial crossing from the east side of the mountains over to the western side is traversed over a low pass. This is a desert wander. The first third is on winding jeep tracks, up and over various drainages, and unfortunately, along under high power lines. This 12-14 mile section is intersected by too many side road options, thus the 3 rating for route finding. You can either exercise lots of great luck or hike with someone who has done the route before, although the saving grace is to orient to the north/south high power lines; the trail is going where they are going. Unfortunately, depending on the recent weather, this section can include numerous sections of soft sand trudging. If there have been recent rains, consider yourself lucky and enjoy the packed track.

The next section is where the fun really begins. Shifting from jeep track to single track, now the desert characteristics get more interesting. Giant barrel cacti... lots of creosote... and the trails draws closer to some very interesting rock formations. The more dramatic of these, Pena Blanca, forms a focal point for a goodly bit of the hike. This portion of the trail is accessed and referred to as the Vado trailhead. This is a six or seven mile section.

The next section begins at the Mesquite trailhead, and the characteristics are much the same as the prior single track, with a bit more traipsing through a catclaw like hedge that would be impassable without a trail hacked through it. Rolling hills, spanish dagger forests, and ever closer mountain views make this a very nice trek. It is again six to seven miles before the North Trailhead at Soledad Canyon is reached.

The El Paso Ridgewalkers include this 28 mile hike as one of their annual event hikes.

This is mostly on BLM land (if I was told correctly) and there will be few people on the southern end, and possibly numerous bike riders as you draw closer to the northern end.

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

2010-02-07 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 Review
    Sierra Vista Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Of the 3,000 odd miles I might tend to hike each year, 2,900 of those miles are typically hiked solo, a pattern I've committed to correcting in 2010. In service to that new goal, I got up and out the door a bit after 2:30am, heading down into Texas to connect up with the El Paso Ridgewalkers doing their annual cross desert trek on the Sierra Vista trail. This meandering path starts down just north of El Paso and winds its way around a variety of mountains, eventually terminating up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Finding the unmarked southern trailhead was something of a challenge, but armed with some solid clues from one of the shuttle drivers I managed to arrive around 5:30am, first on site. The other hikers dribbled in over the coming hour, and we were off enjoying a crisp, clear, cold morning.

    The club breaks this hike into three segments... the first winding around the east side of a range overlooking the Fort Bliss military range then cutting through a low pass back to the west side of the mountains... mostly following old jeep tracks for the 12-14 miles to reach an interim trailhead. There, a few of the hikers opted for a shorter day and took advantage of the support shuttle ride back to their cars. The shuttle was carrying our extra stuff, plus serving food, water, and wine... interesting options for the day's enjoyment.

    The next leg turned away from the jeep roads and entered single track winding nicely out into the very varied desert landscape with both valley vistas and mountain accents. It was nice. This section was shared with a number of mountain bike riders out enjoying this sunny desert weekend day. After six or seven miles (hard to be exact with the constantly twisting trail) we reached the next shuttle connection, picking up some new hikers for the final seven mile leg. More wine, and though now foot weary being the norm for much of the group, everyone continued on into the final and nicest leg... which included odd dead grass meadows, giant spanish dagger forests, and miles of cat-claw equivalent scrub. Following an overly enthusiastic prior year trekker I managed to log some additional mileage when she lead me charging off trail up an old jeep track... fun, but given that I have not been hiking any long mileage in months, I my poor feet probably did not need the extra efforts.

    I had burned hot spots into the soles of my feet during the first leg, and knew that my feet would be torn up by the end of this day, but it would not be the first time, and I could tell I was not the only hiker feeling the effort. It was odd to think that just a few months earlier this mileage would have been a light effort day, but now, training more on the bike, my feet had lost their conditioning. Oh, well...

    At the finish, the wine expanded into beer, orange liquor served in dark chocolate shot glasses, and champagne... interesting mix, but oddly welcome. Shuttle drivers ran us back to our cars, and the long drive home wrapped up a day dark to dark... and, the year of living/hiking more socially has begun.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Directions: The trail is east and southeast, of Las Cruces. There are several trailheads. One is along the Soledad Canyon Road. From Exit 1 on Interstate 25, take University Avenue/Dripping Springs Road east for about 4.5 miles, then turn south on the Soledad Canyon Road. That road will turn east in a mile; follow it until you come to a parking area on your right. You can also access the Mossman Arroyo Road trailhead by exiting Interstate 10 at the Mesquite exit. Other trailheads can be reached by taking the Vado Exit off Interstate 10, and NM 404 at Anthony Gap.

    Trailhead: From El Paso, go west on I-10 about 2 miles past the NM state line. Exit on NM-404, turn right (east). Follow NM-404 east about 5 miles. At the top of the pass, look for a gate on the left, north, side of the road. Enter (CLOSE THE GATE!) There will be two fenced off gas pipeline compounds immediately inside, park there. The trail lies through and behind the fenced area.
    page created by imike on Feb 07 2010 4:09 pm
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