Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

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derpsquad
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Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by derpsquad » May 08 2019 12:23 pm

Hi Everyone,

Planning a trip May 23 - May 28 and looking for backpacking loop recommendations. I have hiked a good amount of the southern portion of Gila NF and am hoping to explore some more northern parts of the forest. I see a good amount of trails off highway 180 and 159 but not much information out there on them. Specifically water availability and trail conditions.

If anyone has experience in the Mogollon mountains area I am all ears. Also, I see that the Middle and West fork trails go all the way up to 159. Does anyone have experience on the northern sections of these as I would also consider loop options around those.

Thanks so much!

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azbackpackr
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by azbackpackr » May 09 2019 4:42 am

Due to there having been many big fires, and the fact that you're talking about going out there early in the season, I would call the ranger district to find out trail conditions. Having to negotiate hundreds of fallen trees can really take the fun out of a hike. I've hiked only the 25-mile Whitewater Creek to South Fork loop, starting at the Catwalk. This was back in 2011, before the fire went through there. If it were me, I'd find out which trails are going to be worked on by a crew this year, and which trails the ranger recommends as being easily hiked.
Last edited by azbackpackr on May 09 2019 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by whereveriroam » May 09 2019 5:49 am

Check the Gila NF website. Look under recreation and then hiking/backpacking, scroll to bottom of page. For the past few years that forest has been giving summaries of trail work that they have done. What a concept!

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derpsquad
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by derpsquad » May 09 2019 8:42 am

@whereveriroam, those maps are awesome! I never knew they existed. I think by combining those and calling the ranger as @azbackpackr suggests I should be able to piece together something.

Still on the lookout for someone who has done a good loop in this area. More suggestions and comments are appreciated.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by azbackpackr » May 10 2019 6:12 am

@derpsquad
I have a Falcon guidebook that has some amazing-looking loops in it, (written before all those fires.) There's also a backpacker map, I don't have it handy, that shows loops. Can't remember the publisher's name, but I bought it at REI. I just never got around to doing more than that one loop I mentioned. Living in the White Mtns. back then, I had plenty there to explore, and could usually do only one- or two-night backpacks, or day hikes, due to onerous job. So, that's my excuse. Lived nearby, didn't go to the Gila much. You're putting ideas in my head, because I do have time this summer. Was going to go to the Sierras, but the Gila is closer. Let us know what you come up with. I do know that @Jim_H did a nice one a few years ago. Maybe he'll chime in.
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by RedRoxx44 » May 10 2019 12:43 pm

"Hiking New Mexico's Gila Wilderness" is the Falcon guide by Cunningham and Burke. It's pretty good but as has been said pre- fire. I hiked a few years back in the Whitewater Baldy, Redstone area that was heavily impacted by fire. Besides being ugly in part, some rough trail conditions and lots of downed trees. Could be cleaned up now, there were some green stands left near the creek bottom. I think checking with the ranger station is your best bet at this time. I have hiked the big loop of the Gila Forks a lot of that should be good up the middle and down the west fork. But that was quite a few years ago.

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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by nonot » May 10 2019 7:54 pm

I have been doing research as was thinking of going in spring but changed to a summer trip. Basically - most things to the south/west of the west fork of the gila river has burned, as well as everything within about 4 miles of Mogollon Baldy Peak. That said, you can see from the trail maps which trails they have worked on to restore, and which they have abandoned via the forest service website. The one exception to the above summary is West Fork 151 that is north of the west for of the gila riverfor the 2 miles between aspen mtn 814 and Cooper, which is heavily damaged.

Even though they burned, some trails like the little creek, have been restored, and the original western 4 miles of the ring canyon trail was abandoned but they built a new one with the same name a mile to the north. Sycamore Camp and Trail Canyon Trail no longer exist.
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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by BrettVet » May 14 2019 9:39 am

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 606330.pdf is a good 2018 forest service reference guide for trail conditions. That said 2 years ago did the upper section of the middle fork trail from snow lake and it was darn near impassable with log jams from flash flooding.

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Re: Gila NF near Alma, NM / Mogollon mtns

Post by nonot » May 19 2019 6:18 pm

@BrettVet
Your comment concerned me, so I have looked into it. As far as my research shows, this portion of the CDT (middle fork from snow lake on down) appears to have been fully logged of all the debris and fallen trees. While I cannot confirm this in person, I plan to do so in about a month! (And would have altered my trip if indicated otherwise.) It is a bit of a confusing situation because the FS website doesn't mention this trail either way. My guess is the CDT trail crews are the ones doing the maintenance... That said, I do think there could be a few problems since you are far from civilization, but it shouldn't be a matter of crawling over trees nonstop.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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