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San Mateo Peak
2 Photosets

2019-03-23  
2012-07-21  
mini location map2012-07-21
44 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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San Mateo PeakSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2012
rwstorm
Hiking8.50 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.89 mph
2,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Original plans for the weekend changed, so I decided to do this hike after spending the night at Springtime Campground, which I got to via FR139 from Monticello. Coming in from this direction gets you some awesome views of the sheer cliffs on the south face of Vicks Peak.

The southern end of Forest Trail #43 starts at the campground and continues north across the mountain range to its other terminus at Grassy Lookout. I had hiked part of it last year when I went up Water Canyon over Blue Mountain to the Apache Kid Gravesite, just above Cyclone Saddle. Since I had already visited the other two active lookouts in the San Mateo Range several times, I wanted to check out the inactive tower on San Mateo Peak (10,139 feet).

The trail starts out in shade until a little past the wilderness boundary, then turns right and begins about a 2 mile section of steep switchbacks with plenty of sun exposure until it tops out on a ridge at the junction with Forest Trail #50. At this point you are a little more than halfway to the lookout and have finished the bulk of the elevation gain. The rest of the way is pleasant and in forest shade. It was nice to hike in an unburned area for a change! From the junction with Cowboy Trail #44 it is about a 3/4 mile side trip to the peak. I was unable to climb the tower as the lower rungs of the ladder have been removed.

The trails are very good and well signed. This is a rather remote range that doesn't get a lot of visitors. There was one couple at the campground besides me Friday night and I was the only person on the trail. I expected to see some people at the campground when I finished the hike since it was Saturday, but I was the only one there.

After the hike I headed east on FR225 to NM1, and rather than get on the interstate, I stayed on the old road right into San Antonio, where I treated myself to a double meat green chile hamburger at the Owl Bar (always one of my favorites). Then it was on to Socorro to get gas and ice. After a stop at another favorite, the Capitol Bar, for some good beer, I headed to Datil Well for a second night of camping. Yet another great day on the road! :D
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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