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new mexico in late sept: best place(s) to backpack?
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Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
new mexico in late sept: best place(s) to backpack? on 08/07/2010 21:46:00 MDT Print View


We're going to be going to New Mexico near the last week of September. we'll have 9 days there, arrive friday night, spend sat and sunday at a car camp up by the CO/NM border with some friends, then on Monday are off to explore the state at our leisure until the next Sunday evening when we fly out of ABQ.

So.. If you had say, 4-6 days in New Mexico, where would you backpack? So far the skyline trail seems like a good option. But are there some incredible options we're not finding for that time of year (late september)? We enjoy hiking in places like the Wallowa of oregon, Enchantments of washington, Sawtooth in Idaho. I love ponderosa forests too..

I think we want to spend at least a day or two at the end to see places like Chaco Canyon, an afternoon-evening in Santa Fe, etc. I realize there are some big distances to drive between said places, but we'll work that out one way or another.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"new mexico in late sept: best place(s) to backpack?" on 08/07/2010 22:41:00 MDT Print View

I'd recommend the Gila Wilderness, it's my cup of tea for most multi-day trips in New Mexico, granted I'm a little bias with it's close proximity. However, to make the best use of time and avoid the 4 hr. drive south from ABQ, I'd stick up north in the ABQ/Santa Fe area.

I think your best bet for late Sept. backpacking up north would be the Pecos Wilderness area, especially if you're trying to fit in a day or two at Chaco Canyon and other stops near the Santa Fe/Taos region. The upper reaches of the Pecos will likely have already received a dusting or two of early snow, and the leaves will be turning a bright yellow, and the nights will be frigid, days comfortable. Pecos Baldy lake is a beautiful destination and completely doable in late September, there are lots of options for day hikes and extended loops heading out of Jacks Creek Campground area . The Truchas Lakes are within a few miles and lie in the shadow of the 4 remote Truchas Peaks which are about as beautiful as they come in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. In my opinion, the Truchas region is arguably the most beautiful, and very few people will be making their way up to that region come late September if that matters to you.

Also, consider the Wheeler Peak region.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
new mexico in late sept: best place(s) to backpack? on 08/08/2010 00:41:43 MDT Print View

My vote is always for Wheeler Peak. Skip Taos, except for the bridge. Try to do dinner in Santa Fe at Geronimo's or the Cantina at La Casa Sena.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
more questions.. on 09/07/2010 11:30:06 MDT Print View

So after talking with a few thru hikers I put some trail magic on, one from the Southwest, they said we should probably just stick with Northern New Mexico as no sense driving so far south when there is plenty of beauty in the north.

We've got 10-15 degree bags and both a double rainbow and a RAB Summit Mountain 4 season tent. What are thoughts on bringing the 4 season tent (in addition to the double rainbow)? Do people camp high on any of the mountains in the Sangra de Cristos or only in the cirques below mostly?

We also want to see some historical/cultural things while in New Mexico--based on my last trip there that was just a brief thing with a day hike or two, I visited Taos Pueblo, Bandolier, and Chaco Canyon. Is there anything else in the Northern half of the state that would take precedence over these? Bandolier was nice because there was a bit of a hike (small, but still something), Chaco canyon was incredible due to it's remoteness-but it is a minimum full day with lots of driving on both ends, if not more than one day by the time one hikes a while there and soaks it up, etc--I'm wondering if there is something else I could get into that isn't so time and location committing for a singular attraction.

As it stands we arrive on a Friday nite 9/17, saturday run some errands then head up to Chama area and camp with a family friend until Monday morning (I think) at Rio Del Los Pinos (creative name, huh?) doing some fishing there with them. Then we have until Sunday 9/26 3pm~ @ ABQ flying out at 6pm.

So, thoughts are doing maybe a 3-4 day trip, or multiple in-and-back over-nighters at various locations (like Wheeler Peak, Mt Baldy (I think?), Red River & Rio Grande Confluence, Bandolier?

Anyone have experience in cruces basin wilderness since that is very close? What would 2-3 days look like there?

Also, final question (and thank you for anyone patient enough to answer some of them!), is there a new mexico hiking forum? Washington state has Cascade Climbers/ Oregon has etc



James Castleberry
New mexico in late sept on 09/07/2010 11:52:47 MDT Print View

+1 on the recommendation of Pecos Wilderness/Truchas Peaks.
Drive to Jack's Creek campground. Take Jack's Creek Trail #257 to the lake. Beautiful spot to camp. Gorgeous scenery. Not too far a drive to Albuquerque. Definitely chilly at night at about 10,500.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Weather Question on 09/07/2010 16:02:13 MDT Print View

Since you guys are on the subject mind if I chime in with my own question? What will the weather be like in those areas in November? I know what to expect up in Colorado. Is NM significantly different?