Backpacking in the Southwest

1:00 p.m. on April 27, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

A group of three friends an I are looking for a good backpacking destination in the southwestern US for late May and early June. We're looking to be on the trial for 5-8 days. We'd like to avoid snow, and find somewhere where water will be available every night. So far we're looking into the Gila and Pecos wilderness areas in New Mexico. Does anyone know any good routes in these areas, or have suggestions of other places to go?

12:23 a.m. on May 24, 2004 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
60 forum posts
Sorry for the late reply- been too busy to check the group...

There will still be significant snowpack in the Pecos in May and early June unless you stay in the lower elevations, which are not the best places to go there. I have two particular routes I love to do there, one is 51 miles, the other 45... One is trail 251, starting at Willow Creek on the east side and following the skyline trail all the way around to Santa Fe ski basin. If you only have one car, make a loop by comming down the Holy Ghost trail. The other is not a loop- start on the north at Trampas canyon, bushwhack the saddle to Rio Quemado and pick up trail 153 over the saddle to Truchas lakes (this part of the trail is not marked on the map). From there stay on trail 251 and end up at Santa Fe Ski area. both are big on solitude and scenery, but are only good in July and early September. Before July, and some years into the middle of July, the passes and high lake basins have a lot of snow. Beginning in August, the monsoon season hits and you have heavy rains every afternoon from 1 to 5 pm. This tapers off in early September and you have a couple of weeks before the snow starts to fly again. I have consistenly had good weather the second and third week of July.
The Gila would be your best bet for early June, but you could still run into snow this year, as they had some big storms this winter. The Leopold wilderness area and the CDT are very nice, but water can be a problem.
An area that would be nice in June is the Jemez mountains and Bandelier Natl Monument. Very much desert, but lots of cliff dwellings and high volcanic mesas.. you can piece together a nice route from Bandelier to Battleship rock that has some incredible scenery and some excellent trout fishing on the Jemez river. Valle Grande is a view not to be missed, but it is private land (though the forest service might have purchased it by now, they were talking about it when I left 3 years ago)
Further south and east, the White mountain wilderness area by Ruidoso (Lincoln Natl forest) is another area that would be good in June.

Quote:

A group of three friends an I are looking for a good backpacking destination in the southwestern US for late May and early June. We're looking to be on the trial for 5-8 days. We'd like to avoid snow, and find somewhere where water will be available every night. So far we're looking into the Gila and Pecos wilderness areas in New Mexico. Does anyone know any good routes in these areas, or have suggestions of other places to go?

August 23, 2014
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