Ruidoso, NM Hiking

9:38 a.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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The wife and I are headed to Ruidoso on Thursday.  Just wanted someone's opinion on what they feel is one of the most scenic hikes in the Lincoln forest.  We are planning to hike up Lookout mountain just below the summit of Sierra Blanca.  Thoughts?  The monsoon is in swing so we plan on hiking in the morning hours only.

1:59 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Listen to the local radio (christian stations) for an announcer named Harvey Twite. He may be able to help you out. Tell him I sent you.

9:29 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the reply.  Actually we just returned from there.  We hiked to the top of Lookout Mountain at the Ski Apache complex via trail 15, 25 (which is the Crest Trail) and 78.  Then we rode the gondola back down due to fast approaching thunderstorms.  It was real pretty and the weather in the morning was perfect.  Easy trails compared to some of the ones we hiked in Colorado.  The forest service does a great job of maintaining those trails.

1:39 p.m. on October 9, 2011 (EDT)
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We did the 15, 25, and 78 hike as posted above and I wanted to update those that decide to go with that route.  I also found some details online here:

http://www.ruidoso.net/visitors/outdoors/trailheads/scenic.html#15

First, the hike is beautiful and the weather is fantastic this time of year. Be prepared for slippery/icy terrain during the climb if you go later than mid October.  We completed this yesterday and were surprised to find several frozen patches along the trail.

As indicated in the above link, there is camping along Crest Trail, #25.  It is also well traveled, as we met several friendly hikers (around 12) along the way.  If you hike in and establish camp, your mileage may vary with the water at Ice Spring; it was not flowing yesterday and we found only a few, very small pools of stagnant water.

Lastly, there is an ambiguous fork in the trail near Ice Spring.  If you stay forward on the trail, you'll end up at Ice Spring (100yds, unmarked.)  This fork is pictured below:


crest_trail_fork.JPG

You'll need to turn right at this fork (or about 20yds up the trail) and ascend the mountain side to access the camping on the upper ridge and Lookout Trail (#78) beyond.  The view up the right fork is pictured below:


crest_trail_fork_east.JPG

The signpost simply reads "Crest Trail, #25," with no indicative arrows.

We had a great time and I'd encourage any one travelling in the area to check this hike out.  The most difficult segment is Crest Trail and it was slow going for about a mile, but the finale of Lookout Trail was absolutely beautiful.  Here's a quick video (11s) of us in a quiet, ascending segment of Crest Trail if you're interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_kDt6OnLLg

Thanks and good luck to you!

December 18, 2014
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