[Cdt-l] hiking the Sangres - Northern NM Loop

Brett blisterfree at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 16 14:46:31 CST 2012

Why, it's just amazing what you can find when you search the cdt-l archives!


Also see here:


I worked on the route layout for most of last summer, which included tracing over digitized aerial survey imagery in the logging road mess north of the Pecos Wilderness and around the east side of Taos Pueblo. It should be a viable route, although you'll likely have major snow to contend with on such an early itinerary. Also, the dual fords of the Rio Grande are likely to be more of an ordeal due to snowmelt runoff. 

I had every intention of thru-hiking my proposed loop last fall, until contracting Bell's Palsy en route to Santa Fe. It's on my short list for later this year (the loop, not the palsy again for gawdsakes), though I figure I'd be remiss if I didn't offer it up to someone obviously sharing the same idea, pure and true (right?!).

PS - FYI - Access to the Valles Caldera National Preserve ("Baca Location #1") is restricted to guided trips only, with the exception of one or two short hikes at the southern boundary accessible from Hwy 4. It's pretty lame... also very open country with plenty of opportunity to arouse suspicion. I would avoid the area in favor of the spectacular Jemez River Canyon

PPS - Much of that area burned last spring, including the western two-thirds of Bandelier N.M. Proper access to the Rio Grande down Frijoles Canyon was inaccessible at last check, due to severe trail damage from flash flooding.

PPPS - Unfortunately, there ain't no good connection to or from the Grand Enchantment Trail, for anyone thinking of combining the two routes. The best route would've skirted the eastern boundary of the Santa Domingo Reservation, but the tribe now owns more land than is shown on the map, and it's all fenced and posted. Actually, there's one workable connection. Find it here: http://nmrailrunner.com/

All I ask of anyone opting to hike my route is to complain loudly in a public venue, preferably your personal hike journal, with explicit references to "Northern New Mexico Loop" and "blisterfree" as appropriate. That way I'll be sure to find your comments and feedback in order to improve the route for next time.

Happy trails!

- blisterfree

--- On Thu, 2/16/12, cdt-l-request at backcountry.net <cdt-l-request at backcountry.net> wrote:

For the Sangre de Christo range, I emailed the Taos Pueblo Tribe and
they said they would review my request. I haven't recieved permission
and if I don't I will avoid the reservation. It's possible to hitch
around to Red River then hike the road and hike up Wheeler from the
east side. It's a less crowded and more scenic hike. Or according to
some maps there are trails and roads that skirt the reservation on the
east side. It's a lot of old mining areas, so unmaintained paths are

 I've heard the same thing about the northern parts. My plan is to
resupply in Red River then summit Little Costilla, and then head out
to the road to Costilla, or take a southern route through the Latir
Wilderness and out to Questa.

I've heard of people in the Colorado section have issues in the past
with trying to hike the 14er (Culbera) that's there, but it sounds
like the ranch sounds like it's offering admission for a price:
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/ppc.php?peak=Culebra+Peak You might
contact them to see what they control and if they can grant you

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