Guadalupe Mountain (Rio Grande del Norte NM) 28-Jun-2018

Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico

After our family hike to Big Arsenic Springs, I (at least) wanted to do some more hikes – preferably in the shady heights of the Carson National Forest. Unfortunately, the managers of that forest had decided to close it the next day ;to all activities – including hiking – due to the very high fire danger. There was already one big wildfire burning south of Taos, so they were just being proactive in not wanting to fight another human-caused conflagration. Still, the Carson covers much of northeastern New Mexico (and all of the area around Taos), so it’s closure pretty much ruled out any further hikes at altitude. We’d never experienced a whole forest closed due to fire danger. Deep, soul crushing, sigh. But succumbing to despair is not part of our program, so after a day of yet more art appreciation (and some craft brews), The LovedOne and I settled on a short hike (4.4 miles round trip; 1,000 feet of elevation gain) to the forested heights of Guadalupe Mountain (South) in the still open Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.  An old road took us from the trailhead to the saddle between Points 8722 and 8682 and from there a good trail took us first to the Guadalupe Saddle Overlook and then out to the Wild River Overlook (Point 8682). The views were good and the chance for one more stroll through Ponderosa pines was appreciated, so it was a good little hike with which to end our week in Taos and environs.

Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
One of the primary reasons the Carson National Forest had to close
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
The trail – an old road – begins with a gentle rise through a sage, piñon and juniper-covered landscape
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
The trail gradually becomes steeper and climbs into a Ponderosa pine forest
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Among the towering Ponderosas
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
After 1.5 miles, the old road ends at the start of a trail to the overlooks
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Toward Questa and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the Guadalupe Saddle Overlook
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Looking north to Ute Mountain from the Guadalupe Saddle Overlook
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
On the trail to the Wild River Overlook
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Looking toward Big Arsenic Springs (arrow) from the Wild River Overlook
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Looking north up the Rio Grande Gorge from the Wild River Overlook
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
Descending the old road through the pines
Guadalupe Mountain Rio Grande del Norte National Monument New Mexico
One last spot of beauty before we head for home…

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