Where's the Trail in New Mexico?
The CDTS route is approximately 650 miles in
length in New Mexico. The designated route often tracks the Continental Divide
more closely, but it relies excessively on highways and roads and misses many
points of special scenic or historic interest.
The segments, as described in Guide to the Continental
Divide Trail, are:
Carson National Forest
route follows the eastern perimeter of the Tierra Amarilla Grant and then
continues south to Ghost Ranch. Recent improvements have move most of the route
to newly marked nonmotorized trails.
Santa Fe National Forest
Segment. The Forest Service has completed extensive relocations to new
nonmotorized trails. The San
Pedro Peaks Wilderness is the scenic and physical highpoint of the segment.
Piedra Lumbre Segment.
This is an isolated rolling section, on public lands administered by the
Bureau of Land Management. The New Mexico Mountain Club, in cooperation with BLM,
has done an outstanding job of marking an inviting trail location away from
roads. Water availability is a primary concern.
Mount Taylor Segment.
Most of the segment is in the Cibola National Forest, largely on primitive
roads. The CDTS route crosses the summit of Mount Taylor (11,301'),
the highest point on the trail in New Mexico. An official route follows the western flanks of the mountain. Water sources are infrequent.
Malpais Segment. The CDTS route traverses a portion of the Cibola
National Forest, crosses the Malpais lava field, follows jeep road through the
El Malpais National Conservation Area, and continues to Pie Town by way of
county roads. A few windmills provide water.
Tularosa Mountains Segment.
The route, largely on secondary roads,
includes both forest and grassland settings. There are several springs as well
as occasional windmills.
Wilderness Segment. The CDTS route follows deep canyons along the Gila River
and its Middle Fork -- both with innumerable fords. Floods resulting from
snowmelt or storms might occasionally give rise to hazardous conditions. The
route passes the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
River Segment. The CDTS route follows an eastward course, on Gila
National Forest trails, to the Black Range.
Range Segment. The CDTS route employs county roads and cross-country
travel on its way to the city of Deming. After leaving the Black Range, the
trail crosses open grazing land. The ruins of old Fort Cummings, where army
troops guarded the historic trail through Cookes Canyon, are of special
interest. Windmills are the primary source of water.
Mountains Segment. The CDTS route terminates at the Mexican boundary
near Columbus, New Mexico (a considerable distance east of the designated route
to the state's "bootheel"). It includes an optional trackless climb at the
southern end of the Florida Mountains, with opportunities to view introduced
ibex. Water sources are limited.
The designated route. (The
entire State. The northern New Mexico portion includes a route through the
Carson National Forest, as recommended by CDTS, but not yet officially selected.
The southern New Mexico portion reaches the Mexican border in the "bootheel.")
NM Map. (The CDTS route to the border at Columbus as well as the designated
route. This is the map that appears in the Guide to the Continental
here for Tom Bombaci's website
regarding the Trail in New Mexico. (It includes an index map showing coverage of
BLM and Forest Service maps, information about towns, and a great deal more
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