New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment

The Land of Enchantment offers many wonderful Trail Experiences! From the rugged Rocky Mountains to the desert grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert, the CDT extends for 770 miles through New Mexico, a mosaic of azure skies, adobe architecture, ancient civilizations, “Wild West” desperados and red rock cliffs.

The CDT meanders through some of New Mexico’s most spectacular natural and historic landscapes: San Pedro Parks and Chama River Wildernesses with dramatic mountains, mesa tops and canyon lands made famous by Georgia O’Keefe, the Rio Puerco wild lands, thousand year old Zuni-Acoma trade routes, the El Malpais National Monument badlands: one of the nation’s best examples of recent volcanic landscapes, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, the Gila Wilderness—our nation’s first—and ending at the Big Hatchet Mountains Wilderness Study Area, the stomping grounds of Geronimo.

New Mexico is home to the pike, pronghorn antelope, roadrunner, lizard, javelina and turkey vultures, as well as, pinon-juniper, ponderosa pine, cottonwood, aspen, mesquite, leafy aster, prickly pear, and yucca.

Scenes Along the CDT in New Mexico
New Mexico Featured Hikes:
New Mexico Specific Information:

Southern Terminus (aka Crazy Cook Monument) to Lordsburg, N.M.

The BLM amended the location of the trail in 2005 in order to reach the Mexico border without having to cross private lands in New Mexico’s boot heel. Since that time, ground-truthing and finessing locations has occurred, working off the amendment document which allows adjustments to the route in order to mitigate for historic or sensitive areas. The signs along the roads have been removed as preferred routing, more suitable to the criteria of a National Scenic Trail (P.L. 90-543), has occurred across open ground, including the point from the Crazy Cook Monument. The trail now commences north of there several hundred feet, off the national boundary fenceline inside of the 60 ft. Roosevelt Easement.

The entire official route south of Lordsburg was line-of-sight signed in May 2008. In most places, it is cross country with the best footing intended to become the path, although in future years crews are likely to clear a broader trail. In some places, hikers will walk on ranch roads or very old jeep trails, but there is very little overlap with recreational motorized use in this area.

You are strongly encouraged to use the official route! This region consistently catches even the most experienced hikers dry. By working with ranchers and locating water stash boxes at critical locations (where you provide for your own), opportunities will have been created for non-potable water sources every  15-19 miles. You are discouraged from the Old Hachita unofficial route not only because of trespass but also several dangerous mine shaft openings.

Everyone should be advised that this region is a high crime area for drug trafficking and can be dangerous. The trail has been located to avoid confrontation but with caution in mind the trail is closed to equestrian and mountain biking. Because of high speed travel, the Border Patrol has requested that hikers not walk on the roads. Do not rely on the good samaritan principal in this area, with ranchers or strangers!

This is an austere elegant landscape. Please enjoy it in a very prepared way. You can contact the Las Cruces BLM for trail conditions and water stash locations: (575) 525-4300.

CDTC Southern Terminus Shuttle Service: Don’t want to drive your own vehicle to the Southern Terminus (which we advise not leaving any vehicle unattended at the border) – use this great service during high peak seasons!

Directions to the Southern Terminus: (mileages are approximate)

Southern terminus travel: Traveling to the Southernmost Trailhead requires high-clearance 4×4 and takes two hours, one-way once you leave the paved roads.

1. Take Interstate 10 east from Lordsburg or West from Deming to Exit 49

2. Take NM 146 South to Hachita

3. Turn East on NM 9

4. Turn South on NM 81

5. Go south about 11 miles. Just before the curve in the highway, turn left onto the graded dirt road. All roads beyond this point are dirt.

6. Go 3 miles and turn right.

7. Go another 3 miles and turn left.

8. Follow this road around the base of the Big Hatchet Mountains for about 20 miles to a windmill (Mangas Well, named for Apache Chief Mangas Colorado).

9. From the windmill, go east 2 miles. You will be at the international boundary fence. At the cattle guard, there is a concrete monument commemorating the Crazy Cook who murdered someone at the site.

10. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail goes west, back along the road to the windmill, then proceeds northwest through the Big Hatchet Mountains.

FYI: signs are placed at critical intersections along the drive.

Reminder to New Mexico CDT users:

Please do not approach ranch homes for any reason. Frequent trespass by both hikers and illegal aliens have left local ranchers and landowners in an aggravated state, and our BLM contacts advise us that further complaints from local landowners could lead to trail closures south of Lordsburg. Please use the information provided on the new BLM website to avoid trespassing on private property. The BLM has placed water cache boxes every 10-12 miles along the official route from the Southern Terminus to Lordsburg and plans to have these in place throughout the summer. While water cache boxes and other solutions are being put in place, caching water is the only way to safely make this hike. Contact the local BLM office at (575) 525-4300 for recommended locations. The BLM and CDTC are working to establish the groundwork for a CDNST-friendly trail community in Southern New Mexico and local landowners are key to these efforts. Please respect the rights of private property owners along the Trail.

Weather patterns in New Mexico differ in important ways from those in other states. For example, many hikers assume that because the state has an arid climate, rain isn’t a consideration. Not only does it rain, but often does so with a ferocity seldom experienced elsewhere. The wettest months are July, August and early September. This New Mexico’s so-called “Monsoon Season”, when moisture laden tropical air triggers frequent, and sometimes violent, afternoon thunderstorms. Lightning associated with these makes summits and ridges especially dangerous, and flash flooding makes camping in dry watercourses unwise. In the high mountains, monsoon thunderstorms and associated lightning can occur every day, so hikers hoping to climb peaks or ridges during the monsoon season should plan to be off them by noon. By mid-September, the monsoon pattern usually has weakened substantially; by late September and October, the weather is glorious—bright, sunny days with clear turquoise skies, and cool (but not bone chilling) nights.

By November, higher elevations and the state’s northern sections become vulnerable to winter storms. Barring storms, winter can offer some surprisingly good hiking, especially in the state’s southern part. Snow rarely lingers, and because the general humidity is low, chilly nights soon meld into bright, warm days.

April, May, June and early July typically are dry. New Mexico also has a windy season, typically from late March to early April, when strong westerlies scour the state with dust and grit. Not the most pleasant hiking conditions especially in open, exposed areas.

Just remember, New Mexico experiences great variation in precipitation, and not just from season to season but from year to year. The winter of 1998-1999 was one of New Mexico’s driest ever, with almost no precipitation after November. Dry winters mean that some high elevation areas, normally snowbound, are open for hiking much earlier than usual. But severe drought also means that marginal water sources, such as springs and intermittent streams, will eventually run dry. Even worse, summer thunderstorms ignite forest fires throughout the state, and tinderbox conditions force forest managers to restrict public access.

Yet the winter of 1997-1998 in New Mexico was one of the wettest on record; deep snow pack made high mountain areas impassable far later than usual, water was everywhere, and the state burst into a verdant garden. The year before that was another drought. In planning your hike, it’s essential that you contact local land managers for current conditions.

(New Mexico
 CDT Mail Drop Addresses north to south)

Note – we are in the process of updating and verifying this information, so the accuracy of the list below cannot be guaranteed.

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office 199 W. 5th Street, 
Chama, NM 87520

C/O Ghost Ranch Conference Center 
Abiquiu, NM 87510

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office
 6358 Main St, Cuba, NM 87013

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office
 816 W. Santa Fe Ave, 
Grants, NM 87020

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office
 Highway 60 
Pie Town, NM 87827

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office 
7 Balke Street
 Reserve, NM 87830

C/O Mimbres Ranger Station
  PO Box 50
 Mimbres, NM 87830

C/O General Delivery
 US Post Office 
500 N. Hudson Street 
Silver City, NM 88061

US Forest Service

Carson National Forest
  Carson NF Website

208 Cruz Alta Road
, Taos, NM 87571  Phone: 
(575) 758-6200

Canjilon Ranger District

PO Box 469
, Canjilon, NM 87515
  Phone: (575) 684-2486

El Rito Ranger District

Jct NM 110 and NM 96
, PO Box 56
, El Rito, NM 87530
  Phone: (575) 581-4554

Tres Piedras Ranger District

PO Box 38 
Tres Piedras, NM 87577  Phone: 
(575) 758-8678

Santa Fe National Forest  Santa Fe NF Website

11 Forest Lane  
Santa Fe, NM 87508  Phone: 
(505) 438-5300

Coyote Ranger District
  Coyote District Website

HC 78 Box 1
Coyote, NM 57012  Phone:  
(575) 638-5526

Cuba Ranger District
  Cuba District Website

PO Box 130
  Cuba, NM 87013  Phone: 
(575) 289-3264

Cibola National Forest
  Cibola NF Website

2113 Osuna Road, NE, Ste A  
Albuquerque, NM 87113  Phone: 
(505) 346-3900

Mount Taylor Ranger District
 Mt Taylor District Website

1800 Lobo Canyon Road
,  Grants, NM 87020  Phone: 
(505) 287-8833

Apache National Forest
 (Note: Most of this Forest is in Arizona. The Gila National Forest through the Quemado Ranger District administers the New Mexico portions.

PO Box 640
  Springerville, AZ  85938  Phone: 
(928) 333-4301

Gila National Forest Gila NF Website

3005 E. Camino del Bosque
, Silver City, NM 88061  Phone: 
(575) 388-8201

Quemado Ranger District

PO Box 159
, Quemado, NM 87829  Phone: 
(575) 773-4678

Reserve Ranger District

PO Box 170
 Reserve, NM 87830  Phone: 
(575) 533-6232

Black Range Ranger District

1804 N. Date St.
  Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
  Phone:  (575) 894-6677

Wilderness Ranger District

HC 68 Box 50
  Mimbres, NM 88049  Phone: 
(575) 536-2250

Silver City Ranger District

3005 E. Camino del Bosque
  Silver City, NM 88061
  Phone:  (575) 388-8201


Bureau of Land Management:

Rio Puerco Field Office
 BLM Rio Puerco Website

435 Montano Road NE
 Albuquerque, NM 87107
  Phone: (505) 761-8700

Socorro Field Office
 BLM Socorro Website

901 S. Highway 85 
Socorro, New Mexico 87801  Phone: 
(575) 835-0412

Las Cruces Field Office
 BLM Las Cruces Website

1800 Marquess Street,  
Las Cruces, NM 88005
  Phone: (575) 525-4300


National Park Service:

El Malpais National Monument
  El Malpais Website

123 E. Roosevelt Avenue
  Grants, NM 87020

Visitor Information: (505) 783-4774

Visitor information: (505) 876-2783

Headquarters: (505) 285-4641