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.
- Closures and Notices
- Southern Terminus Shuttle
- Climate and Weather
- Mail Drops and Water
- Land Manager Contacts
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