Magdalena Mountains Hike

We aren’t sure what to call the trail that we hiked recently in the Magdalena Mountains, but we both agreed that we never would have made it to our desired destination at the top of the ridge if we hadn’t had each other to provide encouragement.  There isn’t a lot of documentation for hikes in the Magdalena’s but we had stopped at the ranger station and had a vague idea that it would be all uphill from the Hop Canyon trailhead to the point that our map showed Trail 25, aka Hop Canyon Trail, intersecting Trail 8.  What we weren’t expecting was 5 miles of climbing from a start of 7700 feet to a high point of 9800 feet.

Here is an interactive map, showing the track of our hike.

To get to the trailhead it’s a one-hour drive south of Albuquerque to Socorro, NM, then 25 miles west on Highway 60 to the town of Magdalena, which is at the base of the northern end of the Magdalena Mountains. Then you drive about 10 miles up into the mountains on Hop Canyon Road to reach the trailhead.

We like the Magdalena Mountains because not many people hike there and they are surprisingly beautiful considering they are surrounded by so much flat, uninhabited desert. We had made a trip there in March and hiked up a canyon on the eastern side, approaching the ridge between South Baldy and North Baldy. But we gave up before we actually reached the ridge. That was part of the challenge for completing Trail 25 because it would take us to the ridge that we hadn’t conquered in March.

Starting point.
Starting point.
We were fooled at this point. We thought our destination was the ridge ahead but turns out there was much more hiking to another ridge behind that one.
We were fooled at this point. We thought our destination was the ridge ahead but turns out there was much more hiking to another ridge behind that one.
Looking north. The town of Magdalena is down at the base of the mountains.
Looking north. The town of Magdalena is down at the base of the mountains.
Resting in the shade of a nice, big alligator juniper tress.
Resting in the shade of a nice, big alligator juniper tree.
The halfway point. A brochure from the ranger station showed the Hop Canyon trail was 2.5 one-way, but somebody was confused because there was still 2.5 miles to go before getting to the ridge.
The halfway point. A brochure from the ranger station showed the Hop Canyon trail was 2.5 one-way, but somebody was confused because there was still 2.5 miles to go before getting to the ridge.
IMG_20160609_113314147
Lee just kept on trudging along.
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There were a few aspens at the higher elevations.
View of South Baldy, highest point in the Magdalena's at 10,700 feet.
View of South Baldy, highest point in the Magdalena’s at 10,700 feet.
Lots of Ponderosa Pine.
Lots of Ponderosa Pine.
Looking east from the ridge towards Socorro, which is behind the small mountain.
Looking east from the ridge towards Socorro, which is behind the small mountain.
The flowers look like phlox, but not the leaves. They were abundant on the top of the ridge.
The flowers look like phlox, but not the leaves. They were abundant on the top of the ridge.
Forest fires in the San Mateo Mountains to the southwest of the Magdalena's.
Forest fires in the San Mateo Mountains to the southwest of the Magdalena’s.
Cute little cactus flower.
Cute little cactus flower.
Thunderclouds and a few rumbles on the way down but didn't develop into any rain.
Thunderclouds and a few rumbles on the way down but didn’t develop into any rain.
Are you coming?
Are you coming?

Author: bjregan

Enjoying retirement activities. Main goals for retirement are to stay spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

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