Three Rivers Trail is a 7 mile out and back trail located near Carrizozo, NM and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until November.
We planned to make a loop from the three rivers trail, to the crest trail, and then back along the dry canyon trail. We made it to the start of the dry canyon trail, but then lost the trail because of a lot of fallen trees right on the trail. We looked around for a while and ended up turning back and coming down the way we went up. If you want to do the loop, try going up the dry canyon trail and then coming back down on the three rivers trail. Once you get to the top of the ridge where T46 and T25 intersect, there is a sign and the trail is a little easier to follow.
Aside from that, the hike was great! The view from the top is good and the grassy hilltop is unique as well. It is a bit slow-going because of all of the creek crossing sand elevation change. I would suggest wearing pants because some of the brush is thick and there are some patches of nasty nettle at the top that will sting your legs.
We saw one rattlesnake and a few lizards but nothing else too exciting.
The trail is very visible through the woods and wide enough for two side by side for parts of the trail. The river was flowing but it wasnt very high. Apparently it's been a real dry year. We only did a couple miles since our youngest is only 2 years old. There are some bigger rocks along the ay that the kids climbed on. If they like climbing, they will enjoy the trail even more. I loved the trail alot though since I live in the desert and miss the woods and flowing water.
Went out to do this trail on Labor Day weekend September 1st, 2013. It has been fairly well traveled lately so following the trail was not that difficult in most areas. The tricky part is making sure to look for all the switchbacks that are throughout the trail, when the trail seems to fade look back and make sure you didnt miss a switchback. Started about 0830 and finished around 1530 or 3:30 with a lunch break at the top of the mountain and a few other short breaks. It was 5.70 miles up and then 5.70 back down so it was not quite 12 miles for me. It was an amazing view at the top of the grassy (meadow) hill with beatiful flowers in bloom all around. Will definitely do this hike again : )
13 miles approx. from the trailhead to the juncture with the Crest Trail at just a hair under 10,000 feet. The elevation gain from the trailhead to the ridge crest is about 3,600 ft. but with no particularly steep areas until you get close to the crest. Don't lose the trail thread here where it is barely perceptible or the going will be more difficult. Good camping spots at 3.0 and 3.75 miles (approx., measured from the TH). Strenuous trail because of the snow, ice, muddy conditions and fallen timbers across the thread, especially in the upper half of the trail (we were there in March just after a front had deposited a few inches of snow in the area). Also the water level of the creeks was low when we were there due to a low snowfall year in the Sierra Blanca and in normal years the melt runoff can add an extra level of difficulty as the trail crosses the creek at least 20 times. This hike would be a difficult one day there and back. You can also form a loop if you backpack all the way up to the crest, follow the Crest Trail north to the juncture with the Dry Canyon Trail and descend via that trail which meets the Three Rivers Trail at exactly one mile from the TH. Water is ample for about 90% of the Three Rivers trail.