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Hillsboro Peak via Black Range Crest Trail

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Aldo Leopold Wilderness

Hillsboro Peak via Black Range Crest Trail is a 11 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Hillsboro, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 11.0 mi Elevation gain 2,099 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (37)
Photos (332)
Recordings (25)
Completed (57)
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Lauren Leander
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HikingGreat!

Gentle grade, easy to follow, fantastic views in every direction. Lots of new growth around burned areas. Great to see forest returning. Took two dogs with us and they did great. Trailhead says 5 miles to the top- 10 round trip. Cute little lookout house at the top.

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Mark Lusk
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Hiking

A pleasant hike from the trailhead to the Fire Watch Tower. Moderately easy grade climb in late October as the trees changed. Spectacular views both east and west from the ridges. Very dry this year as a drought affects the Gila. At the top you can see the mine by Silver City out west. The trail is non technical and hikers were few.

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Jorge Gonzalez
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Backpacking

Great hike! Life is beginning to come back since the big fire of 2013 and despite the devastation there are great vistas and important lessons to learn on your way to Hillsboro Peak. Trail is semi overgrown and pretty rocky so I'd recommend pants and good solid shoes. Finally, the trail has changed significantly in the last couple years and it's closer to 12 miles in distance (my more accurate GPS registered 11.6 mi round trip) than the 9 mi Alltrails describes. All in all a fantastic trail, really worthwhile stop in Gila NF.

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Bob Adams
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HikingGreat!

what a great hike -- 1 hr drive from my home to trailhead, on the trail at 7am, climbing in shade -- and such a gradual grade that on the way down i could almost jog -- no leg cramps from the constant tension going downhill on a steep grade -- and so beautiful -- big difference from hiking on unmaintained trails in southern arizona.

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Lindsey H
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HikingNo shade

My Garmin watch clocked this trail as 10.5 miles round trip, took me about 4 hours. Trail was easy to follow and in good shape, would recommend wearing pants as many of the vegetation you walk through has thorns.

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Ren Eide
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail, easy to follow. There are so many different biomes on this hike and to reach over 10,000 feet was very cool! Would hike this one again. Oh, and the snow has melted - dry feet the whole trip as of May 8th.

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Diane CLement
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Hiking

Fire tower, cabin and portapotty at the top are all closed to visitors due to COVID-19.

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Ben Roman
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Hiking

Trail is open. Only the fire tower is closed.

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Alan Gluth
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HikingBlowdownSnow

I hiked this trail on March 29th. The first 3 to 4 miles is gradual incline with almost no switchbacks. I actually missed the first real switch back at about mile 4 and went off trail a bit. While the trail is gradual most of the way, there are several trees down over the trail for the second half of the route. The last quarter mile of this hike is a bear, as you will be crossing over deep snow and unable to follow the trail. I tried to follow some other tracks and it helped some, but I’ll admit that traveling over the snow and ice was difficult and exhausting. I did make it to the top and the entire hike took me about 7 hours. Saw a large group of deer near the peak. Great hike, but I would call the hike hard so long as there is snow on the north slope of the peak.

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Edward Misquez
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HikingBlowdownIcySnow

Amazing hike despite conditions. Lots of blowdown and high winds. Towards the last .75 mile there was 2-3 feet of snow in some isolated pockets. Made for tough travel. Hillsboro Peak Lookout tower and surrounding cabins made for good resting spots. Mountain Lion scat and track was abundant on the trail. Advise hiking in pairs or with a weapon.

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Lisa Widmer
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HikingBlowdownNo shadeSnow

Alot of trees down on the trail. Snow is various area and slippery at times. High winds today for sure but that was expected. Sometimes when you look at the weather one needs to look at the all trails not the town because it was 15 degrees different starting at a low 21. Great day, may need to invest in some crampons for ice in the future.

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Ryan Griffiths
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Hiking

I had an awesome time on this trail. I hiked it by myself and saw absolutely no other soul the whole time. Great views, especially at the top, the entire way. There’s a cabin at the top you can stay in which I thought was pretty cool. I did the whole hike in 3hrs and 28mim. One thing is i clocked it at a total of 10.29miles, I stayed on the trail the whole time, and the elevation gain was only 1,900ft. Start in the morning while it’s cool for sure! Will hike this again for sure.

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Wade Mcmahan
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BackpackingBlowdown

Was a very great hike in. Very lush and green.

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James Kucera
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HikingOver grown

Awesome trail with beautiful views of surrounding area . Only made it about halfway due to a late start in the day. Will do again!

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Karen Cornell
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Hiking

Great day hike. Our GPS put us at 10.5 miles. Great view, very nice fire watchman at the lookout. Nice trail for taking your dog. Would like to go back and spend the night.

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Grant Smith
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HikingBugs

I was 90 minutes into the hike when I came across a cinnamon bear! The bear was in a tree 20 feet from me, and he scampered down and hid in the brush. I stood still for three minutes or so. I wasn’t sure if it was a bear or a cougar, and I was reluctant to turn around because it was a good hike, but I decided discretion was better than valor and I returned to the trailhead. Nice hiking except for the bear (or mountain lion).

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Tim Razo
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Backpacking

Super fun hike. My friend got elevation sickness towards the end. The rangers up at the public use cabin were very friendly and helpful. The cabin has a wood burning oven that's great for cooking and keeping warm overnight. Fire towers great for pics.

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David Baake
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Hiking

Really fun, but like one of the other commenters, I got altitude sickness. I recommend bringing some Peptobismol pills.

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Dina Pang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 22, 2018
Hiking

We took Black Range Crest trail 79 to Hillsboro Peak (10,000ft) which was 5 miles 1900ft of elevation gain , one way. We did this as a day hike which took us 5 hours and the dogs ran free off leash. What a wonderful trail with magnificent views despite burn forest due to the Silver Fire of 2013. The trail that runs off-camber either to the east or west of the central ridge. The incline is gradual. You keep walking on either side of the mountain range and crossing over saddles. This offers a different perspective of the range each time you cross over a saddle. About 3/4 of the trail is on the burnt part of the forest and is very exposed but the trail is well maintained. On the final approach to Hillsboro Peak, the last 1 mile or so offers plenty of tree cover. At the top of the peak is a fire tower which allows you to see the entire Black Range and you can see the Organ Mountains and Franklins in a distance. There is also a ranger residence, a pit toilet, and a one-room log cabin on the summit. The cabin is for overnight public use on a first-come basis. The Ranger was very nice who took us up the fire tower and pointed out the terrain surround the Peak. We didn’t see a soul on our approach to the peak. As we were coming down, we ran into a party of four that plan on spending the night on the peak. And as we approached the parking lot, a few families that were just exploring the trails by Emory Pass. All the parties we ran into had their dogs off leash and everyone was very friendly. Besides that, the rest of the hike was very secluded and quiet. There is another Black Range Crest Trail which intersects Trail 79 to the McKnight and Reed Peaks about 40 miles away. So this would be a great weeklong backpacking adventure, bagging a few peaks along the way. The Gila Forest and Aldo Leopold Wilderness is about 20 degrees cooler than El Paso and makes for a great getaway from the EP heat.

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Noah Patterson
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First to Review

Well maintained. Does travel mostly through a old burn scar, so be careful if it’s windy.

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Hannah Bassham
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Hiking
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Chris Francis
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Hiking
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Amy Dunn
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Hiking
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Stefan Zollner
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Hiking
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Steven Humphreys
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Hiking
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