DISTANCE
8.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,194 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

hiking
2 months ago

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.