Late spring hikes in the southwest

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 26 - December 2, 1998
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Late spring hikes in the southwest

Late spring hikes in the southwest

By Amy Marr

Question: My best friend from California and I want to do a two-day hike in late March or early April. We’d like to meet mid-way (I’ll be coming from Kentucky) and were thinking of New Mexico. Can you suggest a good hike, and what will the weather be like that time of year? Thanks.

John Tracy
Florence, Kentucky

Visit the funky mining town of Bisbee after hiking in Arizona
Adventure Adviser: I’d suggest meeting in either New Mexico or Arizona. March/April can still be somewhat wintry in northern New Mexico, but you’ll probably be fine if you stay at the lower elevations. My advice? Head to Bandelier National Monument, about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe, and hike into the park’s 23,000 acres of backcountry wilderness. An excellent choice is the Middle Alamo/Yapashi/Upper Alamo trail, which starts and finishes in Frijoles Canyon. The two-day loop covers 18 miles and meanders by deep canyons, along pinon-juniper mesas and through thick groves of ponderosa. You’ll also have a chance to explore the unexcavated pueblo of Yapashi. I’d suggest pitching your tent in the bottom of Capulin Canyon, about eight miles from the trailhead. The second day you’ll be hiking streamside much of the way. Call Bandelier (505-672-3861) for a weather and trail update. Either pre- or post-hike, spend a couple days in Santa Fe or Taos, load up on Frito pie, and head to the slopes for some spring skiing.

If you’d rather meet in Arizona, check out Chiricahua National Monument (520-824-3560), in the southeast corner of the state. Springtime in the Chiricahuas is sunny and dry — hike amongst the Zion-like rock spires by day, then sleep under the desert stars. Nearby Bisbee is a funky mining town worth a visit.

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