Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
What To Do On A Beautiful Saturday in Fall?
One beautiful Saturday in early October we were looking for a way to spend some time outdoors. We were headed up to the small “wild-west” community of Red River, NM, later that day as they were holding their Oktoberfest Celebration but we wanted to find a hike to enjoy the beautiful color and mild weather before reaching Red River. On our way north, we passed by a lovely wooded area called Columbine Canyon. Noting there was a trailhead sign, we stopped and checked it out.
We walked through a lovely campground to find the trailhead. Listed as a five mile trail (actually 5.3 miles in length), we began following the path as it wound through the forest and crossed the same creek (Columbine Creek) a number of times. The first four crossings were covered by lovely wooden bridges but we were warned that for later crossings, we would be on our own. However, as we came to these sections, for each some kind thoughtful soul had strategically placed rocks or logs so every transition, even that in which Columbine Creek joined Deer Creek, was made with nary a wet foot.
The trail is described in local literature as following Columbine Creek and passing through several open meadows. It was also noted that the trail may become overgrown through the meadows, but we were advised to continue south and look for small cairns marking the way as we reentered the conifers. The trail was very well marked for just about the entire length we hiked, only becoming a bit more difficult to follow as we neared our turn around point, but the cairns made even that section quite easy to find.
The hike was unusual in the beautiful and varied terrain it covered. The trail traversed rocky ledges, followed the course of a rocky cliff, contained a few heavily wooded sections, past several aspen groves and through a number of mountain meadows lined with aspen quaking in the breeze. The trail was as varied as any I have ever seen. It was made all the more lovely by the golden leaves of the turning aspens, changing color and carpeting the forest with yellow gold as we hiked.
The one question that remains about this trail is that we covered the most upward portion in the first two miles, in less than an hour. The next cross point was to come approximately 1.4 miles further along and we hiked an additional 90 minutes but never reached it. We ultimately decided to turn back without completing the trail, but found it so pleasant and enjoyable that we plan to return another day just to finish the hike.
Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.
Last 5 posts by Diane Berry
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