With fall upon us, or at the very least accelerating towards Angel Fire, I wanted to get out and check a few locations off of my summer exploration list.
At the top of my list was hiking on Clear Water Creek trail in Cimarron State Park. 2.3 miles each way and nearly 1500 feet of elevation change made this trail somewhat challenging, but boy was it rewarding.
I brought my pup out hiking with me, and there were a few spots that she needed to be carried. (She went swimming immediately before needing my assistance. Trying to carry a soaking wet and wiggling critter is a sight to see I’m sure, but it’s hard to be upset at a face like this).
One in particular was a large rock mass that was just too steep for me to feel comfortable even letting her attempt.
We completed the hike in about 3.5 hours, with some occasional stops to take pictures, romp in the water and appreciate some of the spectacular waterfalls. (Plus 30 minutes of resting at the top, the last half-mile is particularly grueling, and very steep).
If you haven’t been before, finding the trailhead might be a little bit of a challenge. From Angel Fire you drive through Eagle Nest, and into the pass. After the first hairpin turn it’s roughly 7 miles. On the right side of the road, you’ll see signage for the trail.
Once parked, continue up the road past the guardrails until you see a tree with water running the length of it. (This is the tree).
If you’re looking for a beautiful afternoon in nature, this is a great place to start. The first half to three quarters of the trail were fairly mild and accessible by people of all ages. Once you get to the last waterfall, you might consider ending your hike if accompanied by small children. (You’re not missing a ton by quitting a bit early).
The trail opens up at the “top” but without much of a resolution. The trees are still tall and abundant which obscure the views. There is a lot of room for exploration at the end of the trail, though. We poked around for a little bit, but didn’t find anything that made us want to keep climbing. (I was a little worried I’d be carrying a tired pup the whole way down if we explored much more).
Hiking in New Mexico is a great way to stay healthy and appreciate the abundance of beauty this state has to offer. Have you been out to the Clear Water Creek trail? Share your experiences (and pictures!) with us on Facebook.
P.S. – the Lodge is dog-friendly, so bring your four-legged-friends along for the adventure.