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Catwalk National Recreation Trail

Extremely Difficult


2.7 mile 4.3 kilometer point to point
83% Runnable
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 876' 267 m
Descent: -330' -101 m
High: 5,706' 1,739 m
Low: 5,154' 1,571 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 55% (29°)


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Trail shared by Matt Freeman


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The Catwalk trail can be an easy 1-mile out-and-back, or explore the canyon to see some great views of rocks and trees.

Matt Freeman

Features Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

This is a U.S. Fee and Day Use Area.


Begin this trail with a brief review of the information and warning signs at the trailhead. The area close to the trailhead has numerous picnic areas dispersed in the canyon.

After a short distance leading to a steel bridge, choose the ADA trail by crossing the bridge, or remain on the trail and get a bit more exposure to steep grades and a narrower trail. The two trails quickly merge in the canyon on the elevated catwalk trail.

The reconstructed catwalk trail ends at a half mile. Drop down to the riverbed and begin making your way upstream. Look for the sections of the trail that still remain. Some segments are washed out, and it's necessary to drop down to the stream bed to continue. The trail crosses Whitewater Creek once. Depending on the amount of water, wade, hop, or find a log to cross.

As you wander up the creek, notice the evidence of steel anchors used to attach the pipelines to the walls of the canyon.

Eventually, climb out of the stream bed and find a trail intersection Gold Dust Trail #41. This is where the canyon opens up a bit and the trail is much easier to follow, although the trail does not appear to be maintained. Follow the trail up the creek to experience a remarkable diversity of plants and trees. The trail is marked with flagging and a few cairns.

The last segment appears to be an old roadbed, perhaps used to haul supplies to construct the pipeline from the upper segment of the canyon. I turned around at a large washout stream bed. Clearly there is plenty more canyon to explore for the curious cat.

Flora & Fauna

The upper canyon is a cool arboretum. Juniper, Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Sycamore trees, Pinion trees, Oak, and Live Oak, bunch grass, a variety of cactus and succulents, and other unknown shrubs and forbs.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes


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in New Mexico


4 Views Last Month
157 Since Mar 1, 2018
Extremely Difficult



A view of the elevated section of the rebuilt Catwalk trail.
Feb 28, 2018 near Reserve, NM
Catwalk Trail.
Mar 2, 2018 near Reserve, NM
Here is a segment of the no longer maintained Catwalk trail, still easy to hike, with a bit of caution.
Feb 28, 2018 near Reserve, NM
Catwalk Trail.
Mar 2, 2018 near Reserve, NM
Catwalk Trail.
Mar 2, 2018 near Reserve, NM
View of the catwalk.
Mar 17, 2018 near Reserve, NM


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