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Cookes Peak Trail (Southern Route)

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1)
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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

67%

Runnable

8,221' 2,506 m

High

5,539' 1,688 m

Low

113' 34 m

Up

2,722' 830 m

Down

14%

Avg Grade (8°)

54%

Max Grade (28°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Geological Significance

Follow A019 north past the no trespassing and private property signs. These signs were put there by the "Flying U" ranch and can be misleading upon first seeing them. They are basically stating that you need to stay on the road until you reach BLM land.

Need to Know

Bring lots of water, you don't need a rope, and it's pretty remote.

Runner Notes

I would not recommend this trail for average trail runners. It's quite slow in sections.

Description

This is a moderately difficult run with a small scrabble in the final quarter-mile. This run is fairly remote so take your time and don't get hurt. I wouldn't recommend it for a person that isn't familiar with desert running or route finding. Also, be snake aware (year-round)!

Getting There

Follow A019 north past the no trespassing and private property signs. These signs were put there by the "Flying U" ranch and can be misleading upon first seeing them. They are basically stating that you need to stay on the road until you reach BLM land. Do not be dissuaded. Lots of people go drink and shoot guns on rancher's land and these signs are up to limit that type of activity, not to stop you from accessing the peak. It is a county road and you have a right to proceed (there are not any gates because it is publicly owned). The final 0.5 of the access road (after turning west off A019) requires an 4x4 drive vehicle. A 4x4 is not needed to reach BLM land, just be prepared to add an extra mile (round-trip) to the run.

The Route

Use the southern trail noted by a dotted line found on most trail maps which passes near Rattlesnake Ridge. I suggest downloading the map offline as there are a couple of spots along the trail which are hard to navigate without GPS. To reiterate, do not take the northern route, this on private property!

The Run

Overall, this is a slow run as the trail is not maintained. Be prepared for a 4-7 hour outing without any drinkable water along the trail. Be on the lookout for rock cairns. The easiest to miss turn comes when heading up the canyon as the trail is very washed out. The majority of the trail is scattered with rocks which slows progress (but not problematic). Upon reaching the upper ridge, the views are great on both sides of the peak and offer views up to 80 miles. The final scramble is straight forward, you do not need a rope, there are lots of holds and foot placements.

Final Thoughts

This is a great run if you have already explored parts of the desert southwest and are looking for a trail to get away from people. It's not going to provide the "spiciness" of summiting Organ Needle or other true Class 3 peaks, but it's a great run to feel like you're truly away from it all.

Flora & Fauna

Mostly desert terrain with small trees towards the top. Be aware of rattlesnakes!

Contacts

Shared By:

Bryan J

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Cookes Peak

#3658

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1

in Cookes Peak

#54

in New Mexico

#3,658

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37 Since Dec 6, 2020
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Summit ridge route
Dec 6, 2020 near Faywood, NM
Upper Scramble (25 feet)-rope not needed
Dec 6, 2020 near Faywood, NM
Example of trail conditions (as of Dec 2020)
Dec 6, 2020 near Faywood, NM

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