Hillsboro Peak, part of the Black Range of the Gila Mountains, is one of the tallest peaks in the Gila National Forest. It lies within the first wildneress area in the US, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.
On a clear day, you can easily see Mount Taylor west of Albuquerque; on a REALLY clear day, you can see Colorado. If you've binoculars, this would be a great place to try them out.
We'll start at Emory Pass Vista (along NM 152) and hike up to the top of Hillsboro Peak, upon which a heliport/fire lookout sits. Since we're in the midst of fire season the tower may be open.
This area was heavily burned last summer during the Silver Fire (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3414/). Expect soot, burned trees, etc.
Food for thought, Philip Connors, author of Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Season-Field-Wilderness-Lookout/dp/0061859370/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367619123&sr=8-1&keywords=Fire+Season&tag=aflattrcomx361-20), spent most of his time in the Hillsboro Peak lookout tower.
If you are a guest of the United States (i.e. non-citizen), there is a US Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint demarcating passage to/from what the ACLU calls a "Constitution-Free Zone" (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone). If this bothers you, please donate to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/donate/join-renew-give) and harass your congress critters (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml); otherwise please bring appropriate documentation of your entry into the US (passports, visas, etc—you know better what you need than we do). Group hikes are not the place to make a stand for your civil liberties.
DISTANCE is ~10–12 mi round trip
ELEVATION GAIN is ~2000 ft gained.
FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
DURATION: Finish by mid to late afternoon.
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Bring a muzzle (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash), and if you'd like to unleash, ask others before you do so.
SKILL LEVEL is *NOT* beginner friendly. No whiners!
TERRAIN is on a well-maintained, but very rocky trail through very, very dry forest. There is a lot of fire damage.
WEATHER is TBA. Check the weather at the peak (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-107.77949&lat=32.95255) and the weather at the trail head. (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-107.76433&lat=32.91019)
ROAD CONDITIONS: paved the entire way.
AFTERWARDS is TBA.
MEET for carpool at:
• Las Cruces: 7:30 am, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/geo:32.35083,-106.76538) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.35083&mlon=-106.76538&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.35083,-106.76538&marker0=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18)).
• El Paso: 6:45 am, I-10 and Redd Road Kohl's, in the south end of the parking lot near Starbucks. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/geo:31.865651,-106.576615) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=31.865651,-106.576615&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.865651&mlon=-106.576615&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=31.865651,-106.576615&marker0=31.865651,-106.576615&z=18)). Leaving at 7a sharp!
• Emory Pass trail head: ~9:30 am. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/geo:32.91019,-107.76433) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.91019,-107.76433&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.91019&mlon=-107.76433&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.91019,-107.76433&marker0=32.91019,-107.76433&z=18)). Do NOT meet here if you don't know where it is!
• GPS track (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamasrepus/tags/hillsboropeak/)
• Hillsboro Peak on Summitpost (http://www.summitpost.org/hillsboro-peak/331555)