San Mateo Peak Day Hike, Apache Kid Wilderness, New Mexico

Jornada Hiking & Outdoors Club
Jornada Hiking & Outdoors Club
Public group

Springtime Campground

FR 225 · Cibola NF, NM

How to find us

Take I-25 north past T or C to exit 100, the Red Rock exit. Turn right or north on the access road on the west side of the freeway. Follow it north to FR 225. Follow FR 225, a dirt road, for 13.5 miles to Springtime Campground

Location image of event venue


The Apache Kid Wilderness contains 44,650 rugged acres within the San Mateo mountains of the Cibola National Forest in south/central New Mexico. 10,139 foot San Mateo peak lies within the heart of the wilderness.

This hike begins at Springtime Campground at the south-end of the Apache Kid Trail #43. Our route will take us up and into a cool, dense, sub-alpine forest of spruce, fir, and aspen. At 3.25 miles we link up with the Cowboy Trail #44 which we follow to the peak. At the large, flat summit there is a 60-foot fire look-out and forest service cabin along with awesome views of the surrounding Cibola National Forest, and San Mateo mountains.

Hike Rating: Strenuous

Length: 8 mile round-trip

Elevation Gain/Loss: 2800 ft.

All water must be carried for this hike. There is a spring, San Mateo Spring, located just before the summit but its flow is erratic and unreliable.

As always come prepared for the possibility of adverse weather conditions.

El Paso hikers wanting to carpool please meet at the Starbucks/Kohls parking lot at 6:30am. I plan on leaving at 7am. Las Cruces hikers please communicate with each other for carpooling. Or anyone attending can drive up on their own and make their own arrangements. It's about a 2.5 hour, 120 mile drive from Cruces, to a 3 hour, 160 mile drive from EP to Springtime Campground. A passenger car, with careful maneuvering, should be able to drive the dirt road to the trail-head. That said, a high clearance vehicle is preferable because of several drainage arroyos that must be negotiated along the 13 mile dirt road. I'm planning on a 9:30 to 10am start to this outing.

Please make sure you have a full tank of gas.

The fire lookout on San Mateo Peak