Last time we're doing Signal Peak this year—promise! Unless we find more interesting trails to explore…
This trail is one of the segments of one of the Continental Divide Trail routes going through the area (I believe it is section 8, which comes down from the Gila Cliff Dwellings to Pinos Altos).
There's an trail coming down Signal Peak along a ridge to the Arrasta Site just north of Pinos Altos. I want to see where it goes! Apparently, it's part of the BLM-sanctioned Continental Divide Trail A forest service staff member mentioned that it was some 8 mi, which with the hike to the top of Signal Peak means a pleasant 10.5 mi walk in the forest. The hike is point to point, so we will need a shuttle between locations. The path is indicated on USGS topographic maps, which I've traced in the map below, along with definitive start and end points. If you've a GPS unit, please download this data into it.
We'll park a car at the Arrastra site, shuttle and start at the trail head for Signal Peak, take the Signal Peak trail up, then follow the trail coming down to the Arrastra Site.
A clarification on what exploratory means: I know where the trail starts, ends, and have a good idea of what's in-between, but otherwise it's officially unmapped and unknown. Please, no beginner hikers unless you want a challenge!
DISTANCE is is 10–12 mi, one-way.
ELEVATION GAIN is 1700 ft gained, topping 9000 ft.
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 shaded pine-tree forest. Some is on the top of ridge line, but most appears to be off to the side.
WEATHER may include thunderstorms. Please bring a poncho, just in case.
AFTERWARDS we may get lunch/a drink in Silver City.
MEET for carpool at:
Las Cruces: 6:45 am, in/outside Milagro Coffee at Pan Am Plaza. See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?node=630424392) or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=32.287422,-106.745166&aq=&sll=32.304328,-106.770802&sspn=0.057166,0.086174&ie=UTF8&ll=32.28755,-106.745288&spn=0.014929,0.021544&t=h&z=16)). El Paso: 6:00 am, I-10 and Transmountain Road Shell. Meet and park at the gravel parking lot to the west of the gas station. See map (OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=31.907703&mlon=-106.581483&zoom=18&layers=M) or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=31.907703,-106.581483&aq=&sll=31.907128,-106.581379&sspn=0.001874,0.001261&ie=UTF8&ll=31.9077,-106.581931&spn=0.001874,0.002693&t=h&z=19)). Note: your organizer is not meeting here, please self-organize! MORE information:
KML for planned route (http://stuff.samat.org/Hikes/NM_Continental_Divide_from_Signal_Peak_to_Arrastra_Site.kml) (view on Google Maps (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=http:%2F%2Fstuff.samat.org%2FHikes%2FNM_Continental_Divide_from_Signal_Peak_to_Arrastra_Site.kml&hl=en&sll=37.6,-95.665&sspn=58.237757,49.394531&t=p&z=13))