Golden Aspen hike up Lucas Canyon & back

Hosted by Jornada Hiking & Outdoors Club

Public group


In the mountains, just south of Cloudcroft. Moderate difficulty. The hike is 11 miles total up and back, with a gradual 1400 ft climb/decent through forest, and passes a few meadows. The trail is a narrow dirt road also used by ATVs, so it is relatively smooth going. The actual hike starts/ends at the lower Trail Head of Lucas Canyon off of Russia Canyon Rd (FR247). We will have a short trail picnic/break at the turn around point, which is a clearing where the upper trail head of Lucas Canyon (t251) meets Benson Ridge Road (FR223). Parking is limited along side Russia Canyon Rd near the lower trailhead so we will actually meet at the Upper Karr Canyon Recreation Area at 9 a.m. and car pool to the lower Trail Head, about 5 miles away. Note, there is no cell phone reception in Russia Canyon, nor up Lucas, and spotty at the Benson Ridge Rd intersection. Bring minimum of 2 - 3 liters of water. Short afternoon showers are common during the monsoon season, but the season should be just about over. Remember it is about 20 degrees cooler up at 8800ft than on the desert floor. I expect it to take about 6 hours.

Directions to meetup parking at Upper Karr Canyon Recration Area:
From Cloudcroft, take NM130 south and turn right onto NM6563 (Sunspot Scenic Byway). Continue along the Sunspot Highway for around 7 miles and to your left, just over the ridge you'll see a sign for the Upper Karr Recreation Area. This road can be difficult to spot so keep your eyes open. There is a toilet there, but no water.
Anyone wanting to carpool from Las Cruces, meet at the Kmart parking lot, just off of Hwy 70 in Las Cruces at 7:00 a.m.
Reference points:
Start: Lower Lucas Canyon (t251) Trail Head (N[masked], W[masked]) is south of Cloudcroft, off of Russia Canyon Rd (FR247), about 4 miles east of Sunspot Highway, or about 2 miles west of NM130 if entering the other end of Russia Canyon.
Picnic/turnaround point: Upper Lucas Canyon Trail Head (t251) (N[masked], W[masked]) where it meets Benson Ridge Road (FR223).