Authors Note: This report, photos, and map are free for re-use or publication without permission. Publication requires acknowledgment to the author.
February 8th, 2019
This is a loop into the Ojito Wilderness and BLM lands bordering the Zia Pueblo. We park at the public access trailhead off of Highway 550. and then cross Rio Salado. The Rio on this Winter day was low but icy and was muddy enough to give pause to driving across it. We did not and elected to hike two extra miles required. You follow a series of dirt roads past a corral and a fence. An ATV track runs parallel to the fence. We follow that track until we come to the first canyon we find, turning right on the ATV track. This track sits between two low mesas. We are interested in the mesa to our right. We then turn right again up the first side canyon we come to. We will go up that canyon until we see a weakness that allows us to scramble past the cap rock up to the unnamed Mesa 6010. We now head in a Northerly direction across the mesa until we come to the obvious and again unnamed Peak 6010. This peak is a major landmark and we have used it on many occasions for that purpose. The summit of Peak 6010 has great views and is a good place for a snack.
After the summit, we downclimb and continue in a Northerly direction across the rough terrain of this mesa. We will soon join another disused ATV track up to an open gate with a rusted out sign next to it. We are still on public land as we pass through that gate and head in a Southeast direction towards the high point of another unnamed mesa. We now begin the return portion of the loop by carefully scrambling down the slope of that mesa and back onto Mesa 6010. We parallel the route taken earlier looking for a point where another weakness in the cap rock allows us to climb off the mesa onto the flats on an old, constructed cow trail. Note that once we start off the mesa, we are no longer on public land although it is not fenced or posted. At the bottom, we head South to regain the roads that brought us in. Note the location of the locked and wired gate on the map. Don’t try to use it and instead head for the corral we passed on the way in which puts us back on public land. The rest of the hike is the return on dirt roads back to the trailhead.
This hike is 10.45 miles in length and climbs a total of 1248 feet. It is about 40% dirt road or ATV track and the rest cross country with frequent arroyo and canyon crossings. There two sections that require scrambling with minimal exposure. Hike time is around 6 to 6.5 hours for those not in a hurry.
Phylicia, Jim Podesta, SK Lund