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Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive
Nine hikes as big as the hearts of their namesake wilderness visionaries.
Aldo Leopold Wilderness, New Mexico
On the trail: On the same day that Aldo Leopold arrived in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, fires were rampaging over Curtis Canyon and Granite Peak. Although he called fire "the scourge of all living things," he held an affection for the natural process. Today, with the fire scars healed, the area makes a wonderful location for a hike through the southern section of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. There is a network of trails radiating off Hillsboro Mountain (stop and ask for a tour of the fire tower there). Either FS 117 down East Curtis Creek or FS 114 down Holden Prong, with its beautiful waterfalls, will take you into the "blessed country" Leopold loved so well.
Contact: Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District, 1804 Date St., Truth or Consequences, NM 87901; (505) 894-6677.
Trail guide: There are no guidebooks dealing specifically with trails in this area, but call the Black Range Ranger District (above) and ask for a free copy of Black Range Trails and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness map.