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Backpacker Magazine – November 2008

Top 3 Night Hikes

These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California

by: Sarah Moïse Young

Shining Rock Wilderness, NC (Steven McBride)
Shining Rock Wilderness, NC (Steven McBride)
Ventana Wilderness, CA (Paige Falk)
Ventana Wilderness, CA (Paige Falk)

Shining Rock Wilderness, NC | Ventana Wilderness, CA | Pecos Wilderness, NM

Ventana Wilderness, CA
Climb to a Stargazer's>

Exercise your night vision during November's new moon; it's the optimal time to spot fall constellations from this remote chunk of Big Sur high country near Carmel Valley. Take the Pine Valley Trail six miles west from the China Camp Campground and descend into a lush meadow dotted with tall pines. Pitch your tent at one of three prime campsites along the Carmel River, and scout out a path ascending the sandstone ridges that fence the valley. Start climbing by 5 p.m. Pegasus, the winged horse, rides high in the north. Look for four stars halfway up the sky that form the front half of the horse's body, known as the Great Square of Pegasus. (805-968-6640,

Star Attraction
Grab a bag of Foglifter beans at Carmel Valley Coffee Roasters for a late-night boost. (831-620-0844;

The Way
From the Arroyo Seco Rd. exit on US 101, head 16.2 miles to Carmel Valley Rd. Turn right and drive 17.2 miles to the Tassajara Rd. junction. Hang a left and ramble 11 miles on a dirt road to China Camp.

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Aug 08, 2014

High five!

Star Star Star Star Star
Jan 30, 2014

SPOT ON! When I first saw the tag line I immediately thought Shining Rock ... and then ANYWHERE in New Mexico.

Dec 12, 2013

November 2008 - my, what nice fresh content!

Don't forget to schedule your night hikes with the mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and badgers. What?! There are bears out there too??

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Dec 06, 2011

Sounds like Santa Fe Baldy to me, this is not the way to access Pecos Baldy.

And Wendy, I've hiked this area several times after the summer fire and the trails you use for this hike are not in the burn scar. However, it's quite visible as you ascend.

Dec 01, 2011

Pretty sure you have the wrong Baldy. Mt. Baldy is in norther NM near Eagle Nest and the highest peak in that range is Wheeler. Not sure which peak you're thinking of in Pecos.

Ben Pattison
Nov 03, 2009

Wendy, Night hiking is awesome. and I am sure that after a couple of washes your gear will be as good as new after all, it is outdoor gear and it is bound to get dirty. If not then you are not using is correctly.
Joe. No we had no Idea that there were other wilderness areas in New Mexico besides Pecos. thanks for enlightening us.

Dec 12, 2008

It is not Mt. Baldy in the Pecos Wilderness. I think they are writing about Santa Fe Baldy. The Truchas peaks are higher.

Dec 11, 2008

You do realize this area was completely devasted by wildfires this summer and is likely to have loose, ruined trails, downed and burnt trees, and a serious lack of foliage until the spring?? Walking around this area at night is likely to get you a twisted ankle and sooted stained clothes! It's wisest to stay out of the burned areas. Go south my friends.

Dec 11, 2008

Bah! I couldn't agree more about this info coming in late! someone probably just did the Carolina hike and then posted about it after the fact...

Dec 11, 2008

Bah! I couldn't agree more about this info coming in late! someone probably just did the Carolina hike and then posted about it after the fact...

Dec 11, 2008

Hey Tony, it was in the Oct issue.

Dec 10, 2008

You guys do realize there are other wilderness areas in New Mexico besides Pecos, right?

Dec 10, 2008

woops, ventana is closed until spring.

Dec 10, 2008

Just a heads up, This area is closed till spring due to fire damage.

Dec 10, 2008

You should have sent this out in September or at least early November at least, both the Carolina and California say to go in November and it's December 10th! I was actually in the smokies during the meteor shower, but didn't know it, I just saw a few shooting stars! I could have done the night hike!


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