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Albuquerque, NM: Gila Crest South to Hummingbird Saddle

This 9.8-mile out-and-back connects old-growth evergreens and the Mogollon Mountains, a series of 10,000-foot peaks in Gila National Forest.

Rating

This gateway trail into the Gila high country snakes 4.9 miles through fir, pine, and aspen groves climbing 1,280 feet over a moderate grade and a couple of steep pitches. Located about half-way between Albuquerque and Phoenix, the Gila Crest Trail traces the highest part of the Gila National Forest and is extremely popular in the fall when the aspens turn golden yellow. This trail preview stops at Hummingbird Saddle but this spot is also a good jump off point to to climb 10,110-foot Mogollon Baldy or to explore nearby Redstone Park.
Most backpackers overnight at Hummingbird Saddle below 10,896-foot Whitewater Baldy. But, for a more secluded campsite, choose the other inviting saddle located about 3.2 miles from the trailhead. If you choose this alternative campsite, plan accordingly: the closest reliable water sources are at Bead Spring, 1.6 miles to the north, or south of Hummingbird Saddle, nearly 2 miles away.
- Mapped by Bill Velasquez

To Trailhead

From Albuquerque, take I-25 S to exit 150. Turn left onto US 60 and left again to take NM 12 south. After 74.1 miles, turn left at US 180 and drive 1 mile south of the town of Alma before turning left onto NM 159. Continue north and east (veering right as NM 159 becomes Bursum Rd.) for approximately 20 miles to the trailhead at Sandy Point. After the old, mining town of Mogollon--worth a tour if you have the time--the winding, narrow road turns to dirt.

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