Bosque Peak – Crest – Cerro Blanco

Bosque Peak – Crest – Cerro Blanco Hike
In Manzano Mountains East Region


Map File Source: NG Topo

map Hike Key: H10425
Last Updated: 12/15/2020
Last Updated By: Marilyn Warrant
Hike Class: D (Difficult)
Hike Distance: 9.5 mi
Minimum Elevation: 7393 ft
Elevation Change: 2189 ft
Total Uphill: 2300 ft
Total Downhill: 2300 ft
Avg. Grade: 9 %
Route Type: CW Loop
On Trail: No
Paved or Gravel Roads: No
GPS Advised: Yes
Drive Distance Round Trip: 120 mi
Drive Time One-Way: 1:30
Hiking Seasons: Summer and Fall
New Mexico Game Unit: 14
Hike Status: Published

Highlights

A beautiful hike, especially in the fall when the maple and aspen leaves are changing, with extra added attractions of a cave, a plane wreck, and a graveyard.

Cautions

Hiking poles recommended for the downhill return.

Trailhead Directions

I-40 east to Tijeras exit 175. South on 337 (14) to its end (mile 0). West on SR 55 to Tajique. In Tajique, after Ray’s Gas Station (on right) is a cemetery. Turn right at end of cemetery onto Fourth of July Rd (FR 55). Take FR 55 about 7 miles to 4th of July CG turnoff and continue south (road becomes primitive) for about 1.8 mi. to trailhead for Cerro Blanco. PARK (0.0 mi) (0.0 mi) in a little turnoff on the left.

Actual Hike

You could walk along the road, but it’s more interesting to take the narrow trail that leaves from the parking area to the Bosque Peak trailhead (BOSQUEPK (0.6 mi)). Bosque Peak Trail (174) rises steadily for the first mile. After the Manzano Mountains Wilderness sign (BOUNDARY (1.7 mi)) the trail is rocky, then becomes rock stairs. You will pass a huge fir tree on the left side of trail, then the trail is rerouted on a sharp switchback to the right at TRAILJNCT (1.9 mi). Do not follow this switchback; instead go straight ahead on original Bosque Peak Trail toward a pine tree. The path TOCAVE (2.1 mi) is on the right soon afterwards. Go straight up the hill towards the rocks sticking up from the healthy growth of oak (which, if you’re lucky, someone has trimmed recently). The cave has remarkable architectural features (squarish opening with keystone, spoon-shaped depression in back wall). Bring a flashlight and you can walk into the cave quite a distance. You may see a bat! Return to the original Bosque Peak Trail and continue up canyon through low oak then huge aspen. Reach an open meadow area and see stone ARROW (2.8 mi) on ground. Follow arrow south on a faint trail that goes up to top of ridge and then goes west to intersect with Crest Trail 174 by a couple of carirns (CRN-1 (2.9 mi), CRN-2 (3.0 mi)). From the LOG RUIN (3.1 mi), go northwest up the hill (take a look at the VIEW (3.1 mi) behind you) to the GRAVES (3.2 mi). The cemetery is for about five persons with headstones in wood and marble. South and a little to the west of the cemetery you can find the PLANEWRECK (3.4 mi) of a B-17 that crashed here in the ’40s. This is a good place for lunch. After lunch, go back down the hill to the LOG RUIN to rejoin the Crest trail, then start following the cairns to the north, then east, then northeast (see CRN-3 (4.0 mi), CRN-4 (4.1 mi), CRN-5 (4.2 mi), CRN-6 (4.5 mi), CRN-7 (4.7 mi)). The cairns are nice big ones that are pretty easy to spot as long as they aren’t too near an oak thicket. In the oak thicket after CRN-7, KEEPRIGHT (4.8 mi) to stay on the trail. The next waypoint is a TRAILPOST (5.0 mi) that may be down on the ground that points to the reroute of the Bosque Peak Trail. After that are more cairns ( CRN-8 (5.2 mi), CRN-9 (5.4 mi), CRN-10 (5.7 mi), CRN-11 (5.8 mi)). Here you start a swing to the east at CRN-12 (6.0 mi)), then go northeast again at CRN-13 before you go north to the OVERLOOK (6.6 mi). Pass another cairn (CRN-14 (6.7 mi)) then reach the intersection with the CERRO BLANCO (7.1 mi) Trail. Follow that down a well-worn trail to the intersection with the 4TH OF JULY (7.6 mi) Trail. Continue on the Cerro Blanco Trail to where you parked.

Comments

The prominent peaks you see from the crest looking north are Guadalupe Peak (left) and Mosca Peak (right). Mosca Peak straddles the Isleta/Manzano Wilderness boundary. This can be a beautiful hike in the fall. See Rea Homestead to find out about the family that homesteaded up here (thanks to Ken Smith).

Waypoints

TAJIQUE: N34 45.085, W106 17.263
PARK: N34 46.644, W106 23.493
BOSQUEPK: N34 46.292, W106 23.538
BOUNDARY: N34 46.193, W106 24.415
TRAILJNCT: N34 46.247, W106 24.631
TOCAVE: N34 46.244, W106 24.764
ARROW: N34 46.187, W106 25.181
CRN-1: N34 46.083, W106 25.187
CRN-2: N34 46.062, W106 25.226
LOG RUIN: N34 46.102, W106 25.321
VIEW: N34 46.074, W106 25.357
GRAVES: N34 46.088, W106 25.415
PLANEWRECK: N34 45.945, W106 25.458
CRN-3: N34 46.261, W106 25.353
CRN-4: N34 46.369, W106 25.263
CRN-5: N34 46.406, W106 25.183
CRN-6: N34 46.404, W106 25.017
CRN-7: N34 46.530, W106 24.906
KEEPRIGHT: N34 46.618, W106 24.820
TRAILPOST: N34 46.697, W106 24.775
CRN-8: N34 46.840, W106 24.743
CRN-9: N34 47.028, W106 24.674
CRN-10: N34 47.227, W106 24.504
CRN-11: N34 47.282, W106 24.457
CRN-12: N34 47.279, W106 24.286
CRN-13: N34 47.351, W106 24.235
OVERLOOK: N34 47.657, W106 24.231
CRN-14: N34 47.757, W106 24.249
CERRO BLANCO: N34 47.841, W106 24.052
4TH OF JULY: N34 47.526, W106 23.783

Map Filename: BosquePeak-Crest-CerroBlancoImage_MW.JPG
Hike GPS File Name: BosquePeak-Crest-CerroBlancoWayTrack_MWMW.gpx
Hike GPS File: Click link to download hike waytrack file

Text Author: Dennis Vick
Map Author: Marilyn Warrant
Waypoints Author: Marilyn Warrant
Track Author: Marilyn Warrant
Maintainer: Ken Smith
Editor: Marilyn Warrant