Trail Report: Jeep trails around Red River New Mexico. July 2012.
None of the trails we went on got above the timber line, Goose lake was right at the line. Almost all the trails were in deep forest and heavily wooded. The trail beds were mostly dirt that would become mud during or after a heavy rain. In other spots the flowing creek would become the road, shallow and easily passable. The other thing that was common with all the trails is that serene high mountain very green meadows would occur often.
Before going, did some research and came up with Pioneer Creek Trail, Goose Lake Trail, Fourth of July trail and Red River Pass. Later we found the Midnight Meadows and Greene Peak which have common access. A few years ago and another jeep, I had been up to Cabresto lake. Work is currently underway to enlarge the lake by sizable portion and who knows what will be in the when the work is done.
Below is a youtube video of the photos that we had taken. About 5 min long
Pioneer Creek Trail,
starting to the west of the Red River Ski lift is the common wooded and flowing creek bed/ trail through the heavy woods. The trail is cut short where it passes through private land and a locked gate. Maps indicate much more National Forest land and trails beyond the short part that goes through the private land, would be nice to have access across that private land. It is a return trip to get back.
Goose Lake trail
is on the south side of the Red River community (as is Pioneer Creek Trail) and starts on the east end of town. The first obstacle is a long but easy crossing of the Red River. Soon after, it starts to climb quickly with some blind narrow corners. Much of the trail is dirt but was dry. Wet, it would be a messy ride. Frequent on the trail are ruins of miners cabins, one which is directly on the trail with the mine shaft adjacent and the trail cuts across the mine’s tailings. The trail cuts through numerous stands and aspen, and with a quick eye you can catch a snow shoe rabbet. The trail ends at the lake, just at the timberline and a large parking area. Also a return trip.
Red River Pass trail
is on the east end of the community and on the left (northeast) side of the road. I assume it to be the original access to Red River from the east. Now the paved highway from Eagles Nest passes to the north through Bobcat pass. Red River Pass is a set of quick climbing wide switchbacks that reach the summit where private land starts and again no access. The trail bed is less dirt that the other trails and we had a heavy rain/hail storm, and the road while rough, stayed passable. Access to the pass does not continue and is fenced.
There the mystery begins.
It was not present on the forest maps, but the Topo showed a trail leading off to the right (southerly) from the summit of Red River Pass. Fun stuff, a very very narrow path, many narrow blind corners and often muddy portions. We continued on it for many miles where we came to a junction. I was guessing that it was the top of Fourth of July trail. Later when we ran the 4th trail, confirmed it to be true. The narrow trail continued on through heavy deep forest, frequent fallen trees across the trail (but nothing we could not get over or under). We had an occasional muddy tipie tipie where we were concerned about slipping of and down into the steep gulch (and then be eaten by a troll).
It finally ended at a locked gate. Return trip to exit. Along the way, we would notice signs of very old excavation thinking the trail to be part of or parallel to a narrow gauge rail road bed, very narrow. We also passed along side a beautiful high mountain green meadow.
Later research indicated that it was some type of canal that must have water powered something decades ago near the Red River pass. Not for sure what it was. A fun exploration of the area.
Midnight Meadows and Greene Peak
We next set out for Cabresto creek (actually Lake Fork Creek) and lake, but it is closed with the new construction. So we followed the all weather road along the Cabresto Creek to the summit of that creek. Many high mountain meadows and a connection to Midnight Meadows and Greene Peak. There are many small trails that link to mostly mining and some cattle operations.
The Midnight Meadows and Greene Peak trail is a combination of newly constructed and old trails. We were on it later in the day and there was much traffic. A lot of “big eyed white knuckled” drivers. At times narrow and some very very steep climbs.
For reference, the Midnight / Greene Peak trail start out in Mallette Canyon which starts at a city park on the north side of Red River. There is a lot of traffic on these trails. We approached this backwards from Cabresto Creek with different intentions so done from Red River, you could return via Cabresto Creek with numerous ways to get back.
Fourth of July Trail. (Canyon)
This trail is to the east then curving south of Red River on Road 578. It is a little hard to find and is on the right side going away from town . At about 1 ¼ mile, it is very short and very very steep, it runs almost straight up the canyon. With the high grade and the need to move swiftly, it is done very fast . We had numerous “catching air” occurrences as we made our way up crossing back and forth across the small canyon. Again mostly dirt trail, with the steep grade, this may be impassable in very wet conditions. As noted, it intersected (no signage) the “Mystery “ trail that lead us back to the summit of Red River Pass.
There are numerous places to dine in Red River, but our favorite was "Yesterdays Diner", with great food and great service.
Link to the Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC3OF...ature=youtu.be