Grant County Highpoint Trip Report

McKnight Mountain (10,165 ft)

Date: November 6, 2005
Author: Dave Covill

This cohp has been written up in the past rather nicely by Ken Jones et al, but there are some subtle points to be made.

Use Kenís fine TR to get to Mimbres and to continue north from NM 152 on NM 35 to the turnoff. Note that the road you want is FR 152, odd that you were just on highway 152. It is a bit confusing where you turn off, as there are a few other dirt roads going right (east) from NM 152 there. Climb high up through chaparral country to the ridge crest, reaching it about mile 4. Drop down off of the ridge to the right (east) at mile 7.5, and stay left at a junction at mile 8.4. At mile 14.7 hit a cattle guard, with a sign for some trail to the right. Proceed straight on McKnight Road. At mile 16.7 observe a sign for an unnamed trail to the right. At mile 17.0 there is a brown sign with an arrow to the right but no names, in a clearing on the ridge. Reach the fire cabin at mile 17.3.

I thought this would be better than starting from mile 17.0 and walking from there, as the gain was minimal on the map, and there is a trail noted on the map. I was unable to find the trail at all and searched intensively on the way up and down. I would urge future visitors to park along the ridge at 17.0, and walk up the trail from there, saving maybe 15 minutes of woods bashing each way.

The cabin is rundown and I parked here and hiked up through the trees to the trail. Where I encountered the trail I left myself a small cairn to denote where to turn down southwest into the woods. The trail was in decent shape there and I have no reason to believe it would be anything less than that back to mile 17.0.

I hiked the good trail for a mile and a half or so to the sign for McKnight Peak. There is a small cutoff trail here leading up to the right (east). It goes up maybe 60 feet in 0.1 mile to a rocky outcrop with nice views. It is reasonably open terrain here and I was able to hand-level north-northwest to the other candidate contour in Grant County. I believe that the Grant candidate hill is higher but it can not be proven as it has considerable forestation on its summit, as opposed to McKnight Peak. I was leveling well down into the trees though, most likely at the base of the trees, while standing up on the outcrops of McKnight Mountain. I would guess that if it was surveyed, the other hill would be 5-10 feet higher.

From just north of McKnight Mountain, take the signed Powderhorn Ridge trail, FT 82. It goes left and hugs the southwestern edge of the ridge out to the second 10,165-foot hill within Grant County. I do not advise anyone to bushwhack the ridge crest the whole way as the forest is dense and there was moderate snow on the ground. FT 82 can be followed to where it passes by a huge outcrop on the left. The trail begins to descend noticeably after this. From here, bushwhack right northward only about 0.1 mile to the high ground. It is very gentle in there but a cairn and register was left at a place I agree with, I think by Richard Carey. It was signed by the usual suspects.

The highway (NM 152) that leaves Mimbres and heads east to I-25 is horrid, with curves everywhere, and speeds always < 35mph. It took FOREVER to get to I-25, like 2 hours. Passing is difficult. Worse than the highway near the Greenlee AZ CoHP.

I drove from here all the way to Denver, arriving in the late evening.