Torrance County High Point Trip Report

Manzano Peak

Date: May 28, 2000
Author: Ken Jones

In the town of Manzano (on state route 55) find the intersection of SR 55 and SR 131, signed "Manzano State Park." Take SR 131, which is also forest route 253 and which is paved, for 2.4 miles to the state park entrance. Here FR 253 turns right and continues toward the mountains. At 3.0 miles it reaches the Cibola National Forest boundary, and turns to gravel. At 4.8 miles FR 253 continues ahead to the Red Canyon group campground, bear left onto FR 422. At 4.9 miles, pass the entrance to the non-group sites of Red Canyon CG. At 6.3 miles, pass the Ox Canyon trailhead on your right (which might be useful for loop trips combining Torrance and Valencia counties). At 8.3 miles, pass FR 275 forking left. At 8.4 miles, on your right, find the Kayser (or Kayser Mill, sources vary) trailhead. This starts out as a high clearance road which you might drive; we walked it and the following description starts by parking on FR 422.

Walk (or drive) northwest on the road. At about 1/3 mile, the Cottonwood Trail takes off on the left, marked by a large sign. At about 1/2 mile there is another large sign on the left, which does not specifically mention the Kayser trail. This is the high-clearance trailhead. Pick up the trail to the left of the sign, and follow it past a wilderness boundary sign at about 8600 feet to the intersection with the Crest Trail near 9800 feet. Turn left for Manzano Peak (the sign indicates it's 1 mile). In about 1/2 mile, find the marked 1/4-mile spur to the summit. On top is a sign identifying the peak, and a register in a mailbox. On your return, proceed straight ahead at the Kayser Trail junction, staying on the Crest Trail, until it reaches a highpoint, then head right if you want the other Torrance county possibility, unmarked at 10,080+ feet. I believe that the named summit is higher. For Valencia county you'd stay on the Crest Trail even further north, but we didn't, so I won't write about that.

Round trip for Torrance county is about 2500 feet and perhaps 7 miles.

Note to county HP baggers - Valencia county's HP makes a good combination with Manzano Peak. This description is for Manzano only.