Torrance County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: August 24, 2007
All trip reports so far describe access to Manzano Peak via the town of Manzano
but the peak can also be reached from Mountainair (on US60 & NM55), to the south.
This route requires 13+ miles driving on gravel roads but theyíre in
good shape and it cuts 10 miles off of the trip for those folks who approach the
hike from the south.
At Mountainair, find the Ranger Station (signs are everywhere).
About 500 yards east of the ranger station, head north on County Road B50.
It goes north for one mile, west for one mile and north for two miles
to Forest Road 275 (itís posted). West on FR 275 for 9.5 miles until it joins
FR 422. Go left on FR422 for 300 yards to the sign announcing the Kayser and
As Ken Jones reported, this is not really a trail head but a road and a rough
one at that. I saved myself some effort by driving it but the Forest Service no
longer maintains it and itís impassable without high clearance and 4WD.
The road makes a loop about 3/4 mile in, at a large sign which marks the start of
the Kayser Mill Trail. There appear to be two trails, one at the sign, heading
south, and another at the loop, heading west. The two converge about 60 yards
in so it makes no difference which one a person uses.
The Kayser Mill Trail is the shortest route to this HP but it is robust,
undulating along the mountainsides and the saddles between the peaks and
crossing a large area of scree. Thereís a good bit of descending on the way up
to the peak and a good bit of climbing on the way down. Hikers encounter a
wilderness boundary sign about 0.375 mile in and then hit the Crest Trail at
just over 1.5 miles. A sign directs them to the left for Manzano Peak and a 2nd
sign points out the quarter-mile spur that leads to the peak.
A Forest Service sign marks the summit and a rock cairn next to it contains a
mailbox with a register inside. Views are impressive, with the Los Pinos
Mountains to the south, Gallinas Peak to the east, and Mount Taylor to the west
all clearly visible. I started down at noon and, being August, it was a warm descent,
with the trail in bright sunshine about 40% of the time.
Round trip was 6 miles, net elevation gain 2,400 feet or so.
Author: Jack Shiver