Union County High Point Trip Report

Sierra Grande (8,720 ft)

Date: October 20, 2003
Authors: Jerry and Betty Brekhus

Sunday night, the 19th, we stayed at Best Western Kokopelli Lodge where printed information on local attractions states, Sierra Grande Mountain is the largest stand alone mountain in the world. The highway rest stop east of the mountain more modestly notes that it is largest extinct volcano in northeastern New Mexico.

We chose to hike up across state land from the east side. About a mile northwest of the rest area and just past Milepost 391 on US 64/87, a primitive road heads west toward Sierra Grande. A sign says that a parking area is 3.5 miles ahead. The road starts out as a pretty smooth track across prairie, but soon gets rough and rocky. The lava rocks make for a bumpy ride and slow travel. We chose to park and walk about a third of a mile before the end of the road.

The final parking area is about 2 miles as the eagle flies from the summit. Vehicle travel is prohibited beyond this point. The grade is moderate the whole way. We took a short detour around a steep boulder jumble once. There are lots of lava rocks scattered about in mostly grassy terrain with a few low cacti. Pick your own way cross-country.

The top has an antenna farm. Views are expansive, including a good view of Capulin Volcano, a bit lower in elevation to the northwest.

Elevation gain was 1,700 feet.