“Hike along a mountain stream through old-growth forest and past towering cliffs.”
— Papa Murph
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail starts at the Three Rivers campground on the west side of the White Mountain Wilderness. The drive from Ruidoso to the trailhead takes about 1.5 hours.
The trail starts where the Three Rivers Campground road ends and immediately begins to climb through the forest. A stream runs along the trail until it climbs out of the canyon near the Crest Trail (#25)
. The presence of small trout in the stream suggests that this one (unlike most of the streams in the White Mountains and Lincoln National Forest) contains water year-round. The trail crosses the stream many times.
After about 2 miles, the trail starts to pass some impressive cliffs—maybe the tallest in the White Mountains.
The trail is well shaded until about the last 1.5 miles, when it climbs out of the canyon, through some meadows, and above the treeline to the Crest Trail (#25)
. The views from "The Crest" are spectacular, especially from the top of White Horse Hill (a short but steep hike from the Trail #44/#25 junction).
This trail receives much less traffic than the trails closer to Ruidoso on the east side of the range.
Flora & Fauna
The trail passes through old-growth forest and, higher up, alpine meadows. Watch for trout in the stream. Keep an eye out for bears.