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Crest Trail (#25)

Intermediate
 4.8 (5)

Hike above the trees for 20+ miles of non-stop, panoramic views.


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Map Key

21.6

Miles

34.7

KM

Point to Point

11,216' 3,419 m

High

8,805' 2,684 m

Low

4,209' 1,283 m

Up

3,745' 1,141 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers

Take plenty of water. The main springs (Turkey Canyon, Argentina, Spring Cabin, Bonito, and Ice) are unreliable.

Above the treeline, weather can change quickly. Be prepared for sudden storms.

Description

This is the Crest Trail (#25) in the White Mountain Wilderness from end to end, starting just below Nogal and ending at the Monjeau Trailhead. Much of the trail is above treeline with panoramic views in all directions.

The trail is easy to follow (after the snow melts). The first half is relatively flat, with moderate climbs and drops as the trail crosses from one drainage to another. At Bonito Spring, the trail climbs steeply up the flank of White Horse Hill and continues to climb until it turns east toward Monjeau Peak. The trail from Buck Mountain to Monjeau crosses through forest burned off in the 2012 Little Bear Fire.

Although this is doable as a day-hike, spreading the hike over two or three days will make it more manageable. There are many excellent campsites just off the trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Papa Murph

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 5 votes

#1822

Overall
  4.8 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#25

in New Mexico

#1,822

Overall
18 Views Last Month
2,596 Since Aug 13, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

Soaking up the view from the Crest.
Aug 13, 2017 near Carrizozo, NM
Topping out on White Horse Hill after hiking Three Rivers.
Aug 13, 2017 near Ruidoso, NM
View overlooking late fall landscape, golden grass, fire damaged trees, and pines.
Nov 14, 2021 near Ruidoso, NM
Day hike up Argentina Canyon to Crest Trail.
Nov 2, 2016 near Carrizozo, NM

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Check-Ins

Sep 3, 2020
Stephen W G
Great hike! Make sure to pack a good amount of water (7+ liters) if you plan on hiking the whole route; very limited/potentially dry water sources
Jul 7, 2020
Kyle C-in-Texas
We backpacked 13 miles with 2 overnights in early July 2020. Started from the Little Bonito trailhead (36) up to Crest trail. Little Bonito trail is o 15mi
Jun 6, 2020
Jason Davis
Started from the trailhead closest to Nogales. Beautiful, quite easy. Turned back around 2.75 mi 2.8mi — 1h 30m