Birding · Views · Wildlife
Early on in the hike, there is a sign stating you must stay on the trail because private property is adjacent and hiking on it requires a permit. But don't worry, the trail is very obvious all the way to the summit.
Need to Know
Parking at El Porvenir Campground costs $3, but if you are just hiking the trail, make use of the first parking area that has trail information and a trail registry. Cross the bridge and the small stream as you make your way to Hermit Peak's "official" trailhead.
Hermit's Peak is a mountain in San Miguel County near Las Vegas, New Mexico, and is part of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is named after Italian monk Giovanni Maria de Agostini, who made his home in a cave on a narrow ledge a hundred or so feet beneath the summit. He traded with the villagers, offering crucifixes and religious symbols that he carved in exchange for food. Having resided in several locations across South America, Agostini made his final home in New Mexico. He lived in the cave at Hermit's Peak from 1863 to 1867 before moving to the Organ Mountains (near Las Cruces, New Mexico), where he was discovered murdered in 1869. There are still remnants of religious artifacts at Hermit's Peak that should not be disturbed.
You must pay to park at El Porvenir Campground; however, if you are just hiking the trail, make use of the first parking area you'll drive by that has trail information and a trail registry. You'll then cross the bridge and the small stream as you make your way to Hermit Peak's "official" trailhead north of the campground.
Shortly after you begin the hike, you'll see a sign reminding you to stay on trail because adjacent land is private property requiring special permits to access. You should not have any issues as the trail is quite obviously marked all the way to the summit. Please remember not to cut the switchbacks; this causes erosion and vegetation loss. During your hike, you may see notable wildlife such as deer and black bear (specifically cinnamon-furred). There are several reports from other hikers of bear sightings and tracks on and off the trail, so please be vigilant and "bear aware."
The trail is very rocky for the majority of its duration up until the summit plateau. Proper hiking shoes with good support are necessary. After hiking through the open forest for about 1.5 miles, you'll find yourself between two large rock formations as you navigate up several steep, rocky switchbacks during your ascent to the summit. There is water available near the summit shortly after the final switchback. It is signed as "Hermit's Spring." The last 0.5 miles on the summit plateau are relatively easy hiking as the grade flattens appreciably before you arrive at the mountain's rocky edge and are greeted with fantastic 360-degree views.
Flora & Fauna
I have seen chipmunks, squirrels, deer, several species of bird, and most notably, two cinnamon black bears very near the summit! I've seen reports of two other hikers seeing a cinnamon black bear on the trail as well.
Shared By: Anthony Hjalmarson