U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Welcome to Wilderness Wednesday, our weekly posting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
This week, we highlight the Empedrado Wilderness Study Area (WSA). This is an arid landscape characterized by deep arroyos, highly sculpted mesas, canyons, and scenic sandstone and shale outcrops. This area is an example of a WSA with values receiving additional Congressional protection. A portion of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) passes through the WSA. Designated in 1978, this 3,000 mile long trail parallels the Continental Divide between Mexico and Canada. The trail is managed to provide high quality, scenic, primitive hiking and horseback-riding experiences, while conserving natural, historic, and cultural resources along the Continental Divide.
The Trail is marked by cairns and generally does not have trail tread, but it is easily traveled by horseback in this area. Because there is no trailhead, you will need to keep an eye out for CDNST signs and rock cairns. For more information, please visit the CDNST wesbite.
From San Ysidro, New Mexico, drive US 550 about 18 miles north to the junction with NM 279. A green highway sign labeled, "San Luis-Cabezon" marks NM 279. Drive west on 279, a paved road, through the small village of San Luis, after which the road turns to gravel and dirt. Travel on this dirt road approximately 13 miles, crossing the bridge over the Chico Arroyo, until the road splits (NM 279 continues south to Guadalupe and BLM Road 1103 begins here and continues to the right). Travel on Road 1103 about one mile to CR 25, which splits to the right. Travel about 1¼ mile on CR 25 to where the CDNST enters the WSA on the northeast side of the road. Horse trailers can easily be parked at the intersection of BLM Road 1103 and County Road 25 (known as Hunters Camp). Riders can then continue by horse the 1¼ mile on County Road 25 to the trail. These dirt roads may be impassible when muddy conditions exist.
For more information, please visit the Empedrado WSA website.
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