Black Canyon Trail
|The Black Canyon trail is a short, easy lollipop trail through an aspen-fir forest. If you take this trail, you will see several types of wildflowers, and possibly lots of butterflies. This is a good trail for children or a family.|
|Hike data||Waypoints||Maps||Getting to the trailhead||About the hike||Plants along the trail||Comments|
When we hiked it:
|Time it took us:||1:45.||0:45.||2:10. We spent well over an hour looking at and taking pictures of plants, spiders, etc.|
|Usage (people/hour):||0.00. We had the trail to ourselves.||4.06.||4.10.|
|BCTH||Trailhead||Black Canyon trailhead|
|BCY2||Trail junction||Black Canyon trail split for loop|
|BLKCYN||Campground||Black Canyon campground|
|Map name||Cartographer||Year||Scale||Topo map?||Online access||Notes|
|Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah||Automobile Club of Southern California||1998||1:0||N||from Amazon (purchase)||Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.|
|McClure Reservoir||USGS||1976||1:24000||Y||from sar.lanl.gov (free)|
|Pecos Wilderness, Santa Fe and Carson National Forests||US Forest Service||2004||1:54000||Y||from Amazon (purchase)|
|Santa Fe||BLM||1996||1:100000||Y||from Amazon (purchase)|
|Santa Fe||USGS||1954||1:250000||Y||from sar.lanl.gov (free)|
|Santa Fe National Forest||US Forest Service||2004||1:126720||N||from Amazon (purchase)||East half|
|Wildernesses of New Mexico||US Forest Service||1981||1:1000000||N||No online copies.||Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.|
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Getting to the trailhead:
From the Santa Fe plaza, head north on Washington Ave. Just past the pink Scottish Rite Temple (pictured here), turn right on Artist road; the sign says that Hyde State Park and the Santa Fe Ski Basin are this way.
Drive about seven miles and you will see the sign for the Black Canyon campground on your right.
Trailhead parking is on the left as you first enter. You can also park outside along the railing on the highway. If you park in the campground, you must pay a $10.00 vehicle fee. The map here (from the entrance area) shows the trailhead parking and trailhead location in the campground.
Hike through the campground to the back left part of the loop at the end of the campground, between campsites 24 and 26 (as shown in the map above). The trailhead has a sign. The hike from the campground entrance to here is an additional 100ft/30.5m of elevation gain.
About the hike:
You start gently heading uphill, walking past wild roses, cinquefoil, nodding wild onions, clematis, geraniums and other wildflowers (not all of which will be in bloom). The trail is easy to follow, and is usually wide enough to walk two abreast.
Here is a Geranium richardsonii which was near the trailhead.
After about half a mile, you arrive at a place where the trail splits. You can go either way; you will arrive back at this location. We went to the right.
Along this part of the trail, there are lots of thimbleberries. Unfortunately, we only found one ripe one---The one on the left was ripe and was tasty.
There are also several currant bushes, but the berries were just beginning to form, so they were a long way from being ripe.
Along this part of the trail, we saw some False Solomon's seal with unripe berries (do not eat these, even if they are ripe---they are poisonous).
The trail heads fairly straight for about 2/3 of a mile, and then turns. This is the far point of the trail. You are now beginning to loop back. At this point, you begin to climb a bit more steeply (but still not a hard climb). Along this portion of the trail, we saw several butterflies. Also, we saw red gall (growth caused by insect(s)), called erineum felt gall. According to Suzy Orth of the UW Extension, Milwaukee Co, it is not uncommon on maples in North America. You can read more about these and other galls at a page at forestpests.org
A little way after the sign, we saw a crab spider on a Chimaphilia umbellata. The spider looks like part of the plant, but look closely. You can see its legs sticking out to either side of the upper right side of the open flower.
Here is one of the many butterflies and day-active moths we saw.
As you walk along, you will come to an area where a trail has been closed by many logs being placed on it and a sign indicating you are to stay on the trail. Along the closed trail is the Santa Fe Watershed; if you go in there, you will be fined. This sign is also an indication that you are almost back at the Y. Once you get to the Y, turn right and return to the campground.
Plants we saw along the trail:
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