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Aeroplane Mesa Trail No. 105

Contact Info
Gila National Forest
HC 68 Box 50
Mimbres, NM 88049

Phone:
575-536-2250
Basics
Length:
4 miles
Difficulty:
Easy
Time:
2 - 3 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
6920 feet
Elevation Range:
6920 feet to 8180 feet
Elevation Change:
1260 feet
Usage:
Moderate
Season:
Spring to Fall

Description

Trail 705 decends the grassy, southern slopes of Loco Mountain and traverses Aeroplane Mesa. The gently rolling, open grassland and distant mountain vistas offers a tempting invitation to wander across this beautiful countyside. Stands of Ponderosa Pine occur in canyons and on hill tops and provide shelter for the elk herds that favor this open country. At the end of Aeroplane Mesa the trail decends 500 feet into canyon of the Middle Fork of the Gila River. This is an execllent trail for access to this upper segment of the river.

At the Gila River Trail 705 connects with the Middle Fork Trail 157 which follows the length of the river from Snow Lake to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. It also connects with the Trotter Trail 30 which leads to the West Fork of the Gila River.

This trail offers mountain vistas and beautiful, high-elevation, open grasslands with stands of Ponderosa Pine.

Details

Length:
4 miles
Difficulty:
Easy
Time:
2 - 3 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
6920
Elevation Range:
6920 feet to 8180
Elevation Change:
1260
Usage:
Moderate
Season:
Spring to Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS: Loco Mountain
Additional Details:

There are facilities at the trailhead including 4 developed campsites with parking, tables, firegrills and toilet facilties. There is also 4 pipe horse corrals available and ample parking for horse trailers. These facilities are on a first come first serve basis.

Reserve is about 58 miles from the trail head and provides auto services, gas, groceries, lodging, restaurants.

Water is available only at the Middle Fork of the Gila River. Water quality is not tested therefore it cannot be guaranteed to be drinkable, it is advisable to filter or treat all drinking water.

The many open valleys at the trails end in the Middle Fork of the Gila River offer good camping. Since the Middle Fork is heavily used, camping away from the river in unused locations and practicing "leave no trace" camping tecniques is recommended. Fuel stoves instead of fires are also recommended. The river is prime riparian bird habitat. Beaver thrive here and their presents enhances the wilderness experience. Their dams can be found all along this segment of the river.

As the story goes, Aeroplane Mesa was named after the famous WW II Flying Tiger pilot Claire Chennault crashed his plane there. He and other US Army mail service pilotes would often land on this remote mesa and hike down to the Middle Fork to fish.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

From the town of Reserve follow Forest Road 141 to 28, then turn east on 142. Travel time about 2 hours. From the town of Glenwood follow NM 159 to Forest Road 28, then turn east on 142. NM 159 is not recommended for horse trailers. Travel time about 2 hours.


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