Note: This trip has been re-designed to take maximum advantage of the light we have available and avoid the time sink we would have to get a permit for and parking at Ghost Ranch. We also go in a counterclockwise direction rather than clockwise. We won’t try to have vehicles in two locations as it eats time. Added a dog policy. Changed conditions statement. Need for a headlamp. Changed hike and drive time.
DESCRIPTION: This is a hike that circles the entire Ghost Ranch and the USFS land in the vicinity. We start at the Rest Area along Highway 84 and head in a counterclockwise direction through the red rock towers until we get to the entrance to Talus Canyon. We follow it and before it turns into a slot we exit to East up to Kitchen Mesa. We follow it to the drop off down to Ghost Ranch proper. We bypass the built-up area of Ghost Ranch and head to the Southwest past Matrimonial Mesa. We parallel Highway 84 again and cross it back to the trailhead. Following is a trip report from another time we were in this area.
MEET WHERE: De Vargas Mall Southwest corner. Look for the silver Xterra with a traffic cone next to it.
MEET WHEN: Saturday, March 2nd at 8:30 AM
EVENT LOCATION: Ghost Ranch and nearby USFS lands.
RSVP: Closed as of December 2nd due to the number of people on the hike and the type of terrain we will be on.
TRANSPORTATION: We will need at least two vehicles to transport everyone going.
DOGS: Dogs are allowed on Ghost Ranch. They have the same rules as the Forest Service: They need to be on a leash and picked up after. That’s their rules, not mine. If there is a hassle with staff, rangers, etc, it’s your hassle. The dogs must be under control at all times. Bring your leash. There may be points on the hike where they will need to be restrained.
UPDATES: Check your email the night before and morning of the event. An email will be sent immediately when changes are made.
TYPE: 30% exploratory, the rest has been done before.
TERRAIN: Trail, a couple of steep climbs, one of which is established. A steep descent. Cross country and dirt road.
DISTANCE/ASCENT/EFFORT: Mapped total is 7 miles with 1600 feet of total ascent. This is a strenuous hike due to the terrain.
FITNESS and PREPARATION: Please read the following link to see if you have the fitness level to complete this hike:
GEAR CHECK: Along with the usual, everyone needs to have a working headlamp. Test it and make sure it works before hike day.
CONDITIONS REQUIRED and EXPECTED: Dry conditions 3 to 5 days before and on hike day. The steep part of the climb down from Kitchen Mesa can get choked with ice or snow and become impassible. We must be at the drop off from Kitchen Mesa by 2:30 PM at the latest. There is a chance we will be hiking in the dark for part of the way. If so it will be on the flatter parts of the route and this may need to be modified if we are in fact hiking after dark. The hike will be checkpointed which means we need to be at certain points by certain times. Missing these checkpoints will require us to abort or modify the route. Hazardous weather forecast or temperatures below freezing with windchill will cancel.
HIKE TIME: 6 to 7 hours
DRIVE TIME: 3 hours round trip
TOTAL EVENT TIME: 9 to 10 hours