Guadalupe Forays '16

PART 3: To the PINNACLE at the end of FOREST ROAD 9553

First Page

Last time we walked Forest Road 9553 to the end of the pink line.  This time we walk to end of the green line on the right:


This view connects us to where we left off on our last walk on Forest Road 9553, which follows Big Canyon Ridge, here looking across the Middle Fork of Big Canyon (directly below us) and past White Mule Ridge in the foreground, then across the North Fork of Big Canyon at Lonesome Ridge:

In fact if we stare at the ridge beyond Lonesome Ridge, above the light colored rock just right of center in the next photo, you can see the structures of the Black Canyon Lookout with which we started this series of three Guadalupe Mountains walks:

As we get nearer the end of Forest Road 9553, Big Canyon to our right begins to live up to its name.  Where Big Canyon Ridge ends, the three forks of Big Canyon (main, Middle and North) finally come together and exit the range.  The ridge to the right in this next photo, the south wall of Big Canyon, is Wilderness Ridge, and on its southwest to side lie North McKittrick Canyon, and then McKittrick Canyon after its northern branch merges with it.  This website has several pages about Wilderness Ridge and McKittrick Canyon, North McKittrick Canyon, McKittrick Canyon and South McKittrick Canyon.  The Fall colors in McKittrick Canyon are quite spectacular! The New Mexico/Texas state line runs across Wilderness Ridge dividing Guadalupe Mountains National Forest from Guadalupe Mountains National Park:

Too many diversions?  OK, let's move on then: These are my hike companions today, Trixie (the dog) and Audrey (the lady looking at me impatiently):

Forest Road 9553 keeps on going, and going, and going. . . but the views get better with time and distance.  After a long walk we come to the terminus of our road and ridge:


At the end of the road, do not do what I did: I kept walking straight south from where the road ended, thinking that is where the Pinnacle would be.  It was a mix of animal trails only and led to the edge of Big Canyon, which was nice but not the objective of this walk:

Off to the right there is a lobe off this ridge where we walked in 2014 and thought we had come to the end of Big Canyon Ridge.  Unbeknown to us we saw the Pinnacle then, just did not recognize it.


Looking to the east we see it: the Pinnacle is that block of rock on the next ridge over.  The real end of the Big Canyon Ridge:

Big Canyon is impressive at this point where it turns to the north because it is blocked by Wilderness Ridge:

On the next page we will go toward the Pinnacle, cross-country, animal trails only.


Go Back to First Black Canyon Lookout Page

Go Back to Second Black Canyon Lookout Page


Go Back to First Forest Road 9553 Page

Go Back to Second Forest Road 9553 Page

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