The Ocotillo Trail in Spring---Page 1
Carlsbad, New Mexico, is home.
Hence so many pages about hikes in the region.
But not many pages about Carlsbad itself. A nice little town, and 'a river runs through it'!
We have already shown you the city itself and a very nice Riverwalk around the Pecos River, in Fall.
Also showed you the flowers we planted around our house.
We even showed you views of a rare blizzard in Carlsbad in Winter.
And now we show you a delightful little Carlsbad walk in Spring! The Ocotillo Trail is just 0.92 miles long and gains 240 feet (73 meters). It starts at the end of the New Mexico State University-Carlsbad Campus parking lot and ends at the Skyline Road parking lot. It is quite nicely visible in this Bing 3-D photo and if you look carefully you can see a faint trace of a secondary trail that looks like it follows a straighter path, a shortcut but a little more primitive. We like both ways of walking this recreation area.
Did we start out at sunset? No, but we walked up, down, and back up, and by then the sun had set. It happens every day. Sunsets that is.
What is that big development the next ridge up from the trail at the left of the map photo? It is Living Desert Sate park, a well done zoo of desert animals and vegetation with nice natural history displays. Well worth a visit.
At dusk especially, people walk or drive up to the Skyline Road parking lot to just look out over the city:
The "Flume" a historic landmark and irrigation canal structure stretches across the river at left and in the foreground is the university to the left and its Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center to the right, with much of the residential part of the city nicely covered in trees.
With a touch of telefoto we can look across the wolf habitat of the Living Desert State Park zoo and see Lake Avalon (the Pecos River dammed up to shove water into the canal that runs through Carlsbad as well):
What do you see if you look west from the upper parking area? The Guadalupe Mountains on the horizon!
OK, that is enough orientation stuff, let's step back in time and look into the heart of the matter: why is it called the Ocotillo Trail? The answer: Ocotillos!
They bloom in Spring with bright red flowers, then they grow their leaves. The plant in the photo on the right has leaves already starting, the plant in the photos on the left: not yet.
This plant is way ahead of its neighbors in terms of setting its leaves. Once fully greened up these stalks appear soft and cuddly, but do not try to give any hugs, the spikes behind these leaves will pierce you to the bone, a true bonding experience:
The skinniness of the ocotillo plant and their natural separation in this desert make it hard to overwhelm you with their ubiquitousness in a photo, but we try:
This is fun, let's do some more of it on the next page.
Go to Second Ocotillo Trail Page
Go to Third Ocotillo Trail Page
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