Wednesday, August 5, 1998
Highlights: Outstanding vistas in all directions. Trail crests one mile north of Manzano Peak, highest point in the range. Can be looped with other trails Location: From Manzano take FR 253 for 5.5 miles to the junction with FR 422. Follow FR 422 for about 4 miles to the junction with FR 275. Start from there Round-trip distance: About 4 miles; 6 to Manzano Peak Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: About 8,100-10,000 feet Cautions: Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for summer showers Maps: USFS Manzano Peak Wilderness Map Printable map
Kayser Mill Trail
For a quick trip to high country, Kayser Mill Trail starts you out at 8,100 feet and the gradual incline never seems difficult. Numerous wildflowers, as well as strawberries, squirrels and songbirds also enjoy this place of their own.
The Kayser family homesteaded in the area in the 1880s and ran lumber mills in various locations. Signs of logging can still be seen. Park on FR 422 and as you pass the wilderness boundary, Cottonwood Trail (No. 73) intersects from the south.
The trail switches back and forth to the top of Kayser Mill Canyon, affording dramatic views toward the top. Careful footing is required over the rock slide before the trail continues upward to an open meadow.
When you join the Crest Trail (No. 170), take time to soak in the wonderful views both east and west. Manzano Peak, at 10,096 feet, is about one mile south. If time permits, visit the peak and sign your name with other fortunate hikers.
Sue B. Mann