September 3, 1998
Highlights: An outstanding view of New Mexico from 12,045 feet Location: East of Eagle Nest in Cimarron Canyon State Park Round-trip distance: 5 miles Difficulty: Strenuous Elevation: 10,700-12,045 feet Maps: No published map designating trail Printable map
No wonder it's called Touch-Me-Not. This mountain seems to be composed entirely of huge slabs of granite talus loosely connected by dog-eating crevasses and some ponderosas. The only trail to the top holds snow through mid-June.
But when you get there, at an altitude of 12,045 feet, it will be all yours -- Taos Dome and Wheeler, New Mexico's tallest peak, are just across the Moreno Valley, and 12,441-foot Baldy is next door. The Culebras, the Latirs and the San Juans reach up from the north and west; the Pecos Wilderness and Truchas Peak lie to the south; and you look down on the backs of eagles.
A couple of miles east of Eagle Nest on U.S. 64 to Cimarron is the Eagle Nest Reintegration Center, in a horseshoe bend of the road. Just inside the entrance, to your right, are direction signs and a tiny parking lot. A rugged 5-mile drive up Green Peak will put you at the trailhead to Touch-Me-Not. It's marked on the left, as you near the top, by a discreet sign.
Round trip from this point is 5 miles from a starting elevation of 10,700 feet. You'll want to stack carbohydrates for this one -- with a 1,300-foot gain, this trail is a steady climb that goes vertical once you leave the pines.
Small cairns mark the trail as it crosses a saddle and climbs through the woods, guiding you across talus and a high-aspened shelf until you peak out.
Timing is critical. Start early enough to pull the summit well before noon and give yourself time to enjoy the view before the daily afternoon thunderstorm hits.
Charlotte Amrine Hollis