Hiking The Turkey Creek Trail
The 17th most popular hiking trail in New Mexico.
Tuesday 9 August 2016 03:58 GMT
North of Silver City, the Turkey Creek Trail (#155) is a 28 mile hiking route from the Gila River at FS155 to the West Fork Gila River with elevations ranging from 4,800 feet to 8,500. This trail has a great diversity of scenic beauty and ecosystems including rugged desert mountain, riparian habitat, and alpine forests. Trail 155 can best be described broken into two segments. The first segment is 17 miles long beginning from the trail head at the mouth of Turkey Creek to the saddle between Turkey and Little Creek. Except for a three mile section that follows a ridge from Skeleton Canyon to Sycamore Canyon, the trail stays in the canyon bottom. The vegetation is lush and the creek forms many pools and small waterfalls. This segment is difficult for pack animals. The second segment of the trail, about 11 miles, is from the saddle at the upper end of Turkey Creek to the West Fork of the Gila River. This segment crosses over the Diablo Range and into McKenna Park. The Park is a gentle sloping terrain of old-growth Ponderosa Pine. On the topos this segment of #155 is called the Little Creek Trail.
To reach the trailhead from Silver City go west on U.S. 180 about 25 miles and turn right on NM 211. Go miles to the community of Gila and then right on NM 153. In about 5 miles NM 153 ends and becomes Forest Road 155. It is 8.5 miles of rough dirt road from this point to the end of the road and the trail head at the Gila River. The travel time from Silver City is about 1.5 hours.
The trail up the Gila River to the Turkey Creek trail head #155 begins at the end of Forest Road 155. There are no facilities and parking is limited to a few pull-offs along the road. Because this is a very environmentally sensitive area, it is strongly advised not to cross the river in a vehicle. It is very easy for a vehicle to become stranded in the river.
From the end of the Forest Road 155 follow the trail up the Gila River about 1.3 miles to Trail 155 at the mouth of Turkey Creek. There are three river crossings but crossing isn t advised if the river is at flood stage.
Turkey Creek provides excellent riparian habitat for song birds and Zone-tailed Hawks that nest in the cliffs. Bears are also present. There are magnificent Sycamore trees and stands of Maple. Colorful rhyolite cliffs create an imposing background in this scenic canyon. The canyon is narrow but there are many opportunities for good camping along its length.
Trails 155, 161, and 160, or Trails 155, 159 and 160 can be use as a through hike between the Turkey Creek trail head and the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
Overall, Turkey Creek Trail is the 17th most popular hiking trail of all 39 hikes in New Mexico. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Turkey Creek Trail including Bookan Forest, Black Range Crest Trail, Granny Mountain, Sawmill Wagon Recreation Trail, West Fork Trail and Fort Bayard Big Juniper Tree Trail.