The Manzano Crest Trail is 22 mile trail that runs the length of the Manzano Mountains. In the north, it begins at the forest boundary, east of La Mosca Peak, and ends atop Manzano Peak.
Trail Condition: Good/Moderate
Spruce Spring Trail – Trail #189 to Red Canyon Trail – Trail #89
From the junction with the Spruce Spring Trail, the Crest Trail climbs steeply up the northern flanks of Gallo Peak. There are a number of downed trees in this section. Most of them are fairly easy to bypass, but at least one required getting on hands and knees.
After some switchbacks, the grade eases a bit as it wraps around the east side of the peak to the north. This is where you can leave the trail to make the final climb up to Gallo Peak. Where the trail bypasses the peak and before it descends toward Red Canyon is the easiest place to access Gallo Peak.
There is no official trail, but at points a faint path appears and disappears. It is a steep 1/3 mile to reach the grass open peak. These are the best views of the hike. To the west, is the Rio Grande Valley. To the north, the Capilla Peak Observatory and to the east, the plains of eastern New Mexico.
Once back on the trail, it slowly descends to another grassy saddle and sign marking the junction with the Red Canyon Trail – Trail #89
Trigo Canyon Trail to unnamed peak:
From the junction with the Trigo Canyon Trail – Trail #185, the Manzano Crest Trail climbs steeply to the small peak about 1/2 mile to the south. The trail is easy to follow and was mostly clear of any downed trees. Towards the top, as the trail enters aspen regrowth as well as some burned snags. Here, there are a few more places where you must detour around these obstacles.
Kayser Mill Trail to Manzano Peak:
As is typical in the Manzano’s, the junction with the Kayser Mill Trail is in a small grassy saddle, a brief respite from the forest that quick resumes as the trail climbs to the south from the junction.
The steepest climbing is just past the junction and eases as it nears the peak. A tenth of a mile before the peak, the trail forks with the Pine Shadow Trail – Trail #170A going to the right and the Crest Trail continuing the left to the Peak.