Also, known as the Rociada Trail, the Mora Flats Trail is a 9.2 mile trail that goes from the Sparks Trailhead to a junction with the Hamilton Mesa Trail – Trail #249.
Trail Condition: Good
Sparks TH to the Skyline Trail
From the parking area for the Sparks Trailhead, continue to follow the road uphill. After about 150 yards, the road will start to narrow into single track. You should see a brown trail sign with the number 250. At this point, there is a low road – where the sign is posted – and another trail that climbs steeply to the left. This is your trail.
The first mile is the steepest section of the hike, so don’t worry if it’s a little more than you expected. At times the trail is wide and ill-defined and is consistently rocky. This entire section of the Mora Flats Trail includes numerous social trails formed by cows (most likely) that go off on either side. You will notice many of these trails, but remain on the main, widest trail that largely remains on the ridge.
After a mile or so, the trail narrows a bit, and becomes slightly better defined. Eventually the trail will briefly level off. Enjoy the respite because it doesn’t last long. Just as the trail reaches one last final push to the Skyline Trail, it crosses over to the southside of the ridge. Again, ignore the may social trails that will go off to both the right and left.
As you close in on the Skyline Trail, the dense forest will fall away and rocky meadows will take its place. In this section, large cairns will help guide you where the tread becomes minimal.
After 2.2 miles from the Sparks Trailhead and 2.5 miles from the road junction, you will reach a junction with the Skyline Trail – Trail #251 in a large open ridge top.
From Hamilton Mesa to the Rio Valdez, the trail remains in Good to Excellent condition.
Hamilton Mesa to Rio Valdez:
From the junction with the Hamilton Mesa Trail – Trail #249, the Mora Flats trail descends toward the Rio Mora. This section of trail starts in pretty aspen forest and slowly winds its way downhill to the small stream at the bottom of the valley. It is well-marked and easy to follow.
There’s a nice campsite where the trail hits the river at a junction with the Los Esteros Trail – Trail #226.
To read more about the Mora Flats Trail, see my trip report from the Pecos Falls Loop.