Philmont Trek Route #7

by Brian Gannon <briang@vt.edu> Date: Sat, 02 May 1998 17:20:02 -0400
I went on Trek 7 in 1996 and it is indeed a good trip. Lots of program opportunities.

Cathedral Rock: Your bus will drop you off at Cimarroncito turnaround. From there, it less than a mile hike to Cathedral Rock camp. It is my favorite starting camp, nestled in the shadows of Cathedral Rock. Water source is the stream. If you get into camp early in the day, Window Rock makes an excellent sidehike.

Lamberts Mine: Hike up to the reservoir, follow the road north to the Hunting Lodge. When you get to the Hunting Lodge, take the trail to the left that follows the Middle Fork. It is a pretty hike, not too difficult. When you get to the "T" intersection, go left to Lamberts Mine camp. It is a remote and isolated camp. I recommend hiking to Cyphers Mine (about an hour) to participate in the program (blacksmithing, mine tour, gold panning). If you want, you can take dinner with you and stay for the evening program, which is very well done. If you do this, be sure to also take warm clothing and flashlights for the hike back to Lamberts.

Mt. Phillips: Probably your most difficult day. Hike up to Cyphers and fill up all of your water containers: this will be your last opportunity to get water until tomorrow. Then head west towards Thunder Ridge along the new ridge trail. It's long, but not too steep. From Thunder Ridge, head south over Comanche Peak and down into the saddle between Comanche and Phillips. If you are in desperate need of water, there is a trail that leads to Red Hills camp, where a stream can be found running through the lower campsites. Otherwise, continue on towards Phillips. There are two sections of campsites located just before the summit. There is no water anywhere nearby and the campsites are not that great. The summit offers fantastic views so be sure to enjoy them. Once the sun goes down, it will get very chilly. I highly recommend eating a lunch instead of a dinner so you can save water.

Porcupine: A long hike today, but a much easier one. Continue over the summit and down into Clear Creek. Take a break, fill up water, and take in some program. It's all downhill into Porcupine Camp, which has several nice campsites along the stream. You will need to pick up food at Phillips Junction, which is about a half-hour hike past Porcupine.

Beaubien: Easy hike today. Hike to Phillips Junction then north along the trail into Beaubien. Should take less than two hours. A nice chance to relax and take showers, though you won't be alone since Beaubien is a very busy camp.

Layover: There are two good sidehikes you can do today. The first is to hike north to Black Mountain Camp, which offers Black Powder rifle shooting. It is a nice hike and Black Mountain is an exciting camp. Give yourself four to six hours. Or you can climb Trail Peak to see the wreckage of an old army bomber. Allow at least half a day for this strenuous hike.

Fish Camp: Another easy hike. Hike back to Phillips Junction, pick up your next supply of food, and then follow the road down to Fish Camp. A beautiful camp with excellent fishing: you'll even get to tie your own flies. Be sure to take the tour of Waite Phillips' fishing lodge.

Abreu: Hike east out of Fish Camp along the ridge trail above the Rayado River. A really pretty hike. The drop down into Old Abreu is in the open and can be hot during the afternoon hours. New Abreu is just to the east of Old Abreu. It is a fairly nice camp, but it can be hot during the day. You'll get a break from the trail food as the staff will give you all the necessary supplies to cook a Mexican dinner. The evening burro races are always a blast and afterwards you can enjoy a thirst-quenching glass of root beer in the adobe cantina.

Urraca: There are a couple of options for today's hike, but the easiest is probably to hike up to Toothache Springs then over the mesa and down the other side into Urraca Camp. Get an early start and take plenty of water, as this is a fairly difficult with little to no shade. There are some good views of the Tooth from the camp, which surrounds a beautiful meadow.

Miner's Park: Head north out of Urraca and then west towards Lovers Leap Camp. Follow the signs carefully when you get to Lovers Leap Camp: the trail to Miner's Park will circle around the meadow then cross the jeep road and lead you into Miner's Park Camp. Make sure to take the trail instead of hiking along the road into camp. Get into camp early enough so you can get some rock climbing in. Check with the camp staff about the status of the spring at Shaffers Pass.

Base Camp: Get as early a start as possible today--you have a fairly long and difficult hike. Fill up with water before leaving camp. Continue hiking north up to Shaffer's Pass Camp. In the southwest corner of the meadow there, there is a small spring. It is usually fairly dependable but it has been known to dry up. This is your last chance to get water before base camp. Tooth Ridge is a difficult hike, so make sure everyone fills up here. From the camp, take the trail up to the top of Shaffer's Peak. When you get the top, the peak is actually about 100 yards down the trail to the left--nice views. The Tooth Ridge Trail goes off to the right. It is a rocky trail with lots of ups and downs--watch your footing. When you get to the base of the tooth, you can drop your packs and take a side hike (really more of a climb) up to the top to enjoy the 360-degree views. From there, it is a two-hour hike back to base camp, downhill all the way. If you didn't get an early start, the afternoon thunderstorms will be chasing you all the way down.

Have a good trek,

Brian Gannon
ASM, Troop 1113 Fairfax, VA


See also: