It's a beautiful drive up New Mexico Hwy 15. You can drive through the little mountain town of Pinos Altos, home of the unique Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House. The saloon was originally built in 1860 and has recently undergone extensive renovations. We stopped in to see some live music recently and really enjoyed the place. They've done a great job of maintaining a comfy old west vibe. The food looks good too!
|The Buckhorn Saloon, built circa 1860.|
|The Opera House is next door to the Saloon, and was built in 1969, even though it looks just as old.|
We haven't been inside yet...
Soon we were in the Ponderosa Pine forests of the Gila Wilderness.
|The start of Signal Peak trail.|
The trail was 2.5 miles to the top and was nonstop climbing through open ponderosa pine forest. Occasionally there were giant boulder outcroppings in the middle of the forest.
|Love the curved trunk!|
We stopped at a rock outcropping just shy of the summit for some lovely views to the West.
|This rock outcropping is just a few hundred feet from the summit, an excellent spot for lunch.|
|You can see for many miles, range after range of mountains.|
|You can see Hans taking in the view just below the tower room.|
|View to the North West into the Gila Wilderness.|
This was a pretty hike and excellent workout. We both agree though, that 1700 feet of elevation gain in 2.5 miles was a little more vertical than we really like to do unless we are feeling 100%! I think this hike would also be very pretty in the fall due to the number of deciduous trees we saw along the way.