CDT Day 26 (NM – Pie Town to Grants)

El Malpais and Zuni-Bonita Canyons


  • Cebolla Alt. Miles: 22.8-25.5 (2.7)
  • CDT Miles: 503.2-496.7 “sobo” (6.5)
  • Bonita-Zuni Alt. Miles: 0.0-15
  • Total Hiked: 420.9
  • Elevation Range: 6,840-7730

Best cowboy camping experience on this trail so far. Still, I prefer my tent by a long shot, but good to know it’s doable when in a bind. I packed up, stretched out a bit, and prepared to sneak back to the road. It was around 6:20am when I started walking.

Started the day on the same busy (not so busy this early in the morning) highway as yesterday. In fact, I started going right towards the cool rock structure I’d seen from up above on the rim in yesterday.

After a few miles I reached my turning off point, the Acoma-Zuni Trail.

Happy to see it was actual trail!

At least at the beginning things started that way. As I got further into the lava field it became more of a scramble, just trying to find cairns through the maze. Such an array of different lava features. Ropy textures, smooth domes, big cracks, gnarly melted-looking stuff, giant sinkhole structures, and jumbled up coarse stuff.

And in all of this coarse and abrasive rock were these flowers.

I had a long breakfast stop in the middle of this stretch. It was slow walking and tough on the feet. I was happy to see the volcanic stuff, very different and interesting, but happy to get out of it too. It was only about 6.5 miles, but felt longer.

Here’s upon reaching the other side.

Not long after this, I reached a trailhead/parking area along Highway 53. Stopped for a bit, threw away some of my trash to save about .8 ounces, then continued across the road. I was tempted to take lunch at the picnic table there, but needed water, so had to keep pushing a few more miles.

The rest of the day was walking a series of different roads, starting as a two track, then gravel, and eventually a wide gravel road with some speedy traffic. This is now the blue line that goes up Bonita Canyon and then Zuni Canyon. Quite a pretty walk and two great water sources too.

It was so nice to be in camp at a decent time (6:30pm) and to sleep in my tent again! Itve already become quite attached to it and its become my cozy home out here.

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