July 2014 – Cherry Creek

Kids’ Stuff

A Cherry Creek hike even a 10-year-old can love.

by Linda Ferrara

Short and sweet — wait, is that describing the hiker or the hike?

Haylee Kelley is a 10-year-old Girl Scout I met about a year ago. She is of slight build and is sweet, inquisitive, smart and wonderful and will be in the fifth grade come August. She has lived in Silver City for most of her life and enjoys playing right and center field in softball, fishing, golfing, shooting, and playing on her tablet.

After I assured her that even if we saw a snake, the chances of us being hurt by one were slim, we went on a hike up Hwy. 15, north of town. It was a warm summer day and we talked about everything from wanting Barbie’s RV to whether we wanted to live forever or not. After much discussion we decided that we wouldn’t mind living forever as long as we could be healthy and active. We checked out a variety of flowers, leaves, bugs, and a horny toad that Haylee had no problem picking up. She even taught me a new word when she described fresh strawberries: “They’re amazalicious!”

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Here’s a description on the hike we went on:

Name: Cherry Creek

Distance: 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: Starting at the intersection of Hwy. 15 (Pinos Altos Road) and 32nd Street, travel 10 miles up Hwy. 15. Park in the small pull-off on the right. Walk to the other side of the road and back up the road where you just came from. You will soon see a trail that goes into the woods. Follow this trail as it meanders along Cherry Creek.

Hike Description:
This is an easy, shady hike for a warm summer day. It is mostly flat with a few small hills to climb, sheer rock surfaces that are easily traversed and several downed trees to negotiate. Be sure to look up through the trees and enjoy the interesting rock formations high above. Along the way, you will encounter small ponds and waterfalls. At the 0.7-mile marker you may even be tempted to climb and explore some of the boulders. At the 0.8-mile mark, the trail ends (or at least I can’t find the way through). When you get towards the end, the trail forks and is occasionally hidden. After a little searching, you’ll find your way. (Remember, you’re walking along a creek with steep walls — just keep near the stream and you’ll be fine.) If you go during monsoon season, please be careful as there are many creek crossings.

Would you recommend this hike to other kids? Haylee answered slowly, “Well… yeah, it’s a lot more fun than playing video games!”

Columnist’s Note: I originally had another hike planned for this month’s column. On May 6, 2014, I hiked on the CD Trail off of Signal Peak with a member of the local Audubon Society who taught me a lot about birding in the area. I eagerly went home and wrote up a delightfully interesting article about my experience. Five days later, the very trail we were on was engulfed in the Signal Fire that burned 5,485 acres in the Gila. I felt sick thinking of the forest I love so much burning. I’d spotted a western tanager (a beautiful yellow and red bird) on our hike, and when the fire was raging I kept wondering where that bird ended up (sigh).

I will write a new article in the future about hikes for birders, but in the meantime I thought this might be a good time to share a few resources regarding fires. You can follow Gila National Forest fire incidents at: inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/3178.

There was a Facebook page set up that shared information and photos of the Signal Peak fire: www.facebook.com/SignalFireNM. So if there’s another fire, you might search on Facebook to see if they have a page for information.

If you’re interested in learning more about fire management, I suggest you read “Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout” by Philip Connors. It discusses his experiences as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest. If you’re a nature lover, this book will remind you of why you are. It explains a lot about the life of the forest and the cycles it goes through. The Silver City Museum has copies for sale, and the Public Library of Silver City has a few copies to borrow.

This was first published in Desert Exposure – July 2014

See a collection of Linda Ferrara’s previous 100 Hikes columns
at www.desertexposure.com/100hikes.


About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on June 30, 2014, in Desert, Gila National Forest, Hike, Hiking, Nature, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Outdoors, Silver City, Southwest, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I and a friend tried to find this trail and failed. Mile marker 10 on Rte. 15 seems to be missing, and there are many turnouts on the right, but none at exactly 10 miles by our odometer. I assume this is north of Little Cherry Creek Ranch. Is the trail north or south of the Ben Lilly Memorial? If you get to Cherry Creek campground, have you gone too far?

    • Hi Sue, It is past Little Cherry Creek Ranch before the campground, and north of Ben Lilly. When you’re on Highway 15 and pass the Cherry Creek Ranch turnoff…. you travel up the hill and pass the Ben Lilly Memorial. The road turns to the right and travels uphill. You are soon driving up on a ridge. Then the road starts going downward. When you reach the bottom of this hill, there is a 2-car parking spot on the right. park here and the trail is on your left – across the highway. With all the rain we’ve had, it probably is overgrown with grass so look around or just bushwhack down into the gully – where the creek runs. Try again – it’s a nice trail – let me know how you do, ok?

      • Thanks for getting back! Not sure when I’ll get back up there, but I’ll let you know when I do. We finally hiked at McMillan campground, and the damp piney woods were fragrant and peopled with surprising flowers — and bugs!

      • Linda, We found it, and we did it! I think we got to the same point you did, where the trail disappears into the steep rock walls. We counted 11 creek crossings, the 4th being the first time we crossed after the creek bottom became bedrock. We named a point near the end the “Little Grand Canyon;” it may be the same place as your picture. We loved it — perfect hike for a couple of “old broads.” It took us 50 minutes out, with lots of stops to look around and figure out the trail and look up and Oh and Ah, and then 30 minutes to get back. We neglected to take insect repellent; it would have been a good thing to have today. Thanks for a great hike, Suzanne Thompson Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:05:51 +0000 To: sudzysue@hotmail.com

  2. Good to hear, Suzanne! I like it because it’s close to town, shaded and pretty. Keep on hiking!

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