“You’ve got to go see the Catwalk. Take your camera.” Those were the words of an adventurous friend of mine from Benson, Arizona. He was right about this being one of those kind of Best Kept Secrets of places to see.
We had planned a trip to New Mexico to see my son planned the weekend of February 19 and 20th so we decided we would go on Friday and stop off at the Catwalk in Glenwood, NM, as it was only a little ways out of the way.
The Catwalk is a National Recreational Trail and was built in the 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps to hang a pipe line up a narrow rocky canyon of Whitewater Creek. As the pipeline always needed work, workmen walked the pipe, to get to places it needed repairs and was dubbed “the catwalk”. More on this interesting place can be found on this web page: http://www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/trailNRT/Catwalk-NM.html
The Catwalk is about 5 miles northeast of the little town of Glenwood, NM on Highway 180 in Southwest New Mexico. This is about 30 miles northwest of Silver City. As Glenwood is a little over 5000 feet elevation this is high grasslands with scattered juniper and pine trees. To the East is the Gila National Forest where the Gila Cliff Dwelling are found.
There is a large parking area at the mouth of the canyon and has very nice picnic area. There are numerous white barked sycamore trees along the creek with are beautiful without their leaves.
Within a few hundred yards the canyon really narrows and you come to the first bridge. There are trails on both sides of the canyon for the first quarter mile or so but soon you come to a bridge where they join. It isn’t long before you start to see the extensive bridging and the holes where the old pipe was anchored on the rock walls. Further up you can still see some small sections of the pipe that hasn’t been removed.
The creek was low but there still was enough flow to make some small but beautiful waterfalls. The trail is only about a little over a mile long but packs a lot of beauty. Around every rock and turn there is something new that will catch your eye. Here are a few of the photos I shot on the way up.
Finally you come to the end of the trail that is under a huge overhanging rock. A short distance back another trail take off that goes up along one ridge for a few more miles. I really wanted to explore that too but I was running short on time.
Still haven’t got enough of this place? Here are a few more shots I took on the way back down. You could really spend a whole day up there as the colors shift with the sun moving across the sky, warming the colorful rock walls. So here we go, back down the trail:
By the time I got back to the car I was really impressed with this place. If you have a list of places to see and things to do, I’d sure put this one on your list. It’s not too far from the Gila Cliff Dwellings and both are well worth the drive if you are in Arizona or New Mexico.
I hope you enjoyed this hike as much as I did. Keep looking for the beauty in your world, and for adventures all around you.