Ride to Silver City and Catwalk Trail

Albuquerque – Socorro  – Williamsburg – NM 152 –  Hillsboro – Santa Clara – Sliver City – Cliff – Catwalk Trail – Reserve – Datil – Magdalena – Socorro – Albuquerque

Day 1 – Ride from Albuquerque to Silver City with a ride on US 152 through the Black Hills–Took I 25 for 152 miles south to Williamsburg, exited to NM 187, then south on NM 187 and west on NM 152 for 65 miles, then west on US 180 into Silver City. Day 2 – Ride from Silver City to Albuquerque with a stop for lunch in Magdalena–Took US 180 north to Glenwood, then right onto NM 174 (Catwalk Road)about 5 miles to the Catwalk Trail, then back north US 180 to NM 12 and Reserve, staying on NM 12 north to US 60, then east to I 25 and north to Albuquerque.

This was a two day trip.

The ride was 545 miles with 9 1/2 hours ride time.

Saturday April 20, 2013 and Sunday April 21 2013

Google Maps
My daughter and I had this ride planned for weeks, but one event or another kept making us postpone the trip. Last year by this time I’d been on several overnight trips, this year I seem to be having trouble getting out the door and onto the road.
My daughter has a study group on Saturday mornings and as soon as it ended we hit the road.  We started by riding south on I 25, making two quick stops for gas in Socorro and Williamsburg before getting to NM 152.
NM 152 is one of New Mexico’s great motorcycle roads, one I always look forward to riding. After about 16 miles of desert we made our way to town of Hillsboro. Hillsboro was once a successful gold mining town and the Sierra County seat from 1884 until 1936.
Just a few miles past Hillsboro, right at the beginning of the Black Range, you pass over Percha Creek. At the east side of the crossing you can exit the road and cross by foot the old bridge built in 1927.
The landscape is this area is very rocky and barren and road crossing the Black Range was a major achievement for it’s time.
The next 50 miles are filled with twists and turns as you climb up and over Emory Pass. We stopped at the Emory Pass Vista to look back at the country we just rode through.
Emory Pass Vista is just off the highway and the views are well worth the short detour. You can see NM 152, Hillsboro and even the water from Caballo lake when we turned onto NM 152
Our next stop was Santa Clara and the open pit copper mine. It’s amazing to see that man can move mountains when there is a profit in making it happen.
Before riding into Silver City we stopped and set up our camp for the night at the local KOA.
In Silver City we walked around the downtown and looked in several shops and the local museum.
For an early dinner, late lunch, we ate at Jalisco Cafe, located in the southern part of downtown. We both found the food to be average and I’m still looking for a good place to eat in Silver City.
The next day we got up with the sun, made a quick stop at McDonald’s for the dollar breakfast and hit the road. Our first stop was Catwalk Trail about 60 miles north on US 180. If you are going the Catwalk you should know the road crosses the river twice. If it’s cold take some time and put on your rain gear—you will get wet. This was a lesson I learned on the way in, giving me wet pants for the next couple of hours.
The mining town of Graham was located where the picnic grounds parking lot now stands. The ruins of the mill built in 1893 are still visible on one of canyon walls.
A water pipeline was built up Whitewater Canyon in 1893 to provide water for the mill and Graham. This pipeline was considered to be an engineering feat and was in need of ongoing maintenance. The hanging walkway that was used by the workmen to repair the water line was named the “Catwalk.
Last year the forest fires cause major flooding in the canyon and they they closed the Catwalk Trail. They opened the trail back up, but the best parts are still closed.
After walking the trail we rode back to US 180 and started for Reserve. The speed limit on NM 12 between Reserve and Datil had been dropped to 45 MPH for some reason.
Whenever I’m passing the VLA on US 60, I can’t help but stop and take a picture. These giant disks pointing to the heavens, looking for answers, speak to the adventurer in me.
We stopped at the Magdalena Cafe for lunch. This cafe has become one of my favorite places to eat. The first thing I do is check their special, then I look at the current dessert list. The special on this day was lasagna with a salad and garlic bread–it was very good. Then we split some cherry crumble for dessert.
This was a very nice trip, we saw some great things, got a little wind blown and laughed a lot. My daughter found a picture game that she could beat me at, well not just beat me–destroy me, would be a better term and she loved it.

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