A shorter section of the CDT connecting the Gateway Community of Silver City to Sapillo Campground, via the historic Pinos Altos Mountains.



day +








FATMAP difficulty grade



This segment of the CDT begins in Silver City, New Mexico, just southwest of town at the trailhead for the Boston Hill Open Space.

As the trail's first *Gateway Community*, Silver City offers "a vibrant community and a hotbed for the arts...

tucked in the high desert of southwest New Mexico on the ancestral land of the Chiricahua Apache Nation," best described by the [CDT Coalition](https://continentaldividetrail.org/cdt-gateway-communities/silver-city/). Heading north, the CDT follows the road out of town before veering west on Bear Mountain Road and into Gila National Forest.

An official trailhead is located along the road (CDT mile marker 167.4), and offers overnight parking since there are few choices in town.

The next several miles of the trail intermingle with remote forest roads, passing through the Wagon Wheel Trailhead, then continuing onto Pinos Altos at NM-15. Those looking for a nearby day hike should set their sights on the Walnut-Gomez Peak Day Use Area near Little Walnut Village.

Though there is no water on-site, the picnic area is generally open from 8:00 a.m.

through sunset, except during the winter.

Enjoy the afternoon grilling, playing volleyball, horseshoes, or call the Silver City Ranger District at 575-388-8201 to reserve the large group picnic area.

A spur trail offers access to the CDT, while the Gomez Peak, Mountain Loop, Ponderosa Loop, Pinon Loop Trails can all be accessed from the picnic area.

Named after the official state tree, the dry Chihuahuan Desert now transitioned to high mountain peaks, and you've probably noticed the change in flora along the trail - notably, the piñon trees found at varying elevations.

Native to New Mexico and other select portions of the southwest, these small pine trees yield an edible seed that is best harvested mid-summer or into the early fall.

The tree offered an important food source to natives, and the wood produces a distinct fragrance that makes it a prized choice for firewood.

Though the small community of Pinos Altos is home to less than 200 full-time residents as of 2010 [source](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinos_Altos,_New_Mexico), the abandoned mining town nearby caters to tourists, offers numerous vacation rentals, and is home to the historic Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House.

The town was "originally named Birchville, after prospector and former outlaw, Robert H.

Birch, one of three people who found the first gold," though it later adopted the Spanish name Pinos Altos, which translates to "tall pines." Heading slightly northeast from town, the final section of trail is the most scenic, as CDT skirts the summit of Twin Sister (~8,300'), then crosses over Black Peak along the same ridgeline as Signal Peak.

As one of five *Black Peaks* in the state, the summit is much less of a destination with day hikers, though the fire lookout on Signal Peak is well-worth the visit.

Signal is also accessible by road, for those looking to skip the hike. For thru-hikers, long portions of this segment offer limited water sources, according to the [CDT Water Report](https://continentaldividetrail.org/water-report/).

Mile marker 170 to 200 has no notable sources, though the water at Sapillo Creek near the segment's end is noted as a great source.

The campground also hosts plenty of parking and is listed as overnight-friendly if you need to leave a vehicle there. Sources: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gila/recarea/?recid=9920 https://www.summitpost.org/black-peak/199430 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinyon_pine