Great Places to Walk in Grant County
Quick Quiz: Name the one exercise proven to lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and dementia?
Walking has been proven to do all the above and more. Putting one foot in front of the other remains the simplest, easiest and healthiest exercise there is! The Fitness and Nutrition in the Community Team (FANC) has 20 great trails for EVERYONE to try out in Grant County. The team walked throughout the county to bring you a variety of trail experiences ranked by four-difficulty levels from beginning walkers to experienced hikers.
Download your free trail map or pick one up at the following locations:
Gila Hike and Bike
Silver City Town Hall
The Silver City/Grant County Chamber of Commerce
and many more....
**Please be aware the photograph quality of the trail map in the .pdf version of this brochure is fuzzy. Please contact the Health Council or visit one of the location the trail guide is available at for a clear copy.
FEATURED TRAIL OF THE MONTH!
San Vicente Creek Trail
Level 2 (Easy/Moderate: hard packed earth, unpaved, slight inclines/declines, few steps and curves)
When Shel Silverstein, poet and illustrator, wrote of Where the Sidewalk Ends
, he might have pictured a place very much like the San Vicente Creek Trail where the concrete and asphalt of urban life abruptly give way to green wildlands only a child could imagine a hop, skip and a jump from busy downtown.
The trailhead is located at the end of downtown Bullard Street in Silver City, where you would least expect to find it.
Past the stoplight towards the end of Bullard St. the traffic gives way to an empty street and an open parking lot, located across the street from Bad Ass Bakery. The concrete and asphalt end abruptly in the dirt lot that old timers will remember as the location of the roller skating rink some 20 years ago.
A dirt road unfurls into a trail that leads to a land of lush greenness never imagined in the desert of New Mexico-- San Vicente Creek Trail.
Our group, guided by Mary Stoecker and Melvyn Gelb (NM Public Health), headed down the dirt parking lot past the old skating rink, turning to the right. We walked about a block down the dirt road to just below the Highway 180 bridge, off towards the left of the bridge was the trail head, a rapid decline into the creek.
The San Vicente Creek is an extension of the Big Ditch Park. The original Big Ditch was created by several severe floods, the last of which in 1904, washed away Main Street and left a 55-foot deep arroyo and creek. The trail is a new addition to the park and open spaces of Grant County. San Vicente Creek Trail leads from downtown Silver City to Mountain View Road to the east and to the Golf Course located to the south, traveling along the creek and between the domed hills.
Immediately the walker is enveloped in greenery. The kind you would expect to see in east of the Mississippi. One of our group likened it to the lushness of Pennsylvania farm country.
The trail begins right by the creek. I stopped to take this shot. A perfect location for a picnic, I thought. Watch out for broken bottles at the beginning of the trail!
The trail winds around the creek in a small loop, 1/2 mile. Watch for the turn in the loop on the left-hand side or you could end up at Mountain View Road. The trail mostly consists of a single-person width, packed dirt trail, but after crossing the creek (which means you missed the turn for the loop) it again turns into a wide dirt road that is rarely used except by utility workers. Residents might remember the encampment of homeless located in years past out by the creek. That no longer exists. The trail is very safe and in the open so there is little fear of crime.
The trail also cuts over an old landfill and the neatest artifacts turn up. My cousins found a 1900 store sign and some beautiful shards of porcelain.
The trail meanders through the grasslands with cactus dotting the landscape. This biome stretches from the edge of the creek up to Mountain View Road (a secondary trail head with a nice parking area and great fenced off entrance). Dogs and strollers are manageable down the trail at the Mountain View end, which is a little wider and a significant portion is dirt road way, but be careful taking the trail back up the hill. It's not well marked and ambles between multiple hills so watch which offshoot trail up the hill you take or you could face a steep climb up!
Our group missed the turn to stay on the 1/2 mile loop trail (the sign had fallen over) and ended up at the creek crossing. The old board that used to bridge the river is now replaced by a wonderful pathway of native rocks. This bridge is where you cross over to better terrain and a nice dirt road that leads either to Mountain View or the Golf Course. We encountered a family with their pets out for a stroll.
We backtracked about a block (.01 miles) and found the turn that led us by the side of the creek past towering trees with twisted branches. There were swaths of wild flowers and knee-high native gamma grass. The trail was beautiful and easily managed with very few declines/ inclines on the 1/2 mile loop. This is not true of the Mountain View entrance where there is a big incline/decline, but the trail snakes wonderfully so the angles aren't that bad--easily manageable by strollers. My 4 year-old daughter loved the trail-way from Mountain View. She had no trouble walking the entire length without complaint.
The 1/2 mile loop was so enjoyable the walk was over before I expected. I didn't even feel like I had walked 1/2 mile at all with the wonderful cool canopy of the riparian valley shading us. The flowers are fabulous on the San Vicente Trail with early Spring wildflowers in April through May, and some great sunflowers and gypsum weed blooming from July to September. The creek runs year round from the natural springs that dot the valley of Silver City, and the run off from the surrounding area. Please be careful of flash floods or rainfall as arroyos run high and the creek could overflow.
Grab your hat and water bottle for a nice quick walk downtown. If you need a weekend activity, San Vicente Creek Trail is the perfect spot to take your family for a picnic next to a beautiful creek while you enjoy the shade of the towering trees and colorful flowers.
For more information on this trail and others in Grant County, call the Health Council for your Trail Guide at 388-1198 ext. 10.