Last year’s hike on the Grand Enchantment Trail was one of our most rewarding hikes. A challenge in terrain, navigation and water management, we felt a sense of pride in the completion of that route. We figured we’d give ourselves a couple years before returning to a ‘route’ type trail, but memories are short and romantic, so we are headed out for what we believe to be a similar type of adventure this spring.
So…next week we head out on the Mogollon Rim Trail!
The Mogollon Rim Trail is a creation of Brett ‘Blisterfree’ Tucker. He and his partner, Treehugger, have researched, scouted, put foot to ground on the route and created maps and guidebook information for the route. We are very excited to be among the first dozen footprints on this route. The MRT has had 3 other thru hikers to-date, and only one journal (Dirtmonger’s) that has a recap of the thru-hike experience.
On our hike of the Arizona Trail in 2015, we encountered the Mogollon Rim Trail just north of Pine, Arizona. Aptly named, Pine was the beginning of more tree covered walking as well as colder temps on the AZT hike. We expect a mix of both open and tree covered walking throughout the MRT.
What is the Mogollon Rim? The Mogollon Rim is a prominent escarpment that rises out of the desert southwest creating the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The Rim has dramatic canyons cutting into it, created by plate tectonic forces and erosion from water, ice and snow.
Official Length & Elevation: The trail, beginning in Cottonwood, Arizona and ending at the Arizona/New Mexico state line just west of Alma, NM, is roughly 480-500 miles long. The lowest point on the trail nears 3300’ and the on-trail (non-alternate) high point is over 9500’ in elevation.
We will begin our hike in Cottonwood and, time permitting, extend beyond the AZ/NM Stateline to Gila Hot Springs, some 60 miles beyond the official eastern terminus of the MRT. This will make our hike roughly 550 miles long. The extension will take us through a section that we enjoyed while hiking the Grand Enchantment Trail in 2018.
Since the MRT is a route, and not a straight-up trail, we anticipate spending time navigating, route finding, working around obstacles in canyons and washes, as well as sorting out stream/river crossings that may be challenging with the heavy precipitation that the southwestern US has received this past spring/winter. Because of this, we are planning for daily miles to be on the low side of our typical averages.