Continental Divide Trail South

Milky Way over Cuba Mesa. 

Milky Way over Cuba Mesa. 

Distance: 7.0 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

The Continental Divide Trail South begins 4 miles southwest of Cuba on a dirt road that runs south from mile marker 4 on NM 197. It follows the roadway approximately 1 ½ miles until - after passing sandstone cliffs - it crosses the wide Chijuilla Wash. It then follows posts and cairns (large rock pile markers) through a wide arroyo to the top of Mesa Portales. The trail takes you south along the Mesa rim for another 2 miles before descending from the Mesa and heading to La Ventana Mesa, Mount Taylor and the Mexican border, 400 miles away. you can turn around or continue at this point. There are scenic vistas along the entire route including badlands, sandstone cliffs, and mountain and mesa views from the Mesa Portales rim. You stay in pinon~juniper woodland, but shade can be scarce. Bring plenty of food and water for extended hikes.