Catwalk Canyon - New Mexico
Date Walked: 19th February 2009
Distance: 2.3 miles (3.8 km)
Actual Ascent: 129ft (39m)
Time Taken: 1 hour
In February 09 I took a trip to see the Mogollon cliff dwellings in the Gila National Forest area in the South West area of New Mexico, whilst planning the route I noticed on the map 'Catwalk Canyon' - a quick search on google told me it was a structure used by miners to go to and from work until the mines closed, the catwalk was then refurbished and opened as part of a national recreation area.
The pictures of a steel structure attached to the side of a canyon wall intrigued me sufficiently to take a short detour and walk the 'catwalk'.
Arriving in the car park, it seems to be a very well looked after location
A quick look at the map shows it is a straight up and down route with the opportunity of a slight detour toward the end, the path at the beginning is suitable for all ages.
It is soon apparent that the earlier path is only to ensure all ages can reach the associated picnic area and I turned onto the miners trail.
Soon around the corner the start of the 'catwalk' comes into view.
Tethered to the canyon wall with steel cable and supported beneath by cantilever posts it is quite a thing
The canyon wall provides a welcome shade as you meander through the maze of catwalk looking down through the grills at the water below in this surreal wander.
The metal twister continues in a seemingly endless snake along the cool canyon wall
There are occasional viewpoints and seating areas looking into the canyon at the myriad of small waterfalls that bubble below
The catwalk breaks after a while and opens out further
mind your head......
Climbing up the canyon on the twisting pathway provides views back down to the crossings below
The path is ever changing in appearance and moves between huge rocks with regularity
looking back down a steep incline with handrail provided
Occasionally a ladder ensures a safe traverse of loose scree on an incline
These are a little easier than stepping stones
climbing high up the canyon wall again I look back to see two people on a bridge below
A cable bridge provides a swaying flexible connection to the final stages
Soon after the swaying bridge is the end of the walk beneath an overhang looking down to what would be a beautiful waterfall at the right time of year
The return is the same path until close to the end where a slight detour is available
After descending these steps I couldn't help but wonder about that bent step, falling rocks I hope rather than falling heads...
Finally a long metal bridge back across the river to the picnic area and car park, definitely one of the strangest walks I've ever done but really enjoyable and interesting.