Broke Mesa loop is a hike near White Rock in north-central New Mexico that is pieced together using several trails that are open to the public on U.S. Department of Energy land. Warm October weather made it perfect for turning it into a beer hike capped by one of the many Oktoberfest beers available at the store this year.
The route can be traveled in either direction, but I chose clockwise this time. Water Canyon is a broad, fairly flat meadow between dramatic cliffs when starting to the east from NM Highway 4. By the time you reach the intersection with Broken Mesa Trail (I prefer to call it Broke Mesa – sounds more colorful), Water Canyon is beginning to turn into a big, dramatic canyon as it plunges toward the Rio Grande.
Broken Mesa trail climbs up a north-facing canyonside to a notch in the mesa above and passes through just before intersecting with a spur up to Powerline Road on the next mesa south. Ignoring that spur leads farther up the canyon to a climb through another notch and descent back down a rough trail back into Water Canyon. This trail eventually intersects with Lion Cave Trail which travels back west up a narrower, brushy canyon back to the starting point.
The Broke Mesa Loop Hike is about three and a half miles (6 km) and ranges between 6250 feet and 6500 feet in altitude (1900 to 2000 m) with some ups and downs along the way. The proliferation of trails in this area provides many opportunities for route variations and creating other loops both shorter and longer.
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