Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Story goes that ranchers in 1881 got lost in the deserts. Had no water. With their horses failing they spotted the limestone walls of one more canyon. This would be their last chance.

My guidebook author called this one of my favourite spots in all of New Mexico.

It has plenty of water year round. A rarity in this part of the world.

I started late in the afternoon as it was only 2.7 miles to the recommended campsites.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

The light gorgeous.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Here’s that water that saved the ranchers.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Obviously this canyon floods at times.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico I checked out the campsites. Too exposed. It was very, very windy.

Instead I hunkered down in this more sheltered spot.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Having forgotten my bear bag rope, I instead tossed my food bag up into a tree attached to a loose branch. Ingenious improvisation I thought … at the time.

The wind blew it down during the night. Happily my food stayed undisturbed lying on the ground.

Next morning I had the option to try to loop to famed Sitting Bull Falls.

But to save time I opted to backtrack from here, visiting  the falls via the front door.

Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico

As you probably would guess, the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull never visited New Mexico.

This is a great hike. Highly recommended. We’ve added it to our list of best hikes in North America.

 

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