PicketWire Canyon

Camp & Ride

MUST RSVP to rmch.info@gmail.com so we know how many ppl to expect on the rides

May 3 , 4, 5, 2024 - No Horse Need & RMBCH membership not required for camping or enjoying the canyon on your own.    

Full details and options below

RMBCH, along with friends of Picketwire Canyon, will host a weekend of camping under the stars in Otero county. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower 2024 peaks on the night of May 4, with minimal moonlight interference for meteor watching, and what better place to enjoy it than in a true “dark sky” location? As with most meteor showers, the peak viewing time will be a bit before dawn.

Weekend Itinerary:

Friday, 5/3: arrive to campsite/corrals to set up your camp how you like. If time, you will be able to explore the ATV roads on foot or horseback that evening. You can also plan to arrive Saturday morning before the ride, but others will be there to help you set up camp after dark Friday night if needed.

Saturday, 5/4: For RMBCH members who RSVP - they can join ride leader Hillary for a full day ride (up to 20 miles roundtrip, with trotting and cantering when/where safe to do so) to view all that Picketwire has to offer, including Dolores Mission, its cemetery, and of course the largest dinosaur track site in North America. Be ready to ride (boots in stirrups/butts in saddles) at 11am, plan for up to six hours of saddle time with a late (BYO) lunch out on the trail at the halfway point. Our goal is to get to Rourke Ranch (established 1871), but we will turn around at the dino trax if our time is limited due to weather or other constraints. You also have the option to shorten the overall ride if you trailer your horse to Withers Canyon Trailhead, instead of riding the road from the Picketwire Corrals (shaves 6 miles off the total distance, but the road is very washboarded and takes a while to navigate).

*That evening, we hope to have fireside musical entertainment, but that will depend on county fire restrictions. Early to bed tonight, as we plan to get up early Sunday before dawn (4-5am) to view the Eta Aquarids.*

Sunday, 5/5: Pack up and head home in the afternoon, stop and check out Vogel Canyon for the petroglyphs if desired (no horses allowed on these short hiking trails).

***If you plan to camp with your equine partner, be sure to bring adequate water for them. Corrals are first come, first serve, so bring back-up containment for your horse. Portable corral or containment needed, there are no places to highline unless you set up between two trailers. There are vault toilets at the corrals, but no other amenities and we can almost guarantee it will be windy there (day and night). As of early April, there are no fire restrictions in the area, but please make sure to look before buying anything for a fire. For those interested in riding to the dinosaur tracks, or further to Rourke Ranch, overall the trail is rated as “leisurely/conditioning” (2-3 peppers) except for the first half mile down into the canyon from Withers Trailhead. This section is steep, rocky, and challenging and may require you to hand-walk an inexperienced equine down into the canyon. After that, the rest of the low elevation trail is wide, easy, with rolling hills and beautifully unique views. Be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and gopher holes. There is one place to get water for horses each way, so make sure your horse is well-hydrated going into the ride! You may want to have bug spray for you and the horses, as the flies could still be out. Horses participating in Saturday’s guided ride must be safe at walk/trot/canter in a group to join.***

Don’t have horses? NO PROBLEM! You can hike or bike this trail, or sign up for a guided auto tour through the local Forest Service (https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/234166).

Info about the area: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recarea/?recid=77620"

Picketwire Corrals, M95J+G2 La Junta, Colorado

37.658759, -103.620083

Coming from hwy50, head west on US-350 briefly until you can take a left onto Co Rd 26. Follow this road until it ends (about 6 miles) and you have to turn right on Co Rd R, then left on Co Rd 25. In about 13 miles, you’ll come to a four-way intersection with a vault toilet and the corrals. See less