Hiking Columbine Canyon

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(Photos by Ellen Miller-Goins)

Last week family members from my mom Judy Miller’s side of the family came to town for a mini-family reunion. Bill and Harumi Dorrance, her brother and sister-in-law, came all the way from Kyoto, Japan. The rest came from Tucson, Arizona. We kicked things off with a hike up Columbine Canyon.

The great thing about Columbine is, this is a hike in which one can turn around at any time — the hike is that pleasurable from beginning to end. It is possible to hike all the way to Twining Campground on N.M. Highway 150 (the road to Taos Ski Valley, but one would have to arrange for a ride back.

We will occasionally hike up to a meadow with a defining feature my dad John calls “big rock” and have found chanterelle mushrooms there in years past. That meadow is also a favorite camping spot for the overnight llama trekking trips.

Colmbine is also nice for humans and dogs because it goes along the creek and stays cool in the summer months.

From the USDA Forest Service website:

This trail begins at the south end of Columbine Campground eight miles west of Red River and four miles east of Questa on State Highway 38. The trail follows Columbine Creek and passes through several open meadows. There are bridges at the first four stream crossings. After that hikers may have to wade through the creek. At the top the trail switches back up to the Hondo Ridge where it meets Lobo Peak Trail #57 and Gavilan Trail #60.

Columbine campground has water and outhouses.  There is a fee for overnight camping in the campground, but there is free parking at the trailhead.

Along Columbine Creek
Along Columbine Creek
Heading out
Heading out
Left to right: Christina Jarvis of Tucson, Arizona, Judy and John Miller of Red River, New Mexico, Mark Jarvis of Tucson, Bill Dorrance of Kyoto, Japan, Martin Munro of Tucson, Mary MIller of Taos, New Mexico, and Harumi Takikawa Dorrance of Kyoto.
Left to right: Christina Jarvis of Tucson, Arizona, Judy and John Miller of Red River, New Mexico, Mark Jarvis of Tucson, Bill Dorrance of Kyoto, Japan, Martin Munro of Tucson, Mary MIller of Taos, New Mexico, and Harumi Takikawa Dorrance of Kyoto.
Harumi Takikawa Dorrance cools off at Columbine Creek.
Harumi Takikawa Dorrance cools off at Columbine Creek.
Judy and John Miller and Martin Munro head up slow and steady.
Judy and John Miller and Martin Munro head up slow and steady.
Butterfly respite
Butterfly respite
Yuki drags Mary Miller down to Columbine Creek.
Yuki drags Mary Miller down to Columbine Creek.
Columbine is a favorite trip for a local llama trekking outfitter.
Columbine is a favorite trip for a local llama trekking outfitter.
Harumi Takikawa Dorrance enjoys the forest beauty.
Harumi Takikawa Dorrance enjoys the forest beauty.
USDA Forest Service website
USDA Forest Service website