Road trip guide: Conquering South Baldy in NM
South Baldy is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 3.288m (10,789ft) above the sea level, located in Socorro County, in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It’s one of the highest roads of New Mexico.
Set high in the Magdalena Mountains of the Cibola National Forest, the road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called Forest Road 235. It’s a rocky single lane, near vertical slope-hugging mountain road, which is usually passable for a rugged sedan, though the traction of a four wheel drive vehicle may make all the difference, even in the summer. Near the summit are 2 observatories: Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research and Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO).
The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at the paved US-60, the ascent is 20.59km (12.8 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 1.431 meters. The average gradient is 6.94%. This road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow). It is not generally snow-free until late June or even July in some years.
Pic: Tom Hook