Cimarron Canyon

(Cimarron NM)
Where the Mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail turned southward toward Fort Union laid the town of Cimarron. The ‘Old Town’ portion remains featuring the St.James Hotel, Aztec Mill, Immaculate Conception Chapel, a saloon, a plaza, some homes, and a few businesses.

Cimarron Canyon Pond

Cimarron Canyon

The hotel was built during pioneer days, and still operates. The stone mill too was established early on and produced flour for the town, the trail, and the area’s Apache natives. Cimarron was the headquarters for managing the huge Maxwell Land Grant that covered most of northeast New Mexico.

Cimarron Old Town, Aztec Mill

Aztec Mill is now a Museum

Cimarron Old Town, St.James Hotel

Saint James Hotel

In the surrounding area was the famed Philmont Boy Scout Ranch and museum, the summer home of oilman Waite Phillips, a settlement built by Kit Carson, a display explaining the Santa Fe Trail, and of course the Cimarron River flowing out of the canyon. All would be worth a visit on another occasion.

Cimarron Old Town, Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception Chapel

Cimarron Canyon, Cimarron River

Cimarron River

(Ute Park NM)
Going west from town the road followed the river up into Cimarron Canyon. I found a campsite right next to the river and stayed a few days. The camp was in a place where the river divided into two streams and then rejoined forming an island. It was very popular with many fishermen coming from Colorado and Texas.

Cimarron Canyon Wildflowers

Wildflowers near Camp

Cimarron Canyon, Palisades

Cimarron Canyon Palisades

Upon leaving, I stopped to see the Palisades featuring 400ft high granite cliffs along the river and next to a picnic area. Continuing on, I hiked up the mountain following a creek looking for a waterfall. And, also checked on another campground further along.

Cimarron Canyon, Cimarron River

Cimarron River

Cimarron Canyon was a beautiful place, with the highway ascending up about 2,000ft from the town of Cimarron to the cute mountain village of Eagle Nest. Many pretty pull-outs along the way with fishing spots and hiking trails into the mountains.

Camp: Cimarron Canyon SP-Maverick CG drycamp
Scene: Old town, river, mountains, cliffs, trails

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4 Responses to Cimarron Canyon

  1. Bradford Harris June 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    I loved those pictures! There are places in northern Iowa with similar streams. As I looked at the pictures I was thinking “I’d fish that hole”, etc. That looks like an angler’s heaven. I imagine it was peaceful and quiet camping there. The scenery is breathtaking!

    • Pleinguy June 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks Brad. Fishermen were coming and going all day, everyday. It truly was a beautiful place. Camping was relatively quiet. But, since it was a state park, not nearly as peaceful as the boondock camps I prefer.

  2. Jody Jones October 26, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    Beautiful photos! Did you paint any of these places in Cimarron or Cimarron Canyon? I love these pictures, but am looking for a painting. We stay here every summer. I am originally from Cimarron.

    • Pleinguy October 28, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      Sorry, no paintings of the area. It is indeed a beautiful place.

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