Yost Escarpment Trail

(nr Upham NM)
Hiked out to the Yost Escarpment on a 1 1/2 mile trail that went onto a portion of the historic Jornada del Muerto section of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. That was the most dangerous area of the 1,600 miles trade route that went from Mexico City to Santa Fe.

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Yost Escarpment Trail – Pond on the Way

Located east of the Río Grande, Jornada del Muerto (journey of the deadman in Spanish) extended for about 90 miles from about Hatch to San Antonio, and between the San Andres Mountains and the Caballo and Fra Cristobal Ranges. It was a shorter and less hazardous track than staying on the west side of the river.

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Beginning of Trail

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Faint Footpath to Follow

Little water, shelter or grazing was found along that stretch. Best time to travel was at night and during the summer monsoon season praying for rain. There was also a risk of attack by Comanche or Apache natives during the week it took to cover that part.

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Sometimes a Marker to Show the Way

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Obvious when on the Royal Road

Mexican freight wagons with wheels 8 to 10 feet high hauled up to 6 tons each being pulled by up to 16 mules or oxen. Smaller wagons or hand carts were used for light loads. Herds of livestock often accompanied them, and people generally walked.

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Edge of Escarpment – End of Trail

El Camino Real-Jornada del Muerto

Probable Wagon Ramp Down the Slope

Many of the towns along the Río Grande parts of the road were originally camps or way stations for the travelers; El Paso, La Mesilla, and Socorro are a few. It was a thrill to walk in the path of those hardy souls.

Camp: Elephant Butte Lake SP-Lions Beach Rd
Scene: Historic trail

Also see: El Camino Real and Point of Rocks Trail

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2 Responses to Yost Escarpment Trail

  1. Barney Ward November 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    I did not know about the trail that can be followed now. I knew about the historical trail and had no idea of a current hikeable part of it. Thanks for the great coverage. Another reason to get on up to NM sooner rather than later.

    • Pleinguy November 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

      It’s a relatively new access trail opened in late 2010. An easy hike, and the trailhead is on a nice paved road.

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