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- Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch (BTSR)
The Green Trail is the “easiest” trail on the property. The Green follows the Little Aguja Creek bed starting at Base Camp, leaves BTSR at South Gate near Blue Hole, and ends at the Indian Paintings. Much of the trail is in the creek, so expect to see softball to Volkswagen size rocks much of the way. Positively, the Green Trail is the best marked, most traveled, and has the least elevation change–only a few hundred feet start to stop. Many points of interest include: the Rock House, Needle Rock, OA Springs, the Notch, the Mountain Man Camp, Balance Rock, Tricky Gap Park, and Blue Hole.
A good trail to get on top quick. The east trailhead is located behind the swimming pool showers. The first mile will go up about 600 feet and allow a good view of the canyon, including the top of Forbidden Mountain. The next half-mile takes you up about 500 more feet to Whiskey Bottle Tank. The tank is an ideal overnight spot complete with a view of base camp, sunset/sunrise, and great stars. Don’t miss the opportunity of taking the Red Trail to Tinaja (about 25 minutes round trip from the tank). The west descent is just past Tricky Gap and is a good mile and a half down into Tricky Gap Park. Both sides are steep and rocky. Good knees, ankles, and boots are a must.
The Yellow Trail is another major trail that crosses the central part of the ranch and can be best described as a ‘Y’. The bottom of the ‘Y’ starts behind the Chapel and climbs along the ridge nearly to the top of the mountain before it splits. The west split is the rim trail and offers a breathtaking view of the Little Aguja Canyon from Needle Rock to the Indian Paintings. Later it joins the Black Trail halfway between Tricky Gap and Tricky Gap Park in an area known as Mares Flats. The east split is shorter and offers a view of base camp, the ranch road, and the highway. It also joins the Black Trail, but it intersects between Whiskey Bottle Tank and Tricky Gap near the concrete dam. The climb out of camp is tough, but don’t forget your camera on top.
The Blue Trail is a short trail, only l 1/2 miles long. The trail head starts behind the windmill at the Mountain Man Camp with a 300 ft. climb to Rustlers Flat. Make sure you stop under the Juniper Tree on the edge. It is the biggest I’ve ever seen. Legend says rustlers re-branded livestock there before selling it to Fort Davis. The trail leaves Rustlers Flat and starts descending soon after. Be sure to look for the Notch and Needle Rock on the descent. The descent is very rocky, so take it easy and leave plenty of room between members. The Blue Trail will join the Green Trail just above Needle Rock.
LOW SILVER TRAIL
The Low Silver Trail is an advanced form of the Blue Trail. It mirrors the Blue Trail, but it is a little higher and longer. The Low Silver Trail head also is behind the Windmill at the Mountain Man Camp. The most popular part of the Low Silver Trail runs up a watershed and cuts to the north into Hidden Valley. The trail after the valley is a definite “Kodak moment.” Be careful on your way down to the hidden spring just below Needle Rock.
The highest on the property. The trailhead is just below Tricky Gap on the Whiskey Bottle Tank side along the Black Trail. There is an initial climb and some rolling hills as you pass near the Radio Tower and the Beginning of Million Dollar Canyon. The view on both sides is spectacular as you cruise along the 6500 ft.+ plateau. Million Dollar Canyon and Dead Man’s Canyon run along each side. The first descent leads down to Bear Trap; I’ll bet you can tell why. The second part of the down starts at the Columns and leads to the Plane Crash, with final down ending up in the bottom of Million Dollar Canyon. It’s easy hiking out of the canyon to the ranch road if you have permission to cross the Lower Ranch. The only other way out is by way of the Orange Trail. Million Dollar Canyon is a stagnate oven in the afternoon, so good planning and an early start is a must. The White Trail is a long seven miles, so be sure to take plenty of water and lots of pictures.
LOWER WHITE TRAIL
This trail runs above the Tinaja on the Red Trail to Bear Trap on the White Trail. The Lower White Trail parallels the White Trail. This trail is inside of Million Dollar Canyon. This would be an outstanding conservation project for a trek, this trail is very overgrown and hard to find.
This trail runs behind the dam on Whiskey Bottle Tank to the Tinaja in Million Dollar Canyon.
The Orange Trail can be almost impossible because of cat’s claw. This trail connects the White Trail to the Black Trail just above Whiskey Bottle Flat. Its use becomes necessary if access to the Lower Ranch is denied. This one is not fun, but it would be an outstanding service project for an iron man crew.
HIGH SILVER (JEEP TRAIL)
Fourteen miles long! This is a great opportunity to stop looking at your feet and to enjoy the view of the Madera Canyon and Little Aguja Canyon. If you want to add this trail to your trek, I suggest spending the night before at the trailhead near the Indian Paintings. If the moon is full, the night trek is an awesome experience. Otherwise, start out about 5:30 AM and shoot for HQ around lunchtime. There are splits and gates along the way, which can be confusing. Jenkins’ Cabin is located near the Indian Paintings and the Hunter’s cabin is on top of Forbidden Mountain; these are both private cabins. Please do your part in helping us keep these areas clean! This trek requires permission since most of it is off BTSR property.