Rustlers Park to Methodist Camp along the Crest Trail, Bootleggers Trail, and Rattlesnake Trail

This weeks hike with the Portal Rodeo Hiking Club was a new for most members.  Trail maintenance last year removed all the fallen snags and replaced a number of signs along the route according to one member.  The hike started at Rustlers Park where it was a cool 49 degrees at 8500 ft (one patch of snow was still visible on a high north facing ledge).  The hike followed a short segment of the Crest Trail (#270) before joining Bootleggers trail (#257) and then Rattlesnake trail (#275) that drops down the west side of the Chiricahua Mountains joining Pine Canyon Road (Forrest Service road 357) and ending at Methodist Camp.  Careful pre-planning had positioned a vehicle at Methodist Camp so drivers could be shuttled back to Rustler Park, while 4 of us continued out from Methodist Camp along FS 357 to the intersection with FS42 to await a ride.

The route is down hill for over 90% of the hike losing 2800 ft in elevation.  From Rustler Park to the intersection of FS 357 and FS42 the total mileage was 7.5 miles.

An unusual sign is found along side the untraveled FS 357 at Methodist Camp indicating a congested area with a speed limit of 5 mph. The mental image of a traffic jam on this dead end road in the middle of the Chiricahua Mountains is amusing.  Captured originally last year by Chiricahua Sky Island Rodeo it was rephotographed and is shown below.

Since the hike was mostly downhill the "big picture" views were at the beginning when everyone was fresh and moving rapidly along the trail.  It was possible to capture one panorama about halfway down the flank at one of the saddles.
Rustler Park to Methodist Camp Along the Bootlegger Trail

High Traffic area in the Chiricahua Mountains

Along FS 357 between Methodist Camp and FS42

Panorama from Bootlegger Trail


  1. Your photography is beautiful! I sure like the speed limit sign.

  2. Thank you, but you got the speed limit sign first, I just followed suit.