Water Canyon

Total Miles


2774.22 ft


0.5 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

Water Canyon is found just off the Upper Rio Penasco Road near Marcia, NM south of Cloudcroft east of NM6563. The trail is generally two vehicles wide with small sections being slightly narrow due to minor washouts. This canyon road sits elevated just above a large washout that feeds the Rio Penasco River and water can be found flowing on the main track after snow melt and rain. Some minor rutting is present, but the road appears to be well-maintained and will be easily passable by most vehicles including 2WD during the dry months. Large downed trees and minor rockfalls are common in this area so be prepared. There are multiple dispersed camping sites along the way as well as several designated hiking and motorized spurs for 50" or less. The surface is a combination of dirt and rock with some gravel, but no obstacles larger than 10" making it easily accessible by most vehicles. There is no cell service in this area. Views are limited to the canyon that is heavily lined with trees. During winter this area is prone to heavy snowfall and may be inaccessible. The trail ends at the Old Sunspot Hwy Trail which is open to everything except full-width vehicles. Full-size vehicles should treat the trail as an out and back.


After rain or snow expect some water flow over the main roadway, increased rutting, and mud. Rockfalls and downed trees are common along the trail.

Technical Rating