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Copper Canyon Trail #10

 4.3 (4)

A very challenging descent from the ridgeline on narrow trail with tight switchbacks

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10,200' 3,109 m


7,070' 2,155 m


23' 7 m


3,153' 961 m



Avg Grade (8°)


Max Grade (38°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Typically accessible mid-May through October (inaccessible due to snow in winter).


Trail 10 is the longest downhill trail in the Magdalena Mountains and the upper section is one of the more difficult rides in the state.

Ridable as a loop using FR235 for the AM crowd, or as a shuttle to avoid the road for the DH crowd. The preferred lower parking area is the Water Canyon picnic area.

From the top, the ride starts at the North Baldy Trail #8 trailhead on FR235. The Magdalena Ridge Observatory 2.4m Telescope is visible to your left, just past south baldy peak. The first 100 yards of TR8 are an uphill hike, but the rest of the ride is predominantly downhill or flat.

Proceed down North Baldy Trail #8 for approximately one mile. As you exit the trees to your second clearing, look for a sign to your right noting the start of Trail 10 - Copper Canyon.

Trail 10 starts at the ridge line and descends 3300ft over 5 miles to Water Canyon campground. The trail can be split into three distinct sections:

The upper section is exceptionally difficult: steep and very narrow singletrack with tight switchbacks. Cross slopes on either side of the 6-8 inch wide trail are very aggressive.

The vast majority of riders will walk most or all of this section, either up or down. Walking up is more difficult than usual hike-a-bike because the bike has to be pushed ahead on the narrow trail.

The middle section widens out and has loose rocks and rock features. This section is fast yet technical and passes an old prospector cabin along with a few creek crossings.

The lower section is a wide, fast and flowy over mineral soil and pine needles. Mind the barb wire fencing on your left for the last half mile of the trail.

A short section of high-clearance two track connects the trailhead to the campground area.

If ridden as an out-and-back trail, rather than a loop, the old prospector cabin is the recommended destination, riding the middle and lower sections of the trail only. The lower section is rideable up (if you have the lungs and legs for it) but most riders will treat the middle section as a hike-a-bike. This abbreviated ride cuts out the steepest, narrowest sections of the trail and the tight swtichbacks of the upper trail section, making for a fun shorter ride.


Shared By:

Rob Selina

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes


in Socorro


  4.3 from 4 votes
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46 Views Last Month
1,797 Since Jun 20, 2015



Stoked rider on Trail 10 - Copper Canyon
Jun 20, 2015 near Socorro, NM
View from the top of Trail 10 - Copper Canyon. It was hazy today.
Jun 20, 2015 near Socorro, NM
In the middle section of the Copper Canyon Trail, the trail gets chunkier and the cross slope gets steeper.
Dec 5, 2015 near Socorro, NM
Copper Canyon, middle section rockiness.
Dec 5, 2015 near Socorro, NM
Remains of a prospector cabin on the Copper Canyon Trail.
Dec 5, 2015 near Socorro, NM
The upper section of the Copper Canyon Trail. The switchback curves around the tree at left, bends around the bike, then takes off towards the far ridge. Cross slope is steep throughout.
Dec 5, 2015 near Socorro, NM


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Nov 13, 2017
Tim Pikaart
Fun. Trail needs some work though! loooooonnnngggg ride up water canyon road!