This ride incorporates several jeep roads in the Fluorite area to make a loop that explores many of the scenic opportunities of the lower Cookes range to include the ruins of old mines and homesteads in the area and a tour of an old petroglyph site.
Walk your bike through the petroglyph area and preserve these windows into our ancient past. Do not disturb the mine ruins and use caution when around the mine shafts.
Begin at the old Green Leaf mine parking area. From there, head up Green Leaf Mine Rd. (County A016). Pass old wooden mining structures and continue through the cattleguard. Take the jeep road to the right that immediately follows the cattleguard.
At this point, you'll be on the Fluorite Ridge: Inner Loop
trail. This first section will mainly consist of a rocky, steep climb. Once you level out on the ridge, you can do a quick out-and-back on the Fluorite Ridge: Mine Shaft Segment
or simply bomb down the other half of the Fluorite Ridge: Inner Loop
Either way, the next major step will be a short but fast and technical descent through a small canyon. At the bottom of the descent, the Fluorite Ridge: Inner Loop
trail will intersect the Fluorite Ridge: Outer Loop Trail
. Turn left and continue riding in a generally western direction up the Fluorite Ridge: Outer Loop Trail
. You'll not go completely up the Outer Loop, but rather, turn left on a narrow Jeep road and head though the gate, ensuring you close the gate after you pass.
At this point, you'll be on Old Homestead Trail
. Follow the Jeep road though another gate and take a few minutes to look at an old horizontal mine shaft and the relatively well-preserved mining homestead site before continuing on. Please do not disturb the mine shaft or the old ruins. Continue on the road until you reach an intersection with a sign labelled "Petroglyphs."
Turn right at the intersection and head generally east toward a roundabout in the road. At the roundabout, hop off your bike and hike a bike through the petroglyph area. Take time to appreciate these amazing works then hike a bike down a narrow singletrack trail that ends on Green Leaf Mine Road. Turn right onto the road and take it back to the parking area.
The Pony Hills petroglyph site represents the Mimbres Indian culture and are thought to have been created between 900-1,100 A.D. Of notable significance are petroglyphs of humanoid figures looking at spiral patterns. This may be symbolic of how the people experienced a super nova that occurred in the Crab Nebula back in 1054 A.D.