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Sugarite State Park

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Little Horse Mesa 

Sugarite State Park Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 8,000'
Location: 36.9798, -104.3937 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Karl K on Jun 18, 2008
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Sunset at Sugarite


Pronounced Sugar-reet. A 40-50' basalt cliff with a variety of fun vertical cracks & face climbs. Climbs have all been led, but toproping is possible on virtually all climbs: anchors (often bolts) are easily set up (you may need a longer stretch of webbing/rope for some of the climbs). The altitude (around 8,000') means that climbing can be nice even in the summer; however, the cliff faces SE, so it may get too warm even here.
Rock quality on the established climbs is usually very good.

Online guide information, excerpted from D. Jackson's Rock Climbing New Mexico book, can be found at

Getting There 

Sugarite is NE of the town of Raton, NM. Raton is about 20 miles south of the Colorado border on Interstate 25. To get to the cliff: take exit 452 onto Highway 72. Follow 72 east and take a mild left onto 526 (signs point the way to Sugarite). As you travel up this road and enter the park, you will either need to pay the day-use fee ($5 in 2008) at the kiosk, or continue up to your campground (you pay either the day-use fee or the camping fee [$10], not both). About 2.5 miles past the visitor center (has free showers!) is a dirt road leading left to Soda Pocket Campground. The campground is just under 2 miles up the road (and is the logical place to stay if climbing), but the parking for the climbing is just after a corral (~1.3 miles from the turn). The main trail, "Little Horse Mesa" trail leaves from the right side of the road near a sign that says "No horses or mules beyond this point".
Approach the cliff-top from this trail: (it heads up the valley for a half mile or so, splits to the right (this is signed well), hump up the steep, but short hill and then walk the half mile back to the top of the cliff. You will know you are close when you see a dry lake bed on your left.
There is another trail that leads to the bottom of the cliff; it starts by taking the main trail to the right from the parking area for 3-400 yards. If you can spot the cairns, follow the faint trail through brambles and talus to the base. ( I would recommend the clifftop trail on your first visit, then leave via the other trail so you know where it goes....)

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.5 miles from here

47 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sugarite State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sugarite State Park:
Crack Head   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Salt Mother   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Right on Raton   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Up Your Arete   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Great Roof Left   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Endless Summer   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Jam Your Blues Away   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 45'   Little Horse Mesa
Sangre Verde   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 50'   Little Horse Mesa
Taos Lightning   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 45'   Little Horse Mesa
S&M Crack   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 75'   Little Horse Mesa
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sugarite State Park

Featured Route For Sugarite State Park
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the base

Birthday Crack 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  New Mexico : New Mexico, other Northern ... : ... : Little Horse Mesa
This climb has a lot of variety for a Sugarite Climb. Chimneys, dihedrals, arets, slabs, overhangs, flares and fingers can all be found on it. It is similar in difficulty to S&M, and I think similar in quality as well. You be the judge. Start in the chimney. Climb the chimney liberally using cracks on ether side until you get to the interesting cracks starting half way up the slab. Follow the cracks right up the middle of the slab which brings you directly under the main crack. The crux i...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of Sugarite State Park Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Bush doctor
BETA PHOTO: Bush doctor
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack from Hell.  (5.10-)
Crack from Hell. (5.10-)
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainy day hike at Sugarite.
Rainy day hike at Sugarite.
Rock Climbing Photo: The sun setting on the cliffs at Sugarite State Pa...
The sun setting on the cliffs at Sugarite State Pa...

Comments on Sugarite State Park Add Comment
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By William Penner
From: The 505
Feb 25, 2010
It does not say it in the guidebook, but be very careful because of bears in the thick trees on the approach to cliff. You are almost guaranteed to see a few and I have repeatedly come within 10 to 20 feet of moms and cubs in this area; each time was quite a surprise. Usually they are cool and wander off.

Don't leave food in the pack and use caution when camping nearby, although I don't think the local bears are Yosemite-caliber thieves yet and able to break into cars.

By Rich Kelly
From: Boulder
Nov 5, 2015
The trail to the base leaves you left of the leftmost climb. Go right and you will soon be able to spot the bolts on Sangre Verde from which you can orient yourself. We came down the trail listed in the Falcon guide book (mid-cliff area), but it appears to no longer be used.
By Kyle D
From: Las Vegas, NV
Dec 2, 2015
Visited this crag for the first time today. Just a couple of things to note: If you have to hike the road for Soda Pocket Campground because the gate is closed for the off-season (Dec-March) keep in mind that even though it is only 1.3 miles, it is uphill the entire way. Add snow to the mix and its a fairly substantial approach. Other than that, the climbing is pretty decent. Signage on the trails are well marked. I found the climbs pretty easily and was able to TR solo a few laps before work. Once the road is open I'll be climbing here pretty often.

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