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Let Me Tell You About My Mountains – Hermit’s Peak and El Cielo in New Mexico

Let Me Tell You About My Mountains – Hermit’s Peak and El Cielo in New Mexico

The Sangre de Cristo mountains are my happy spot. I spent quite a bit of time there when I was a teenager at a church camp, and now whenever I think about my favorite place on earth my mind transports me back. In particular, my mind takes me to this beautiful meadow on the top of El Cielo Mountain. El Cielo is pretty much an unknown mountain, very much overshadowed by her more famous next door neighbor – Hermit’s Peak.

Spanish for “The Sky,”  you can see its domed shape just to the left of Hermit’s Peak. The hike up El Cielo takes you through pine forests and opens up into this beautiful meadow with a creek running through it.  You can see its domed shape just to the left of Hermit’s Peak.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside of Las Vegas New Mexico Some years I would sit by the creek and watch the clouds cast shadows on the very green grasses. Other years, I would climb the steep incline rising out of the meadow for a beautiful 360 degree view of the surrounding lands.

A few years ago, I returned with James to hike. El Cielo is an unmarked hike and I couldn’t remember how much private land we’d have to trek through. So I decided to play it safe and climb Hermit’s Peak.

It was the fourth time in my life to climb it. It is actually a pretty challenging hike, made even more challenging after the birth of two children. It was so much easier at 15. I wrote more about it here.

Hermit's Peak with Fall Leaves Changing

But as we drive through New Mexico, I can’t wait for my first sight of the giant sideways face of Hermit’s Peak. While it isn’t like the feeling I get when I smell the dirt and the pine needles at the mountain’s base, I feel a weird mix of peace and excitement when I can finally see it in the distance.

I feel like these are my mountains. More than anywhere else in the world, I feel connected to this place.

  1. Leigh 10 October, 2013

    I lived in Boulder for 10 years and that’s where I fell in love with the mountains. I hear what you’re saying as the mountains continue to call me but I don’t think I have a favorite range the way you do. I’ll happily climb/hike anywhere in the world.

    • Amy Moore 11 October, 2013

      Maybe it’s just the connection to childhood that gets me every time 🙂 I definitely prefer mountains to just about anywhere else!

  2. Anwar 10 October, 2013

    I love mountains. These are beautiful and the photographs are absolutely stunning. I have not heard of this place in New Mexico, but it definitely makes me want to visit.

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book} 10 October, 2013

    I can see why these mountains mean so much to you. They are beautiful! I’ll need to look these up next time we make it to New Mexico. I’m sure it’s even more stunning during Fall.

    • Amy Moore 11 October, 2013

      It can be a little out of the way, depending on which why you are coming. But a night there with some great morning hiking with the kids? Makes it worth it!

  4. Marisol@TravelingSolemates 11 October, 2013

    Hi Amy, Its wonderful to have a place that you’re deeply connected to. Your mountains are beautiful. I can just imagine the feeling of bliss when you get there.

  5. Tonya {The Traveling Praters} 11 October, 2013

    What a amazing view and beautiful memories. I feel connected to the ocean like that. I remember driving through one of the tunnels heading into Virginia Beach and feeling that excitement and calm simultaneously. I feel so at home there. I do believe it’s because of the happy memories I have from traveling through the area with my family when I was young.

    Have you spent time exploring along Rt. 40 in Texas, NM or AZ? Looks like we’ll be headed that way in a few weeks.

    • Amy Moore 14 October, 2013

      You’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck deviating up through the Los Alamos/Santa Fe/Taos area in NM if you can spare the time.

  6. Hiking Hermit's Peak in the New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains 19 October, 2013

    […] Read more about my thoughts on Hermit’s Peak and neighboring El Cielo Mountain. […]

  7. Gary 21 October, 2013

    My family has owned a summer home at the foot of Hermit’s Peak for 70 years (about 50 yards from the log barn in your photo of Hermit’s). It is a magical place, don’t tell anyone about it !!!

    • Amy Moore 22 October, 2013

      It is a magical place! Definitely a place I’d love to have a summer home 🙂

  8. Andrea E. 28 August, 2014

    Amy, I am interested in using your photo of Hermit’s Peak on a postcard for New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas New Mexico. Will you please contact me so that we can discuss photo rights terms?