Here are a few quick thoughts, not pretending to be expert or exclusive:
I don’t know the territory south of Silver even though my uncle worked for Kennecott Copper there including during the 1950s strike in the movie Salt of the Earth. I take the road to Hachita when headed to the Chiricahua in AZ. Basin & range topography, Hachita in particular a distinctive landmark.
The green route north of Silver is my preferred. Cosmic Campground
(33.47926, -108.9226) is special. Reserve, NM is county seat of Catron County (named for head of Santa Fe Ring
, attys who specialized in fleecing Hispanics for their land in the late 1800s / 1900s). Gun ownership is required by county ordinance. Blue (east) between Gila/Aldo Leopoldo Wilderness is curvy and nice bike ride. Gila Cliff Dwellings in the two.
Pie Town sells pies, though the older restaurant closed last year.
Either green or blue around El Malpais
is special. Take a hike or bushwhack across the lava. Tunnels on the west, maybe cinder cones on the east. If it’s a long bushwhack, pay attention to where you are if you want to get home safely. Same with tunnels.
is the southernmost of the 4 sacred peaks of the Navajo people. Also revered by everyone else. Good reason. It’s big and obvious.
Looks like the route goes near the Ignacio Sánchez WSA
(33.47926, -108.92265, incorrectly identified by BLM as Mesa Chivato on its web page). BLM advertises it as a dispersed camping area. More importantly, it’s a short distance from the Guadalupe Ruins
, the easternmost Chaco outlier and with spectacular views of the neighborhood, including a volcanic plug called Caebezon you’ll pass as you continue north.
Mesa de Cuba Badlands
is just before you get to Cuba, NM. Head north a ways on the dirt access road to get to the badlands. Go there.
After Cuba, it’s into the mountains. You’re east of the divide here. Strangers aren’t too welcome in some areas along the actual divide so it was easier to stay on public lands.
El Rito is an art colony of sorts. Hopewell Lake has dispersed camping past its campground. Avoid the weekend.
Next campsite is probably Lagunitas. I’ve never been there (planning a visit at the end of June) but I have hiked Crucitas Basin Wilderness east of there. Good country. I understand the views west are worth the trip.
Say hello to the Cumbres / Toltec RR as you enter CO. A dear but departed friend and mentor was instrumental in its protection. A warm spot in my heart.
As they say, “Move on, nothing to see here”