The Emory Pass Climb in southwest New Mexico is a strenuous but beautiful ride.You can stay in Silver City and drive an hour to Kingston and have someone drop you off there. Have low gears since there is a steep, steady climb of 8 miles from Kingston to Emory Pass. Then there are the sweeping turns downhill to NM61 at San Lorenzo. From there there are rolling hills into Silver City. The climb out of Kingston begins with several miles at 5% but levels off. The traffic is light and the road surface is good though no shoulders. The views are awesome. The descent through the ponderosa forest is wonderful. The lookout at Emory Pass is worth a short detour. The descent west goes through Gallenas canyon which has dramatic rock formations. Bicycling Magazine has written up the ride as one of the great climbs in the country in a past issue. The remainder of the ride into Silver City are large rolling hills. There is a great view of the Hurley open-pit mine and the Kneeling Nun rock formation along the way. The road from Hillsboro to Kingston goes through Percha canyon which has dramatic rock formations.
Emory Pass East Ascent
Getting There: Take I-25 south from Albuquerque or north from Las Cruces to NM152 at exit 63. Drive west to Hillsboro or Kingston. Begin in Hillsboro or Kingston and end in Sliver City (54 miles) or get someone to pick you up at the intersection of NM152 & NM61 (30 miles).
Distance: Hillsboro to Silver City, 54 miles, 5500 ft. gain.
Roadway: NM152 from Hillsboro to NM35 is 2 lane with good surface with no shoulders and almost no traffic. NM152 from NM35 to US180 is divided 4-lane with shoulders, usually rideable with light traffic. US180 is divided 4 lanes with rideable shoulders and moderate traffic.
Bikely.com Interactive Map (Including elevation)
Black Range Lodge, Kingston (right at the beginning of the climb).
There is a small store and gas station in Hillsboro, but not much in Kingston. There is a small park with toilet in the center of Hillsboro.
There is no cell phone coverage between Hillsboro and almost to Silver City.
There always seems to be a west headwind riding into Silver City.
- Begin in Kingston at the climb's beginning (eliminate fairly flat first 9 miles).
- Ride from Hillsboro to Inner Loop and San Lorenzo (30 mile option).
- Ride from San Lorenzo (Gila Inner Loop) to Hillsboro over Emory Pass (48 miles) and have somebody pick you up.
Emory Pass CueSheet // 54 Miles, 5140' Elevation Gain.
Mileage Waypoint Elevation Gain (Feet) Leg Description
Start. All the roads are 2 lanes with no shoulder to US180 but with little traffic.Continue on NM152 all the way to US180.
Kingston. Climb steeply out of town. As you get higher, climb the side of the canyon with many turns through forests and striking roadcuts.
Emory Pass. Whew.
Take time to ride to the marked Emory Pass Overlook (.15 miles and 30') on the south. Take a snack and enjoy the view. Enjoy the steep downhill after this so make sure your brakes work. There is another 500' ridge to climb after Emory Pass before the downhill to San Lorenzo.
NM61 at San Lorenzo
Cross the Mimbres River at San Lorenzo, pass the intersection with NM61 to Demming on the left and begin climbing again. The intersection with NM35 on the right is the Gila Inner Loop. Continue steeply uphill on NM152. Pass the turnoff (right, north) to Fierro then the Hurley mine overlook on the left. There is a nice overlook of the mine. Turn right at the intersection with US180 into Silver City.
Silver City KOA
Still about 4 miles from the center of town. This is the traditional start of the Gila Inner Loop.
The elevation gain from Hillsboro to Silver City is 5,500'.