Whitewater Canyon was once home to a lumber operation, and water was needed to generate power for the mill. Thus in 1893 was born “The Catwalk,” a narrow wooden walkway suspended from metal anchors and supports driven into the sheer walls lining the canyon. Initially the Catwalk supported a 4-inch/10-centimeter pipeline. In 1897 the Catwalk supported a larger 18-inch/46-centimeter pipeline. That old wooden structure has been destroyed several times over the decades, most often by flood. But in 2012 a new threat took out the Catwalk — the infamous Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire. That wildfire was the worst in New Mexico history, eventually destroying nearly 300,000 acres of forest and range land.
It looked for a while as if the Catwalk would not be rebuilt, as the fire undid an extensive rebuild following a major flood that had occurred just a few years earlier. Fortunately the resources were allocated for another reconstruction, this elevating the walkway higher up the canyon walls and replacing wood with steel.
The hike itself is not difficult at all. There is a little climbing required at the far end of the trail if you want to venture off the metal catwalk and proceed farther up the canyon, but it’s not too bad if you’re reasonably fit.
Sheer cliffs line much of the canyon, offering some really spectacular photo opportunities.
Stunning green vegetation and reddish walls add color depth to your images, as well.
All in all, this is a very worthwhile place to visit. The actual Catwalk rides along both sides of the canyon, and runs for 1.1 miles/1.8 kilometers. The entire trail stretches an easy 2.25 miles/3.6 kilometers, and can easily be accomplished inside of two hours including multiple stops along the way for photography.
Now for today’s photo gallery of this adventure. Click on any image below to enlarge and bring up today’s slide show: