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The Best Grand Enchantment Trail Resupply Strategy

The Best Grand Enchantment Trail Resupply Strategy

Once you’ve decided that the Grand Enchantment Trail is for you, now you need the practical information: how to resupply.  The GET has a few hiker friendly towns with everything you need and it also has a few with hardly anything.  You’ll definitely need a Grand Enchantment Trail resupply strategy ahead of time.

My partner and I recently thru-hiked the GET in the spring of 2023.  We had a strategy before we hiked and you should, too.  You’ll find a few towns have great grocery stores and cheap motels while others are woefully inadequate.

Here is what you need to know about a GET resupply including an overview, the best resupply strategy for 2023, literally every town within reasonable hitching distance, and what those towns offer (and don’t).

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How to Resupply on the GET

Two hikers in a hotel room laying out food on the bed.
Laying out our Resupply on a Hotel Bed

The Grand Enchantment Trail is remote.  It’s “out there.”  And so are the resupply options.

If you’ve never been to rural Arizona and New Mexico, you’re in for an experience. 

While the Grand Enchantment Trail starts and ends near two major metropolitan cities (Phoenix, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico), the rest is rural.  The “towns” are often small without many services. 

Knowing the remote nature of the trail and towns, you can formulate a plan to get the necessary resupply you need. 

You can resupply without mailing yourself food if you eat everything.  If you have any dietary restrictions, I HIGHLY recommend resupply boxes.

In general, if you want to know more about the GET, check out my Grand Enchantment Trail Ultimate Guide. Read on for how to resupply!

Grand Enchantment Trail Resupply Overview & Key Points

Here are some key points as you approach your Grand Enchantment Trail resupply strategy.

  • You can walk into some towns and others you will need to hitchhike.  Walk-in, walk-out towns are convenient because you’re on your own timeline.  However, they can be frustrating being on pavement and in view of people. 
  • Some roads you’ll want to hitch on have very few cars.  Plan hitching time into your day. Due to the remote nature of the trail, you should know that many of the roads you come across are also way “out there.”  For example, either way into Winston, NM you’re relying on the ranchers going to “town.”
  • If you have any dietary restriction like vegan/vegetarian/gluten free, you’ll want to mail yourself food.  How do I know? My partner and I thru-hiked vegan and there were only 3 towns where I thought we could get a good, nutritious resupply without a box.
  • Make sure you check store/post office hours before you leave – they’re not open every day nor all day.  Remote town post offices 📫 often only have one employee.  This means they might have lunch breaks and a smaller schedule overall.  Remote stores are often only open 3-4 days a week or whenever they feel like it (Klondyke, AZ).

The Best & Most Efficient Grand Enchantment Trail Resupply Strategy

Here is the best use of the resupply towns from the GET, in my opinion.  Of course, while there are many ways to get food through the trail, some trail towns are more efficient than others.

Based accessibility, you’ll really want to consider mail drops 📦 for many Grand Enchantment Trail resupply “towns.” I add suggestions below.

⚠️ Please Remember: Mileage can vary depending on in-route choices. You’ll want to check these miles based on your preferred route choices noted on Brett Tucker’s paper maps! ⚠️

For more details on each town, scroll down to the next section to view the list of Every Town (Within Reason) for the GET + Details.

If I was to thru-hike the GET again, this is what I would do.

Going eastbound:

Eastern Terminus

Bring about 85 miles of food with you.

Kearney, Arizona

Because this is also an AZT town, the locals know about hikers.  Use either Norm’s IGA or a mail drop here.  Bring between 73-84 miles of food depending on the routes you take.

Klondyke, Arizona

📦 MAIL DROP HERE 📦.  This spot is a pain, but if you don’t get a mail drop here, you’ll likely have to sacrifice a cooler route based on your hunger.  To go through the Santa Teresa Mountains and the Ash Creek Bypass in the Grahams, this is about 95 miles.

Safford, Arizona

Resupply at Wal-Mart, mail drop, or a mix of both.  Because this is one of the biggest towns with the most services, take advantage of this town.  It’s about 110 miles to Alma/Glenwood if you skip Morenci. 

Alma/Glenwood, New Mexico

Skip the hitch-hassle of Morenci and mail drop to the Glenwood Post Office.  If you need to supplement your mail drop, aim for the Alma General Store over the Glenwood Trading Post.  It’s about 60 miles to Doc Campbell’s depending on the route you take.

Doc Campbell’s/Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico

📦 Send a mail drop here 📦.  You can get a full resupply from here, but don’t count on it during peak CDT season in the spring.  Its 62.7 miles to highway 59 OR 91.4 miles to highway 52.  Either of those two ways get to Winston.  Personally, I think highway 52 is the better option. 

Winston, New Mexico

📦 Send a mail drop here 📦.  This store is meh.  If you come in from highway 52, it’s 93.4 miles to Magdalena.  From highway 59, it’s 122.1 miles.  This would be less if going to Socorro.  Frankly, I didn’t like Socorro, but I can see its appeal of less miles overall (shortcut) and more services.

Magdalena, New Mexico

Send a mail drop and enjoy a cheaper motel.  You also get a great ridgeline in the Magdalena mountains and San Lorenzo Canyon via this route.  The main disadvantage is needing to cross the Rio Grande.  You can still cross it via a bridge by adding 8 extra miles after you resupply in Magdalena.  It’s 70 miles to Mountainair, New Mexico (78 if you walk down to the bridge).

Mountainair, New Mexico

If you contact The Rock Motel ahead of time, this stop becomes easier to manage.  Between the Family Dollar, Dollar Store, and local market store you could resupply here. Or, you could mail a package to The Rock Motel/Post Office.  It’s a walkable town with friendly locals.  It’s 86 miles to Tijeras OR 110 miles to the western terminus. 

Tajique, New Mexico

Purely a supplemental stop if you take the legal road walk in Section 36 through the Chililli Land Grant.  There’s some crazy history here if you pull up Wikipedia. Grab a soda and some basic junk food if you’d like.  You can get water from the spigot in the front if they’re not open.  No resupply boxes possible.

Tijeras, New Mexico

You’ll walk through this anyway, but grab some Subway or eat at the local place if you make their hours for an extra meal.

Every Town Option (Within Reason) for the GET + DETAILS

This is a list of every town you walk in/out of or have the possibility of hitching to on the GET.  You should not use this list as your Grand Enchantment Trail resupply strategy, but rather to explore all your options.

If you’re not sure you can pull all the miles from above, here are all your town options.  If a town is frustrating to get to and doesn’t have much, I tend to do a longer carry and skip it. 

Brett Tucker also has a Town Guide for the GET. This is my own personal views of the resupply town options have walked, hitched, or driven through them.

Superior, AZ

Superior, Arizona is an old mining town.  You reach it by a roughly 5-mile hitch from Picket Post Trailhead approximately 50 miles after the western terminus. 

It has a basic general store, a Family Dollar, and a Circle K.  Between the 3 options, people without dietary restrictions will find it an ok, but not an exemplary resupply. 

The post office accepts packages but likes to pretend they don’t.  Make sure you have a tracking number and kindly ask them to look again.

There are a few underwhelming restaurants that offer basic food.

Walking around town is doable, but the town isn’t really set up for walking. It has a weird vibe.

There is a motel in town as well as a trail angel. 

Kearney, AZ

Kearney, Arizona is also an old mining town, but with a friendlier vibe than Superior.  You can hitchhike about 9 miles here from Kelvin Trailhead.  Most people leaving the trailhead will head this way, so it’s helpful to get here early to mid-afternoon.

Norm’s IGA is a surprisingly decent grocery store.  Even those with dietary restrictions can find food here. 🛒

The post office 📫 and laundromat are friendly (but maybe don’t leave your laundry unattended very long). 

A motel exists in town and knows about hikers because this is also an Arizona Trail town stop.

Mammoth, AZ

Mammoth, Arizona is a very small and oddly spread-out town.  Depending on your route choices in this section, you’ll either walk in/out or you’ll hitch about 10 miles on Highway 77.

The only “grocery” option is a Circle K.  You could hitch to Oracle, Arizona.  However, the Family Dollar there is usually not very well stoked.  Your best bet is to mail a box here and supplement junk food from the gas station.

There also isn’t really anywhere to stay in Mammoth.  Your best bet is to do an in and out or to hitch to Oracle and stay with Marnie at the Chalet Village Motel AKA the A-Frame Cabins. 

Klondyke, AZ

Klondyke, Arizona can barely be called a town.  It has a store that says it’s open Thurs-Sun about 10am-6pm, however, it may or may not be open when it claims.  It is literally the only thing in town.

The store owners are nice enough to hold packages behind the store.  You will have access to them whether the store is open or not. 

⚠️ BIG TIP: they don’t have trash here.  The only public trash is at the campground 0.8 miles back on the Turkey Creek Alternate at a BLM campground.

If you want to hike through BOTH the Santa Teresa Mountains and the Grahams, you should mail a package here 📦.  Please remember, they do not have a ton of space, so time your mail drop appropriately.

Safford, AZ

Safford, Arizona is one of the biggest full-service towns on the whole GET.  It should definitely rank high in your Grand Enchantment Trail resupply strategy.

It’s a walk in/walk out town, so you might as well use all it has to offer.  It’s not the prettiest town, but it has a lot of services. It mildly reminds me of a dust bowl.

While spread out, it has multiple grocery stores, including a Wal-Mart.  The town of Thatcher is only a few miles away as well with more store options if needed. 

Moreover, there are plenty of restaurants from authentic Mexican to chain restaurants. 

Safford also hosts quite an array of motels and hotels, so every budget will be accommodated here.  If you need a zero, this is a great place to take one. 

Morenci, AZ

Morenci sits at the base of one of the biggest copper mines in the US.  So, it’s a mining town.

The biggest downside to Morenci is it’s hitch-ability 👍.  There are two ways to get in: hitch from highway 191 where the trail crosses (and follows the road for about 2 miles), or hike a 6-mile side trail, then hitch into town.

Going eastbound, the first road crossing for 191 isn’t the best hitch spot.  The better (though still not fantastic) spot is closer to where the trail exits the road going eastbound.

The 6-mile side trail is reportedly pretty, but do you really want to hike an extra 12 miles?

Morenci does have a decent grocery store, Bashas.  While only about 60 miles from Safford, this store will accommodate most dietary restrictions. 

There is a motel in Morenci and two in the nearby town of Clifton.

Alma/Glenwood, NM (long hitch possibility to Silver City, NM)

You will walk directly through the town of Alma, New Mexico.  Don’t blink…you’ll miss it.  The “town” consists of a general store and a guest house.  That’s it.  Nowhere to send packages.

Five miles down the road, the town of Glenwood has a trading post, post office 📫, and a few small accommodations 🏡.  If you want to send a mail drop, you can send it to the post office here.

Of the two stores available, the Alma store had more options and some fresh produce.  If you ate everything, you could have a very interesting resupply out of here.  However, I definitely recommend sending a package to the Glenwood post office.

The Los Olmos hotel was ok.

Doc Campbells, NM (long hitch possibility to Silver City, NM)

Doc Campbell's outpost near Gila Hot Springs, New Mexico for a Grand Enchantment Trail Resupply.
Doc Campbell’s Outpost

Going to Doc Campbell’s is an experience.  It’s also a stop that coincides with the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).  It’s a rural country store that will hold a resupply box for you for $6. 

They have expanded hours for the spring CDT hiking season, however, do pay attention to them!

Inside, they have increased their supply of food in recent years, but it’s not a huge selection.  The owners have heard feedback from hikers and have stocked accordingly.  You’ll find a lot of hiker go-to’s like ramen, peanut butter, oatmeal, Idahoan instant potatoes, Knorr sides, some backpacker’s pantry meals, and more junk food.  They also have a few frozen pizzas and things to heat in the microwave.

As a vegan, they had more hiking food options than I expected (three separate types of backpacker’s pantry meals).  But, it would be hard to take a big resupply from here.  I sent a package.

Doc Campbell’s also has showers and laundry that you can add to your tab inside.

The Gila Hot Springs Campground nearby has CDT/GET camping for $10/person first come first serve ⛺️.  The Hot Springs Wi-Fi is also better than the Wi-Fi at Doc Campbells.  Hint: go get a spot early if there are a lot of hikers around!

There is also an RV park that offers camping and two apartment-like options in a barn for short-term rent.  The RV park has a hiker box as well.

Silver City, NM

A bonified trail town, Silver City, New Mexico will have just about everything you need.  It has grocery stores, a Wal-Mart, a post office, two gear stores, two breweries, and multiple lodging options.

It’s just a long hitch from either Alma/Glenwood or Doc Campbell’s.  If you get to either and there is a problem with your package or you need multiple zeros, keep this as a fail-safe option.  It’s a classic CDT town and they’re used to hikers.

Winston, NM

Not too much to say for this “town.”  Winston is a collection of houses with one small General Store and a post office. 

You could get here from either Highway 59 or Highway 52.  Either hitch is long and remote.  ⚠️ Plan a possibly long hitch time here

The town isn’t really equipped for hikers. 

I’d send a package here and try for an in and out. 

There was an option to camp at the church but was abused by the increase in CDT/GET hikers. 

Monticello, NM

Not much to see in Monticello, New Mexico.  To get here, you have to hike a 15-mile side trail/road walk there and back giving you 30 extra bonus miles.

Once you get there, you can basically pick up your package 📦 and leave.  There’s nothing else.

Make sure you pay attention to the public land designations on your paper maps for where you can and cannot camp on this side route.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

This is not a Grand Enchantment Trail resupply town.  However, it’s a good fail-safe for the towns of Winston and Monticello. 

If your mail drop fails to arrive, you’d probably want to do the hour-and-a-half hitch here.  It would be easier to get into this town than out of it.

It does have a Walmart, grocery stores, hotels and motels.  It’s a classic interstate large town.

Magdalena, NM

Magdalena, New Mexico is a decent small town and a walk in/walk out.  You will use this town if you stay on the red line.  Contrarily, you could take the blue line and go through Socorro, New Mexico instead. 

The town of Magdalena is only spread out over about 1 mile if you go to the furthest restaurant.  It hosts a few restaurants, although usually only 1 is open at a time.

For a grocery store, it has an ok Family Dollar and a gas station. 

Finally, the post office has decent hours and is close to the a few hotels in town.  We stayed at The Western Motel sometimes which allows thru-hikers to do their own laundry. 

Socorro, NM

Road sign for Magdalena, Socorro, and Datil New Mexico.
You Could Hitch Between Magdalena & Socorro

If you need an “everything” town, Socorro, New Mexico is it.  You’ll walk in and out of Socorro if you choose the blue line.  Alternatively, you could hitch here from Magdalena as well.

Socorro has a Wal-Mart for resupply and many chain restaurants.  It’s the biggest town since Safford, Arizona.

Lastly, there are also a variety of hotels and motels to meet most budgets.  Although, Magdalena has cheaper motels. 

Mountainair, NM

Mountainair, New Mexico is a great little town once you make the hard hitch over to it.  It’s about 18 miles down highway 60 from trail.  However, it’s a hard hitch with fast traffic, so plan extra time to wait or walk a little to a better hitching spot.

Once you get into town, it has both a Family Dollar and a Dollar Store.  It also has a small local market that is great for people with dietary restrictions.  Between the 3 stores, most people can cobble together an adequate resupply.

It has a post office as well if you’re worried about small-town food supplies.

There are two hotels, one on either side of town.  We had good luck with The Rock Motel who both held our packages and offered us rides to and from the trail.

Tajique, NM

If you take the legal red line, you’ll walk through Tajique, New Mexico.  First, the only thing there is Ray’s One Stop where you can get water.  There is a small selection of junk food to supplement your food carry.

However, Ray is a local who doesn’t always open on time.  Take the hours with a grain of salt.  There is a spigot out front for water.

There are no accommodations here.

Two more small stores exist on this route and the hours are also mildly subjective.

Tijeras, NM

Tijeras, New Mexico is a classic interstate town.  You’ll walk right in and out of it.

While it has no grocery store, it does have several restaurants, a post office, and a library.  If you’re carrying food from Mountainair or Socorro, it’s a good way to add in a town meal on your way through. 

You could also send yourself a small package to the post office to get you through the last 24 miles in the Scandia Mountains. 

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

With so many options, you can find something that works for you for your Grand Enchantment Trail resupply. 

Having hiked it, I feel like there is a balance between the ease of getting into a town versus what the town has to offer.  Sometimes, if a town is too annoying to get to, it’s not worth it.

As a vegan, I’m more inclined to mail drop resupplies.  If you are gluten free or have other dietary restrictions, you should definitely use mail drops as well. 📦 📦 📦

Finally, town-wise, it makes more sense to go to Socorro over Magdalena.  However, I have a hard time cutting the trail shorter just to have access to a larger town, especially toward the end.  As the GET is only about 800 miles, why cut it short? 

Lastly, want to know more about water, terrain, or navigation on the GET? Check out my Grand Enchantment Trail Ultimate Guide.

Grand Enchantment Trail: Ultimate Thru-Hiking Guide (With Map)

Saturday 2nd of September 2023

[…] Resupply. Overall, if you eat anything, you can resupply as you go, especially if you’re willing to hitch longer distances.  If you have any dietary restrictions, I recommend sending yourself resupply boxes.  We’re vegan, so we did boxes for every resupply. See Our Resupply Strategy Here. […]

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