Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
So Close...So Far
Alamogordo hiking, at least as noted in the official guide books, is limited to T119, heading up to Ortega Peak, T113, Goat Springs Trail heading up to the Mesa, and T104 up Alamo Canyon. Yet the reality is that there are many more hikes leaving immediately from the Alamogordo city boundaries... they're just not listed in the guide books nor noted on the maps. This is one of those "lost" hikes.
Just south of the Goat Springs Wash drainage lies this little dessert trek moving up an easy drainage to a large waterfall formation below the Mesa. The walking is often on and over solid bedrock making for an easy stroll up canyon. The non-assuming beginning is along the old pipeline track (dirt road traversing all along the base of the foothills south of Marble Canyon). Look for the old metal water pipes crossing the drainage opening about a quarter mile from the Goat Springs drainage. This is the official start of the hike. Reach this point by either parking at the city park at the east end of 1st street, or by parking along Scenic Drive and walking across the scrub 'till you hit the gravel road. You can orient to this drainage fairly easily by looking for the large half dome of rock sticking prominently out below the Mesa. The canyon runs from the north, behind that formation.
This is all off trail hiking. As with most off trail desert walking, expect the footing to be unstable. Hike with care.
This canyon can be looped with the Cabrito canyon hike for a nice diversity, probably better going up Cabrito and coming back down this easier canyon. The terminating point is the very dramatic waterfall ledge halfway up to the Mesa. You will likely have the canyon all to yourself. Though oriented immediately out of the city, the canyon probably sees fewer than 20 hikers a year.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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