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Steamboat Ridge, NM

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  3 of 5 
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,887 feet
Elevation Gain -1,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 200 feet
Avg Time One Way 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.67
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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10  2013-04-26 imike
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 71 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Aug → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:15am - 7:04pm
0 Alternative

Great to be there...not to get there!
by imike

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Steamboat is one of those ridge formations that catches the high in a big way when you are down in the valley. It is hard not to wonder about being up there, and the thought compels an effort to make the climb... or descent, to be able to say: "...hey, I was up on top of that!"

There is no trail, from bottom or top. The logical approach is to drive up to Forest Road 90A, the Long Ridge forest road that accesses the radio towers above the formation off of West Side Road. If you choose this option, you will have to park at the locked gate at the intersection of 90a and 93. Park and walk the 2.5 miles to the end of the road past the tower arrays. At this point, the depressing news. While you can clearly look out and see the ridge leading out to the formation, unfortunately the route is blocked by an overly thick bushwhack... dwarf oaks and assorted scrub. The temptation is to head off in a beeline. That is the route I used, in reverse (I climbed up from the valley, ending the hike up on the road). Instead, I have to believe that it would be better to head north over to the edge of the ridgeline over the Alamo Canyon drainage, and follow that ridge above Deadman Canyon, connecting finally to the end of the ridge that provides the route on out and back up to the Steamboat. While the one way route lists only a 200' AEG, the out and back will pick up an additional 1400' from the ups and downs and reclimbing the hill back to the road.

If you find the route over to the north ridge less than pleasant, at least know it is no better to do the beeline route. On your return trip I'd stay with the northern path. There are numerous deer trails to help move through the mess, if you're lucky enough to catch the right paths.

All the effort will be nicely rewarded once you are out past the forest and moving more easily on the Steamboat. Enjoy the effort and great views you're about to capture.

An alternative approach: from Alamogordo, hike up into Alamo Canyon and follow one of the Deadman Canyon drainages up and onto an approach ridge... and do the overly steep hike/climb on up to the ridge. It will take not much more time than the long drive, and will offer a much greater reward. Plan on a long day; take lots of water. Take care and prepare for emergencies. The downclimb could be harder than the ascent.

So... enjoy the day, one way or another scoring this great highpoint formation.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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2010-10-02 imike

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, drive hiway 82 up to High Rolls, connecting with West Side Road (Forest Rd 90) just past the gas/store. Turn south and drive approximately 11 miles to the signed turn for Long Ridge, Burleson Ridge (FR 90A) and take that west to the locked gate at the intersection of 90a and 93. Park here and head off around the gate.
    page created by imike on Oct 02 2010 10:57 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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