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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

West Side Rd... Forest Road 90, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 30 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,516 feet
Elevation Gain 1,000 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,800 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 36
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Post the 1st photoset!
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:49am - 6:06pm
0 Alternative
Gateway to Fun...
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Forest Road 90, known in the area as Westside road, bisects the Sacramento Mountains along the 7,000' elevation range, giving access to both the upper trails intersecting with the Rim Trail up above 9,000', and the assortment of offshoot trails dropping down to the bottom of the mountains in the Alamogordo area. Additionally, it provides a great mountain bike outing in of itself.

Heading out of High Rolls off hiway 82, it heads south winding around the drainages, up and down, offering some great views of the Tularosa Basin and the White Sands National Monument.

The major trail head intersections include:

T119 "A" Trail... providing access to Hershberger Peak, Ortega Peak, Dry Canyon, and access to Alamogordo
T103 Caballero Canyon Trail... access down to Alamo Canyon
T104 Alamo Canyon Trail... access down to Alamogordo
T199 Alamo Peak Trail... access to Alamo Peak and to T110 and T111 both climbing up to Atkinson Meadows
T235 Heart Attack Canyon Trail... nasty steep access to the Rim trail
FR 90A Long Ridge, access to the Steamboat formation
T125 San Andreas Canyon Trail... access to the Rim Trail
T234 Road Canyon trail... access to the Sunspot Observatory
T234A Road Canyon spur... alternate access to Sunspot Observatory
T236 Gobbler Knob trail... access to the cliffs and highpoints overlooking the canyons to the west
T106 Dog Canyon Trail... access down to Oliver Lee State Park

The road winds around offering a variety of offshoot forest roads with ample camping areas, frequented heavily by weekend ATV riders. The 30 miles of road, eventually connecting on the far south end with county routes looping back and up to connect with the Sunspot hiway provide a great potential outing, be it camping, hiking, bike riding or just a great day drive to see the sites. Check the local maps to connect with the noted trailheads and other potential highpoints.

Being high enough elevation to support a winter long snow and ice pack, be aware that it may not always provide easy access. It is not maintained in the winter season. Year round can find it mud rutted and blocked by downed trees. Plan accordingly.

A great car camp site is at the junction of the T104/T119 trails, at the old house site... great old shade trees in a flat meadow area... check it out.

Higher clearance vehicles make the most sense, though for most of the year, any car could traverse the road.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    At the trailhead a bit after 4 am... took off in the dark. For once, energy felt good. Might have had something to do with not have the extra gallon of fluid (hiking up to cache) and/or the 15#'s of tools I've been hauling around... whatever, it was nice.

    Full sun had me hiking with umbrella... on the way down the hill I stopped and did a bit of trail repair on a heavily eroded section. Returning to my pack I was just in time to watch a 3'+ rattler slink under the umbrella! We talked about it; he agreed to come on out and move on if I'd publish his picture. I'll get around to that later today?

    Heat is back... but the breeze today was an okay offset. The rains had severely eroded the trough below the Gold Mine... time for more bench cuts or perhaps time to move the path out of the cut and on to the bench? Old Jeep tracks just do not make for decent trails.

    Just one day away from the 90 day training schedule; I need it!
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    I need to finish writing the trail descriptions for sections of this hike... then the linking could be completed! Bit muggy out... but a breeze did come up. I thought I would stay out longer but I did not pack enough fluids.

    Nice severe hop step down a ledge to land on the side of my foot... immediate and acute sharp pain, but a few limp around steps and I was right back to striding. So odd that a kayaking injury over 25 years ago leaves me with un-sprainable ankles!

    Just before the attack on my ankle, Spanish Dagger to my arm... and soon after: prickly pear jammed into my foot! Yet, mood was high... great day out. On a scale of 1 to 7,,, I'd give it a ten.

    I intend shorter, easier days.. but I also intend to not miss days and yesterday was distracted... delayed,,, then denied.

    Fun stuff,,,
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    Not sure where my brain was on the day... needed toe socks and shoe liners for this mileage; had neither. Very tender/sore feet by end of day. Very long day. Carried the weight augmented pack to ortega peak... then shed half the weight (25#) for the upper portion. Looped around and back up to the peak later in the hike, and added the 25# weight vest back into the adventure. I was beat up by the end of the day. Monday augmented hikes are only supposed to be 3-4,000' hikes with 10-12 miles. thinking I needed to play catchup on AEG motivated me to keep heading up the hill.

    Legs beat up and cramping in the evening... a bit worn out today. I'm not doing the planned remodel work but instead resting up for the planned Wednesday hike which is to be long mileage and bigger AEG. I still can't seem to bridge the 12,000' day mark. I'm effectively out of shape save for some strength and endurance aspects. No speed... no fluidity of movement.

    took a fall on Sunday... shelf I was standing on descending a small falls broke away. Major pain for such a minor injury. Felt torso wracked during this hike... still stiff today.

    Falling is just a part of off trail... need to get that across to the Meetup hikers.

    So... July begins!
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    Not the earliest of starts, but early enough. Perfect temps as I climbed the "A" Trail... cool air was flowing down the hill and most of the ascent was nicely in shadow. Once above 8,000' the air was just cool, even in full sun. Part of that may have been the steady all day breezes?

    The crutch continues to slow the pace... what should have been a brisk 9 hours was closer to 12 hours.

    Descending, it remained cool and nicely breezy to below 6,000'. All in all... just a great day out.

    I hit Ortega Peak going and coming... no way to double log on the links?

    Big, fluffy Thunderheads piling up over the mountain as the day ended... must have been great in the shade up of top!
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    cooler morning air made the day much nicer. I hiked sans knee brace for the first time in over a month, and hit the peak for the first time also. I carried both shovel and rake up for reworking the route across Horse Ridge if the hours open up for those labors.

    Nice and windy today... above 6,000' that meant stirring up some cool air. Below that level t meant a bit of a blast oven. I did not carry enough frozen bottles. I need to prepare lots!

    I picked up the tools from over in Ortega Canyon South; I will not be extending the Traverse further north this month. I do have to go back tomorrow and find the umbrella I dropped!

    91 degrees in my house at 3pm... 108 forecast high temp today and tomorrow! Makes me recall the 115 degree hiking days that were so common back in Big Bend the summer I lived there. Not sure why folks don't get out in the heat and hike... it's the same hike, just hot.
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    There may have been more AEG today... hard to track wandering off trail and up and down the ridges. I was tired from Sunday... slightly late start, but still out by 4:30am. Even the breeze was warm at the lower elevations! Record heat in the forecast for this week! Time to start freezing the water bottles! 20# weight augment today, mostly fluids. I get to go lighter tomorrow, but I have to mix in some pushups/setups over the course of the hike...? Gloves and a seat pad?

    Oven surround heat when the breeze died in the midafternoon final hours. Time for more dilute mixes in the drinks... and ice... lots of ice!

    I need to average 6700' per day. I had thought the way to do an easy 200,000' month would be to train way up... get up early and go fast on a clear, steep trail... get it over with before midmorning. Instead, I'm plodding out the miles with a crutch, scoring the AEG through applied hours of effort. Maybe I'll get to try that first approach in a month this Fall?

    Looking forward for this month to be over and done!
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    Early start was lessened by too little sleep... I'd planned to log longer hours but I couldn't reach the cached water on Ortega Peak, so I headed back down early. Ran into Jim just above the trailhead; he was just headed out at noon, up into the heat I was happy to be getting out of.

    More sleep... more fluids... longer hours: all goals for JUne?
    West Side Rd... Forest Road 90
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    Day was scheduled for a timed ascent to Ortega Peak... and a made an early start with every intention of getting back early to work projects.


    Once hiking, I felt more like going longer and higher; score some of the upper elevation cool. It also felt like one of those "first days of the rest of your life..." so I carried along a notebook to plot out and re-plan the coming months of training. That is pretty much how the day progressed. Clouds rolled in midday. I scored some up down laps off Karr Canyon road. Eventually, I came back down and turned up the Ortega Spur trail, then realized it really needed to be swept, so I went down to the tools and brought them up... and swept the entire lower slab rock area.

    Looked as if I might make it back to the trailhead before 4pm but I ran into Joseph and Devon (local dentist?) running up the "A" trail. They asked me if I knew where the caves were... so, I hiked them up to the "A" Bluffs and then on to Leah's Lair. They seemed stoked!

    I snapped pics of them doing both features then showed them the trail connections to the old Gold Mine and the connecting spur to Terri'a Cut...

    Long day without food and just 60 oz of OJ... time to hydrate up and figure out what would make a nice cutting dinner.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, take hiway 82 up to High Rolls, turning right (south) onto Forest road 90... look for the intersection shortly after the gas station, store on the left side of the hiway. Might want to stop in there to stock up. It is the last supply for the next 30 miles+
    page created by imike on Oct 02 2010 10:25 am
    128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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