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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.

Beeman Ridge, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,546 feet
Elevation Gain 3,000 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,300 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 17
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Aug → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:49am - 6:08pm
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Water
Are We There Yet!!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Beeman Ridge is the very long frontal ridge overshadowing Alamogordo from the far north end of town, running all the way over to Hershberger Peak. The six mile designation listed here stops a bit short, ending at Ortega Peak. In fact, if you plan to do an out and back hike, you may want to stop at Winter Peak, the high point used by the paragliders. To go beyond Winter Peak you have to downclimb the cliff area and lose elevation before you ascend back up to Ortega Peak. Ortega is a logical destination only because it is the connecting point for a "real" trail back down to the valley floor. You could also drop off the ridge before reaching Ortega, connecting with Lost Trail.


The biggest decision to make is just how to complete the day. If you go all the way to Ortega, off trail, then you may be looking forward to a nice on trail hike back. If you do this loop instead of out and back, I'd suggest parking your car at the trailhead for "A", the Ortega Peak trail, walk over to Beeman along the city streets early in the morning (4 miles) and enjoy having your car ready and waiting for you at the end of the trail. Ortega down to the base is around 3 miles, so this loop will have you vesting in 13-14 miles for the day, half of that entirely off trail with substantial elevation gain.

In addition to great exercise, this hike is all about distant vistas. You will have an ever increasing overview of the Tularosa Basin, including the White Sands National Monument. Obviously, you will have city views unless you hike up the Beeman Canyon side of the hill (this ridge forms the southern side of Beeman Canyon). Once higher, Sierra Blanca will come into view with far vistas to the north.

An additional interesting option for a shuttle is to get up early and throw your bike in the car... drive up to Dry Canyon off of Hiway 82. Park at the Base of the hill below Winter Peak (or if you love 4 wheeling, park up at Winter Peak!)... then coast your bike back into town, leaving the car waiting up on top.

There is no technical challenge to this hike, but it is demanding, both in length, elevation and terrain. Everyone in your party should be in good shape; there is no easy shortcut exit. If you are going all the way over to Ortega Peak, pick your descent down off of Winter Peak carefully. On the far south end it is cliffed out. You may want to drop off the upper ridge early and walk around under the base of the cliffs.

All in all, this is a great, full day's outing.

Enjoy!

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2010-10-09 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
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Explored yet another of the north side spur cuts... hyper steep... interesting route. Very interesting rock! Once on top of Beeman Ridge, checked out a new descending route and got lucky. Not for everyone, but a great boulder scramble to the bottom and just right to catch the Sentinels along the old horse trail. Exited the trail and enjoyed the shortcut Spur past the Beeman Well. I vote to make this exit the primary trail route off the ridge!
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    met up with Marty for this easier looping canyon/ridge combo. Added on a lower entry point to the canyon that proved to be a great lower section. Perfect weather complimented this exceptional drainage. I'd forgotten how nice this canyon is... and with the lower Spur trail exit it really comes together to make a great looping hike. The Jumble still poses challenges and limits the range for Beginners, but everyone else can enjoy the route. Really nice!
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Good Stuff... Bad Stuff... lots on interesting stuff. Not sure why this hike beat me up so bad, but I'm foot sore, leg tired and thinking about going to bed... now (3pm)!

    Good Stuff: checked out the full length of the historic horse track up Beeman Ridge, along the Sentinels Bench traversing into Beeman Canyon above the Jumble... then snaking and sneaking up and around into the North Fork, finally connecting with the old jeep track coming down from Winter Peak. Nice to finally locate that entire old track.

    Interesting Stuff: numerous traversing options to address The Wall on Beeman Ridge... switchbacks... Horse Canyon Ledges... Horse Canyon Falls and Bench... additional hangglide launch ramp? Very interesting: discovered old well/spring on the spur off of Beeman Ridge Spur trail... looks like a brick chimney, in fact: squarish rock substantially inlaid into hillside.

    Bad Stuff...descending the "real" Horse Ridge. I'd always cut down the first inner ridge: easy walking... simple descent to the canyon bottom. Today, after spotting five oddly dressed hikers below us, I stayed with the main Ridge tracking them. Noted that this route did have a real trail as opposed to just free walking the ridge top... unfortunately, the path followed an old jeep track. Terrible walking! Ross was mumbling and suggesting various easier exits... good idea but I wanted to track the road/trail to its origin. This section followed a very taxing section of Ridge ascent that was a bit too much... the combination added to the descent through the terraced cliffs was way too much. Also, clouds refused to shadow over us!

    This is a trail section not to repeat.

    The five hikers diverted down yet another ridge/trail that I did not know about (into Dry Canyon). I'd been wanting to check out the canyon running along the west side of that ridge; never occurred to me to hike the ridge. It overlooks hiway 82... constant traffic noise. The traffic activity was even distracting on the ridge we were going down, a canyon further removed. I guess I have to check out the trail, but like this trail on Horse Ridge, the Description will be more to tell people to not hike them; there are better routes.

    Lots of off trail winding up and down... first half of the day was all good. Second part was bad.
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Nearly too tired to type!

    These daily hits are supposed to be in the 10-12 mile, 4,000' AEG range... yet since each day is a different hike, and they include GPS track documenting... I'm finding myself drawn over and around to catch more routes. I also find myself wandering around over ridges and canyons I've never been in... very rough off trail sections.

    The miles today have left me foot sore! But, it was a great day out. The shorter hike I'd planned was altered because of the low lying clouds; visibility was limited to 20-50 yards as I started to drop off of Winter Peak. I was shooting for a 12 mile day, descending directly across the Basin to the Garden Wall for an easy amble back to the truck. It was so socked in I was not certain which drainage to head down... instead I reversed into Horse Canyon and explored a potential new route along the Beeman Ledges. That was nice!

    I was hoping to find a route that would avoid ascending?descending The Wall on Beeman Ridge. After the easier old horse trail route up the Ridge, having to scramble up The Wall is just not inviting. I was also looking for a route that moved away from city views. Horse Canyon seemed to be doing both... but the Ledges were not descending fast enough... I realized I needed to drop all the way to the canyon bottom...?

    The lower section of Beeman Canyon is basically impassable, at least by anything but a person enjoying the Class II bouldering of the Jumble... no horse or mule passages. Yet from my high point vantage I could see a very clear horse trail working its way up the middle canyon and on past the Fork and up into Beeman Canyon North. Beeman Ridge had the old horse trail up to the Wall... and that path did continue on towards the Sentinel Rocks. I'd been told by an old hiking partner that they'd been taken on that path around to a waterfall formation...

    ... the only waterfall in Beeman Canyon was at the top of the Jumble. Could that path access the middle section above the falls?

    The sight of that upper trail strongly suggested that the trail had to makes its way below the base of the canyon cliffs yet above the canyon bottom, connecting to the middle canyon. I worked my way to the end of the Ledges then began an overly steep descent to the bottom of the middle canyon. I found the old trail.

    I've hiked the canyon for years, walking the easy flat bottom of the middle after scaling the dryfall. It never occurred to me that a path could possibly be snaking along at the base of the rocks towering on the south side of the canyon. It was faint... no horse use for decades, but t was easy walking through some truly great scenery. It would around to the Sentinels then up onto the ridge proper, right at the base of the Wall.

    I still need to find a better ridge ascent, but this new trail section provides a great exit route for a post Jumble adventure, or a great in/out hike to enjoy the hike to the Dryfall.

    All the up/down/around of those side canyons paid off. I shortened my exit by detouring down the Spur Trail off Beeman Ridge.

    Time for a shorter, easier day! I'd like to hold to the 4,000' AEG average... but with less dead slow off trail exploring. August is supposed to be about re-doing routes to score GPS tracks. Home by noon to work on computer. 4pm finishes and long miles kill the online energy.
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    First thought was to hit Ortega Peak with a weighted pack to get back on track after missing that yesterday. Second thought was my energy felt low. I opted for the much easier single track up Mineral Springs... with thoughts of going slow and eliminating some of the potential egress routes up to the cliffs. I was thinking less than four hours total for the day.

    At the end of four hours I was far and gone...

    Ten hours seemed to round out the day nicely. Energy never did come up but I just continued to move... very slowly.

    I discovered yet another old trail, this one a Spur route off Beeman Ridge. It looks like an old horse trail with some recent ATV and hiking activity. I still cannot figure why folks place cairns along canyon bottoms and ridge tops... how can you possibly get lost along either route!? Also, may be developing an alternative route up and around The Wall to allow for more hiking and less scrambling to connect the lower with the upper section of the Ridge.

    It was interesting; the point I'd reached at the end of four hours was probably just a bit over a mile from my truck... yet the route I hiked from that point to descend to the truck took three hours before it finally turned to start taking me closer to the vehicle. I was three miles away by that time. But, all of that was fairly easy walking and the final two miles was nearly flat sidewalk. I'm sure it was an easier route and probably faster. The alternative descent would have included 40-50 degree slopes with cliff scrambling. Loose scree... those oh, so careful foot placements that include moments of balance and rebalance... then the searching for the next down step. And then there are those moments wherein balance fails. I think the technical term is falling. I did some of that tracking uphill. Downhill would likely have rounded out an interesting number of those moments. So, the longer, easier, safer... faster return route.

    Wish I'd packed an additional couple of quarts of fluid. Day was saved with the heavy rain clouds rolled in dropping the temps 20 degrees!

    So... low energy... still can move.

    Note: No one spotted the weird, evil alien in the photoset... guess hikers see clouds... on other sites it was spotted by 50+ people....
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Too much snow on the upper ridges forced us to drop down on the far side of the mountain and hike the longer loop around... shades of a couple years ago without the added second mountain hike. This ridge is a great winter hike, and I found the bottom of the horse pack trail, so the lower portion is much easier.
    Beeman Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Most interesting day... I'd planned this day out thinking I'd be covering 13-14 miles, with the initial 4 miles being a walking shuttle to the trailhead across city streets, three miles of on trail descending from Ortega Peak... and 6-7 miles of off trail ridge hiking. At this point I'm not really sure what I did! The city streets and descending trail are not in question, but now the ridge traverse mileage, judged initially by plotting on the Map Source from my GPS software, has been radically challenged by the mileage charted by the GPS unit itself. Instead of the expected 6-7, it shows over 10! I've never had my GPS unit to be far off on mileage, so I have to wonder if my route just wandered around that much...? ... or if the ridge is just that much longer. I did alter course shifting back and forth to gaze down into the different sides of the ridge, and I created softer sloped routes by angling on the steeper climbs. A few times I drifted off to check on route options. Hard to imagine there could have been over 3 miles of alterations!

    So, if anyone is odd enough to really follow the ridge all the way over to Ortega Peak, be aware that the posted 6 miles may not get the job done!

    I kicked the day off by angling cross country up to the ridge (instead of entering at the mouth of Beeman Canyon). This alternative route heads up hill about a quarter mile before the big church on Scenic drive... following an old Jeep route that goes up into the Maze (system of rolling ATV tracks; good for skilled mountain bikers and conditioned trail runners), and from there breaking through the Garden Wall to the north. The Garden Wall is a few miles of rock ledge that run along the base of the cliff on the west... ending before they reach Beeman Canyon.

    From there I traversed multiple drainages to finally connect up with the ridgeline, and the old pack horse trail. Once on the old trail I enjoyed pleasant striding until reaching the meadow at a bit over two miles. The meadow includes an interesting section full of natural rock "headstones"... could call the area the graveyard. Down drainage towards Beeman Canyon stand the 3 Sisters, and interestingly distinctive rock formation guarding the lower meadow.

    At this point you would notice the obvious, you stand below an abrupt wall... including a variety of mini-cliffs. I chose to move up to the top of the meadow and begin my climb on the basin side. The Basin is the broad area of drainages between this ridge and The Mesa, far across to the south. It includes numerous drainages and a variety of nice ridge hiking trails, all leading up to Ortega Peak. For most of this hike, the Basin is closed off from the ridge by a series of vertical rock cliffs. The great aspect of this route is simply to walk the edge of those cliffs, taking in the great views and vistas. You can traverse over to the Beeman Canyon side of the ridge but the views will not rival this southern exposure.

    The Wall... well, probably 500' of climbing over less than .2 mile. It is not technical. If you slip and fall you'll still be where you were standing, and the fall will likely not be far. You can reach out and touch the slope in front of you for most of the way up this section.

    There is a reward, once on top you have soft ridge walking again. There will be additional mini-walls, but the terrain allows for easy slanted traversing, softening the grades out nicely. You will continue in this fashion all the way up to Winter Peak, with a few gullies to drop into and back out of. You'll first know you've hit the peak because of the odd bit of concrete slab poured tilting out over the edge of the cliff. This is the launching pad for paragliders. I just missed 5 of those crazy guys... saw them a few hours later as I was finishing up the hike.

    From the south end of Winter Peak I looped around to the east side of the mountain for an easy downclimb. The Basin side is pretty much cliffed out. The Dry Canyon side (east) has some reasonable down climbs. From there I moved back around to the ridge and headed out to Ridge Peak, the next highest point along the ridge, again moving around to the Dry Canyon side to move down the ridge.

    There is a lot of down through this section. Unfortunate in that the goal, if you are here, is to move up to the highest point of the ridge: Ortega Peak. Moving finally down to the lowest saddle, you have the option to drop on off the ridge, but I'd suggest staying up high for awhile longer... you'll top out once again and once again begin to drop to a saddle. This is the one time you do not move to the Dry Canyon side, even though the Basin side is cliffed out, so is the Dry Canyon side. Just walk right out to the ridge point and over the edge... look closely, it is easily downclimbed, just a couple of steps and you are there.

    From here, the hike is down and into the upper grasslands... with the option of continuing on up the ridge to Ortega Peak, or to following the Ortega/Dry traverse, a double track that has been created by ATV (illegally!!) that will carry you down and around to the west and south side of Ortega, for an easy ascent. It is interesting to look back and view the full ridgeline that you've left behind you.

    I have figured out that the much better looping route would be to follow the Ortega/Dry traverse to connect down with upper Mineral Springs, to follow it around the upper Basin and down to Scenic drive at Indian Wells. That would cut off the last Ortega Peak section, which is not all that scenic, it would avoid the steep and rocky t119, and it would cut off a couple of miles of city streets. Overall, more scenic and easier. This hike is long enough anyway... shorter and more scenic just has to win out, unfortunately, not for me today... my truck is parked at the bottom of t119, so I get to visit Ortega and enjoy all those extra miles.

    Statistically, this day is very similar to the one that killed me a week ago: 4000' and 17 miles... but this has been a much different day. It did not include the killer, full body climbing necessary to get out of Deadman and up to Steamboat, nor the horrendous bushwhacking. The climbs today were often nicely calf burning, but always broken up by striding areas, with no real shrubbery obstacles. The difference really shows in the hours, three hours less than that other hike. Of course, last week's debacle made me at least prep adequate supply for this day: 3 liters of Gatorade, Liter of Energy Drink, 3 roast pork sandwiches, 4 apples, orange, box of prunes, a couple of Super Waffles, 40 ounces of water... I finished off the last of the fluid during the final mile of the hike!

    This was a mild weather day... if it had been hotter I could have gone through a couple more liters? I only ate a couple of apples and one sandwich, but it was nice to know there was reserve.

    I'd have to give this hike the very highest rating, and even if it were done as an out and back just to Winter Peak, I think it would still garner that rating. It just makes for a great day out, of the off trail variety.

    Now, as I sit here, legs beginning to cramp up, I guess I have to factor that perhaps it is still too much too soon.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The designated Trailhead coordinates are simply the area off of Scenic Drive close to Beeman Canyon. In fact you need to plan where you are going to park based on your return route. If you are doing an out and back, parking along Scenic on that north end makes sense. If you are looping down off of Ortega peak, consider parking back over there and walking or shuttling to the start. Scenic Drive is reached by taking 1st or 10th street east from White Sands Blvd (the main drag through Alamogordo). When Scenic begins to curve back to the west is where you want to look for a place to park. There are old jeep tracks that lead over to Beeman Canyon; you can get closer by following one of those washed out ruts... otherwise, just walk cross country towards the obvious ridge.
    page created by imike on Oct 09 2010 5:51 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
    safety first
    help comment issue

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