A Turkey of a Hike...
As one of the seven trails leading up to the ridge line and the Rim Trail (T105), T109 offers the most diversity for enjoying the climb, including a broad grassy meadow, a nice pine tree shaded wander, and steeply climbing switchbacks carrying you up to Alamo Peak.
Starting off of West Side Road (a bit over 10 miles in from High Rolls) the first half mile of the trail winds around the edge of a grassy meadow, fenced off and maintained as a water collection basin by the Alamogordo City Water District. You will intersect T111 (Atkinson Canyon Trail) towards the end of the fenced off area. It moves off to your right up to Atkinson Meadow. At the upper end of this large field, often frequented by Turkey, Deer and Elk, the trail follows the old water district maintenance track up a bit more steeply through the forest, gaining over 500' over the next mile. At the end of that mile, the trail intersects T110 (Pipeline trail), which also moves off to your right to climb up to Atkinson Meadow, terminating up at the Rim Trail (T105) at the same spot with T111.
From this point on T109 follows the narrowing canyon straight on up, beginning an ever steeper climb that will gain 1300' over the next mile and a half before reaching Alamo Peak. You will leave the canyon cut at one of the fenced off spring feeds, beginning a series of steep switchbacks that will afford you the best views of the lower mountains and the valley far below. The trail terminates at the entrance to the military observatory at the end of Alamo Peak road.
You may walk the road back towards the Rim Trail to create a variety of looping hikes, or if starting your outing from this upper trailhead, it can be reached from Cloudcroft by driving just under 2 miles out of the Village on NM130... turning right on Sunspot Hiway (NM 6563) and following it for a bit over 6 miles, driving a little past the large meadow at the Upper Karr Canyon rest stop, and turning right onto FR 64D, Alamo Peak Road. Follow this very narrow (one lane!) paved road to its end, driving very slowly.
For a brisk, energetic outing...this is one of the nicer trails to enjoy.
Winter time may find the upper regions snowed in, but the roads are usually plowed. West Side Road could be tricky during the thaw/refreeze cycle. Mud and ice can make for a poor combination for driving.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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