If You Can Find It, Go For It!
The Basin just on the eastern edge of Alamogordo provides some interesting hiking alternatives. It is bordered on the north by Beeman Ridge, on the south by the Marble Canyon drainages, overshadowed by The Mesa. The most well known route is the "A" route, T119, heading steeply up to Ortega Peak. The other marked Forest Service Trail is Mineral Springs trail running along below Beeman Ridge on the north. There are other trails leading into the Basin area, but this is the only other trail that leads up and out of the Basin.
Unfortunately, finding this little used trail is not entirely easy.
It begins as a real trail about halfway up into the Basin. You start out on Little Mineral Springs trail (Marked on the MyTopo map as 426) from the eastern end of Indian Wells road. Following that route on it's steady rise, you watch for an old ATV track that will cut off to your right, dipping down and across the drainage. If you follow 426 to where it makes a sharp turn back to your left, you have gone too far.
Leaving 426, crossing the drainage and ascending the hill immediately south of the drainage, you work your way up and around the obvious rocky outcropping above you to the east. Head around to the south side (right side) and you will finally pick up a very clearly worn track. From this point on you should have no problem following the worn but slightly over grown path. Your views down into the canyon to your left will be dramatic. The trail climbs steadily, winding up and back towards Ortega Peak. You will eventually encounter some large cairns with a track coming in from your left. That is the upper terminus of Mineral Springs trail (not shown to go that far south on the Map, but it does, and makes a great loop hike when combined with Lost Trail).
From the intersection the trail winds south and east, climbing up and around, finally connecting with an old Jeep route that heads left over into Dry Canyon, or to your right to connect with T119 and Ortega Peak. The intersection is effectively the end of Lost Trail. If you venture further with the intent of returning by this same route, make careful note of what the trail looks like at that intersection; it can be very easy to overlook coming from either direction on the old Jeep track (Dry Canyon-Ortega Traverse).
This route gives a very nice mid basin connection, opening up the options for a variety of trail and off trail loops, including some very nice drainage hikes.
Take the time to find this lost gem.
Check out the Triplog.
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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