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Ortega/Dry Canyon Traverse, NM

Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,589 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Accumulated Gain 550 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.33
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
27  2014-08-05
Lost Trail - Lincoln NF
10  2013-11-23
Staircase Canyon - Yubao's Cut
10  2013-11-13
A Trail #119
17  2012-11-04
Ortega Canyon
80  2010-10-27
Ortega Canyon
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Feb, Oct
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:28am - 6:47pm
0 Alternative

Nice to Have If Needed...
by imike

Often hiking down in Dry Canyon I have wished for a shortcut over the ridge to the west, going directly up to Horse Ridge and Ortega Peak. I have cut off trail a number of times, not always with great results. Yet... there is a track; you just have to know how to find it. From the Dry Canyon side it is not easy.

The best approach is to hike this route first from the west side of the ridge, top to bottom. The track begins just west of Ortega Peak where it connects with T119, the "A" trail. It is clear and obvious, a two wheel rut, ATV cut and maintained, illegally.

The track cuts up and down across a number of drainages, winding its way north around the western face of Ortega Peak, then along below Horse Ridge. It finally drops down into Lost Trail Drainage (south) before it turns and begins a steep climb to the north to access the ridge that will carry it east to the low saddle and over into the Dry Canyon drainage.

Note: Lost Trail begins at the bottom of that hill climb to the ridge. It is not a clear trail (... it is Lost!) but trust that it will be there and instead of climbing the hill, follow the ridge west around the drainage to your left if Lost Trail is your goal.

Once across the saddle, the track drops steeply, winding down a ridge edge. The rocky path has been traversed by ATVs, so it is clear, though too well worn. Eventually, looking down hill, a more pronounced road will appear on a meadowed hill below. That is your destination. Oddly, the tracks are nearly all gone by the time you reach this obviously still used lower roadway. No problem coming down hill, but if you were coming up the road, it would not be clear at all that this is where you need to head off and up.

From the bottom, Basically, you could simply move up the drainage to the left of the roadway, moving out of it to your right and you would run into the old track up where it is clearly defined.

Finishing your move downhill, you follow the roadway a short distance, intersecting the very clearly established Dry Canyon Trail (T5573). You can turn down canyon and follow it to its trailhead off of Highway 82, or turn to your right, up canyon, and follow it to its intersection with T119, "A" trail... carrying you around to Hershberger Peak and Ortega Peak before it drops back down to Alamogordo.

The Traverse is not a hike in unto itself... at best it is an option for connecting loops. I like knowing it is there; it can prove handy. If you are going to be hiking much in the canyons around and out of Dry Canyon, it makes sense to put in the time to become familiar with this connecting traverse.

The stated trailhead is for the "A" trail... the logical option for anyone interested in putting this traverse into use... but the elevation gains relate only to the trail itself. If you are hiking from Dry Canyon you will have substantially greater AEG.

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2010-10-27 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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the main drag in Alamogordo, White Sands Blvd, take 10th street east to its end at the Fire Station, turn left and pull over to park along the curb at the next culvert drainage. T119, "A" trail begins here. The Traverse intersects this trail about 3 miles up, just before reaching Ortega Peak.
    page created by imike on Oct 27 2010 9:49 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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