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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.

Caballero Canyon North, NM

no permit
10 0 2
Guide 0 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,762 feet
Elevation Gain 2,501 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,740 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.13
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial 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   May, Sep, Oct, Aug → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
0 Alternative
Da Road! Da Road!!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
The Forest Service messed up Big Time when they failed to route a formal trail up and through this canyon drainage. I compounded their error by failing to check out the canyon for the first seven years hiking here.

This canyon has water flowing in it... year round! Now, that in itself is exceptional.

The official route (T103) moves out of Caballero Canyon and climbs across the upper meadow and on up to West Side Road (FR90) via an old Jeep track. The road is an ugly scar... a slippery mess in wet weather and even a steep slide during dry weather. It follows the main city water pipe line... and provides ready access for illegal ATV use.

This alternative route up to West Side Road allows for a split option. You can hike the four miles up T104/T103 to the lower riparian area...

...then follow the official trail up the jeep track to the concrete water trough below the upper meadow. At that point, instead of turning to the right and remaining on the official trail, proceed straight ahead on the obvious old road bed. It crests the hill then drops away down into the next drainage. Though not as obvious, the old track curves around and up and over into Caballero Canyon north, crossing the canyon bottom and following the drainage on a bench bulldozed out for the pipeline. This old roadbed/pipeline track continues for over a mile, running nicely above the narrow canyon bottom. Eventually, the roadbed ends, and you have to convert to a nice game trail on the other side of the drainage... easy to do at the top of the small meadow area. That track will carry you on up to the dripping grotto area below the large waterfall. To scale the fall, move over to the far left (north) side of the canyon and find the trail that runs more or less along with the water pipeline... now running above ground. The trail hugs the cliffs and winds you nicely to the top of the falls. You can climb from there immediately up to West Side road to the north, or enjoy the short forested track in the drainage that will lead you to the hairpin turn of the road 1/4 mile further up the canyon.

...Back down at the Riparian area...

...alternative to the jeep road:

...instead of following the official trail, stay in the creek bottom... and follow it up and around into North Caballero Canyon, turning right into that drainage, and follow it up to where it connects with the pipeline route. At that point you can remain in the narrow canyon bottom, or enjoy the open pipe road track.

Following this route you are effectively in the drainage that provides the traverse up and over to Hell Hole. If you want to do the traverse as part of your loop (going up to Hell Hole Mine and looping around and back down Caballero Canyon) instead of turning to the right up into the North Caballero Canyon, go straight, always bearing to your left at any split... it is narrow, steep and gets you up to the old mine site (Hell Hole trail #219)

Caballero Canyon North: since the canyon split is over four miles into the hike from the trailhead, consideration should be given to exactly which looping routes you plan to do.

The joy of this route: running water... hardwood colors... canopy shade... meadow routes... and it tops out at a waterfall! The big surprise: Da Road! If they had not bulldozed out the pipeline route, this canyon would not be fun. Who Knew... I do now!

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

2012-10-07 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
    Caballero Canyon North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Bit of a misunderstanding for our hike... Scheduled: Good Canyon Exploratory. Luster had a specific canyon near Womack Mines in mind... as good canyons! So, we shifted (Good has waited six years... it will still be there) and dropped into a ridge cut east of Womack immediately below West Side Road. Traversing over one cut, we passed up some exceptional rock and proceeded to drop down the drainage. I was thinking this might be the east split off the old Caballero Traverse; I'd never hiked that cut... might be nice to get it off the to-do list.

    Turns out this Cut dropped directly into North Caballero... nicely. Which would mean the one we crossed would also flow into same.

    We hiked the old waterpipe road around and down, eventually dropping back into the big canyon. We turned up my old Traverse route (soon to be renamed Womack Cut) and proceeded up to the Mine. Lots of interesting color... lots of too warm weather (what is with that!) Topping out at the old Mine works we spent time exploring the old tailings, both east and west side.

    The goal today on this loop: check out the rock ridge above the line of rocks holding the many shafts to the east. So... climbed the Hell Hole road to a high point then headed cross the ridge... and scored a fairly easy route that carried us across... to discover more shafts, but not developed all that much. One more check of this area to document all of the existing mines should close out the exploring in this area... although there remain 3-4 cuts to check below the mines.

    Scored really nice crystal copper flow stone(?)... Did not look the same at home! What is with that... need to post it online and see if folks can identify...

    Other than the warm... great hike!
    Caballero Canyon North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Off trail to Alamo Peak!

    ;) Well, that went better than I thought it might! ;)

    After not being able to make it up 800 feet on a clear trail on Friday, the thought of 5,000' of off trail bushwhacking had me thinking about calling the day off. I rested Saturday... and awoke this morning not knowing what to expect. Yubao was at the trailhead just after 5:30am and we headed up canyon. I was very conservative about our pace and stopped often for hits of food and fluid. The easy pace made for a great a morning... we climbed out of the canyon proper and enjoyed breakfast at the rock house mine site. From there I knew I wanted to head north to catch the ridge and follow it up and around, but I had not loaded any routes into the GPS. So, we hiked up to the mine site, then angled slightly north from there... until we didn't.

    I caught a series of broken elk trails that looped us more and more south... much more south than I thought. Our target peak: 9300'. We topped out at 8700'+ on a peak south and west of our target. South!!!

    So... dropping off that peak, we descended and began the re-climb... and added in a loop around the north side of the mountain, just because I knew we could catch an old logging road to make for an easier finish to the Observatory. Even with all of that diversion, we enjoyed lunch on the peak ahead of schedule.

    We'd planned to do the 104 trail down the mountain, but I was feeling good and suggested that we use another route home... it would add to our already added to elevation gain and show Yubao a new stretch of hiking. It would also give him a shot at yet another mini-peak plus a very interesting descent. He liked the mini-peak. He could have done without the descent. (I am yet to find anyone who likes climbing down the mesa cliffs on the city water line... go figure?)

    I'd stashed a half gallon of chocolate milk at the base of the pipeline as we passed it hiking in... I'd finished off my gallon of fluids about an hour earlier and was feeling the need for some wet and some calories. It hit the spot with 2.5 miles to go... at that same spot Yubao spotted a nice 35# rock he liked. Since my pack had plenty of space with the water all gone, it only seem reasonable to load me up. He did. I closed out the very nice day enjoying a nice pack weight augmentation.

    Just missed the sunset... but caught the red glows around us on the upper canyon walls. A very good day!
    Caballero Canyon North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    A planned exploratory up to the top of the Steamboat formation got re-routed because of rain... we hiked up Alamo Canyon but instead of heading up Deadman for the planned hike, we stayed in the easier route, hoping for a change in the weather. Heading up Caballero the drizzle persisted, so detoured into Caballero North, then made an exploratory left turn up into Hell Hole Canyon. I've intended to check this one out for years. Today would be the day.

    Expectations were high. Overshadowed by the dramatic ridge of Devils Backbone I had visions of bedrock cliffs and falls. What we got instead: easy walking gravel. At the entry there was some nice strata, but for the most part the sidewalls were 30-50' tall sedimentary deposits... precarious piles of impending dirt and gravel. Finally, we scored a great section of sculptured, multi-tiered falls... a section good enough to make the canyon worth the effort.

    Choosing the split closest to towards the backbone, we exited the bottom of the canyon and worked our way up a steep side ridge, to the base of the backbone formation... then began the tedious process of finding a slot that would let us ascend. Close, but no exit... the wet/muddy rock was a bit too challenging. I'd spotted an access point at the far end of the backbone from down lower, so we made our way across and up, ascending the old tailings pile from the abandoned copper mine. That put us on to Hell Hole Trail, and into deep mud! Soon we were on to "A" trail and out of the mud... and to a touch of sunlight for our meal of the day. Down "A"... checking out a portion of the new Ortega Peak trail... then, the long trudge through town back to our cars... even diverted to city streets; Yubao's boots had killed the bottom of his feet; pavement felt better than dirt!?

    So, not the exploratory Hike I had planned... but very nice day on the trail. I need to go back when it is dry and check out the other forks, maybe find a route up to Hershberger Peak?
    Caballero Canyon North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Interesting to lead a Meetup Group up canyon for a moderate level day hike... nice folk, and the day may have served to give them a taste of the potentials for showing up for the canyoneering hikes coming up over the next few months... or not! They did good... hopefully, they had a good time.
    Caballero Canyon North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Very interesting outing. Plan was to do an exploratory up into Hell Hole Canyon... but, Yuboa showed up, so decided to go up into the Traverse to salvage some old elk bones. Alas, the bones were long gone, but I did find my jacket lost 3 years ago! From the old mine site above Hell Hole, we decided to loop over and descend Caballero Canyon North... another long delayed exploratory canyon route. Got lucky on the descent into the drainage; easy trail down through the upper gorge waterfall... then it got interesting. The gurgling brook continued to gurgle. The bottom of the canyon was a deep V cut, overgrown and often water filled, but the general canyon bottom was shelved out, replete with small meadows and surrounded by a variety of hardwood trees. Initially, we followed a nicely developed game trail, then surprisingly, an old bulldozed road bed. City of Alamogordo had cleared a route and buried a water collection line feeding from the spring above west side road (FR 90). That meant an easy meander down and out of the canyon! In the lower section we could have dropped over into the narrow bottom, but instead chose to stick with the pipeline to confirm that it connected up with Trail 103 (Caballero Canyon Trail) up at the old concrete stockpond. Sure enough... I'd glanced down that old roadbed a couple of times over the years. It had never occurred to me that it would possibly work it's way around and over into the North Caballero Canyon drainage. This easy passage may open up the possibility for an all off trail route from Alamogordo up to The White Sands Observatory on Alamo Peak! 4400' to 9600'... starting with an open, dry canyon approach, then a narrow riparian stretch... then the hardwood forest section up to the cleft waterfall... from there up to the old road house mining site... into the pines and firs and ideally, ridging out to the Observatory... all off trail! Gotta try that out over the next week or so.

    Colors beginning to come on... sumac blazing red today.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the main drag in Alamogordo(White Sands Blvd) proceed east on any major street until you reach Scenic Drive. Follow Scenic to the far south end, and turn onto Alamo Canyon Rd (around the left side of the large city water tank). Follow Alamo Canyon road east... to the end. Park in the gravel lot adjacent to the city water processing facility.
    page created by imike on Oct 07 2012 6:35 pm
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