Not the Best Route!
The various sections of the Caballero Canyon drainages provide some of the most interesting hiking east of Alamogordo. This section compliments the lower reaches with a very challenging off trail meander, kicked off by some historic browsings and musings.
Taking off from West Side Road (Forest Rd 90) where it crosses the north fork of Caballero Canyon, you follow an old jeep track up through deadfalls and new growth pines... to emerge at the old rock house mining site. The building walls remain nicely intact... even parts of the old basement is in evidence where the floors have fallen in. There are still a variety of abandoned items left from the mining activity.
Leaving the building, you have the option of following one of three drainages up towards the 8900' level... the ridgeline extending north from Alamo Peak. The softer and longer approach will be the one to the north. The middle cut is likely the faster approach. The approach up the canyon to the south is likely to be the steeper and more over grown route. If you choose to follow the middle course, you will be rewarded with the mine site proper. The old pit is not yet fully filled in... and mining debris lies scattered all around the site. If you pay close attention you will realize you are following an old road track that lead all the way up to the mine. It is often hard to spot but it is there.
As you make your way up the drainage or ridge side, notice the additional diggings oriented around the various trees that had toppled over naturally. It was a pattern to use the root pits from the fallen tree as the beginning of a simple dig... the fallen tree roots holding bits of gold ore?
Of course the prize to be found today is the top of the mountain, Alamo Peak. Once you top out on the ridge you turn south and make your way up to the Observatory. The views will be impressive.
If you happen to track a bit too far east you may run into one of the old logging roads... you can follow it around and up to intersect the paved road up to the peak. Your net mileage and net elevation gains will vary depending on which off trail route you follow.
Once on top, you can decide whether or not to retrace your path down the mountain, or hit the Alamo Peak Trail (#109) back down to West Side Road.
Check out the Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.