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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 Upper Drainage, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 1.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,253 feet
Elevation Gain 2,049 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,111 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.73
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
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
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
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Not the Best Route!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
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.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2012-11-01 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 Upper Drainage
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    There is so much to enjoy from the West Side Road access to the upper canyon. Head uphill and score the Old Mine site with the RockHouse Ruins. Head downhill and drop into the meadowed canyon, including what is likely the tallest running waterfall in the area. Certainly the surrounding cliffs range on up there.

    Luster and Jacqaline (?) joined in for the days shorter bit of adventure.

    Sited a bear... ran across the road. Bobcat print. Found some glass shards dating back (1910?)
    Caballero Canyon Upper Drainage
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    enjoying some of the cooler air up the hill. Huge section above West Side road is closed until July 1st... but we squeezed into and up an old logging road they had not marked for closure... also, hiked down canyon along the pipeline route. More options await for unmarked exploratory routes.
    Caballero Canyon Upper Drainage
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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 Upper Drainage
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From High Rolls on Hiway 82, east of Alamogordo, turn on to West Side Road (Forest Road 90) and follow it around to the hairpin turn arcing through Caballero Canyon North... approximately 8 miles. You will have passed the Trailhead to Dry Canyon Trail on your right, and not yet reached the trailhead for Caballero Canyon.

    You will know you are in the correct canyon by noting the dramatic waterfall formation that crosses the canyon within the hairpin section.
    page created by imike on Nov 01 2012 2:16 pm
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