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San Andreas Canyon - Lower #2094, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 4.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,500 feet
Elevation Gain 2,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,300 feet
Avg Time One Way 6 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.96
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
Official Route
 
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Water
Trail 2094!! ???
by imike

It's a real trail... says so right on the map!

The Forest Service seems to believe so, too... they numbered it and posted a Carbonite sign to clearly designate it for hikers, bikers, horses and motorcycle riders. Of course the sign only served to give the locals yet another target for the assortment of fire power they love to discharge up in these hills. The surrounding land over which everyone has to approach is BLM. Working with the Forest Service they have tried to limit the abuses, controlling both the rampant ATV abuses... and the over zealous target practice. To date their efforts have resulted in the locals using their ATV's to access the areas to shoot up all the restrictive signs.


So much for the idea to convert the area over to hiking and camping.

Fortunately, the abuses do not extend too far up into the canyon. While this is the easiest canyon for public access (you can drive right up to it...) only the first 1.3 miles remains easy. That lower portion is mostly a "wash wallow", slogging through gravel and sand with few obstacles. The canyon walls surrounding both sides soar dramatically overhead from the very beginning. Anyone even bothering to experience this lower section will be richly rewarded.

The fun begins as limestone slabs begin to project and protrude up through the canyon floor... finally, they form complete obstacles... oddly sculptured waterfall scapes bridging the canyon bottom. If you look to your right, you will note that the lower sidewalls are angling up with a myriad of layers, thinly stacked and eroding away in very interesting forms. This "stacked layers" section forms the bridge between the lower section and the upper section with it's jumble of giant boulders. The layers fall away a bit over 2 miles into the canyon, just below the Fork into San Andreas South. At this point the route finding and bouldering begins.

If you are hiking in the winter months, chances are you will not get to enjoy any sunshine until you clear the layers.

There will be some open walking, but not a great deal. The next mile up to Cottonwood Springs can be an interesting challenge. Winding back and forth, side to side, the mileage might well be double the linear distance.

Take your time and enjoy.

As you work your way up you will have a clear view of the giant waterfall that caps out the lower San Andreas South Canyon.

If the boulders pose too great of a challenge... look around, there are always alternative scrambles to avoid the climbs.

At a bit over 3 miles into the hike you will find Cottonwood Springs a delight. Huge Cottonwoods clustered amid giant boulders... cattails and grasses... it is a welcome break.

The final mile continues with ever more climbing and winding... there appear to be a number of side canyon options for exploring. The canyon finally terminates in a shear cliff... the narrow waterfall pour over is the end of the Lower Upper San Andreas Canyon... another great off trail hike. Do that hike from West Side Road and rap down the falls to connect with this hike?

The turn around and down yields equally great views and vistas, especially as the shadows accent the canyon over the course of the day. Take your time and check out the old rusted water feed lines... listen carefully, you will hear rushing water; those old pipes are still in use!

This is a great canyon, but demanding. There is no easy loop up and out; you have to downclimb everything you went up... be aware of the time and give yourself plenty of daylight to get out, or take enough gear to enjoy an overnight stay!

Check out the Official Route.

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

2012-11-12 imike
    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
    San Andreas Canyon - Lower #2094
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Finally followed this once official route all the way up to its end... it terminates roughly up in San Andreas north. At one time someone put in a lot of work on this trail, probably to move cattle to the various springs in the canyon. They still pipe water out of the canyon; the source must be one of the more reliable in the area.

    Hackberry Spring had a pool of water... surrounded by numerous dead or dying Hackberry trees...

    Climbing down and out of the North Canyon I managed to break a rib using my body for a friction descent down a crack... not the first time to break a rib, but the first time I heard it snap... interesting!

    We looped down and out of the north cut and up into the south canyon, or real target for the day. Alas, I decided to turn around early, so we will have to return to check out the upper dryfall, perhaps combining it with the very inviting Holder Ridge Cut... possibly ascending that shallow canyon then traverse the base of the upper cliffs over to the south dryfall? Guess we'll wait for cooler weather... the list of lower canyon cool weather exploratories is getting long!

    I forgot to pack my camera; missed a variety of great shots... hopefully it will be as good when we go back in next month.

    Mary's most demanding canyon hike to date... she did great!
    San Andreas Canyon - Lower #2094
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Arrow Canyon
    Kicking this month off with an under impressive bit of AEG... but we enjoyed exploring a variety of canyons off of the west side of Burleson Ridge.

    Meeting at the Oro Vista fire department, then reorienting over to Linda's house... we hiked up into the Arrow canyon drainage. There are 4-5 options... we checked out the lower reaches of just a couple. We need to head back up fo a few days of exploring to the top o each of those cuts.

    Back at Linda's for fresh raisin bread and iced tea, we split off from Dick, Nelly and Elaina...and Linda... and drove south exploring the old 4x4 routes to the series of canyons: Lead... then Muleshoe and finally, San Andreas. We did minor hikes in each, but at San Andreas I noticed (finally!) the entry to the old trail that is on the topo maps: #2094. That proved to be an exception trail! While it does not do anything more than dump you back into the canyon proper below the fork splits, at one time it was given enough focus that even now it remains an exceptional bit of hiking.

    Note: it takes off to the north, steeply climbing, from the loop turn around on the jeep road, right before that road drops down onto the lower bench on the side of the canyon bottom.

    Ross provided the 4x4 truck for the after hike hikes. A good day out!
    San Andreas Canyon - Lower #2094
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Odd day. Bit of a later start waiting for a no-show hiking partner... then some driving around deciding on which hike to do. Ended up hiking cross country checking out the Sacramento Escarpment Recreation area (BLM)... then finally headed up San Andreas Canyon. First of the area canyons that shows a volume of local use, but as always, when it gets a bit hard, the footprints fall by the wayside. It was a slow trudge... energy was off. Climbing was shaky. My initial impression of the canyon was "less than"... but, that changed as I hiked out and took time to soak in the settings.

    I only had nine hours of sunlight for the hike. I'd normally break that up to 6 up/ 3 down. With the more difficult routing in this canyon I though early on about doing 5 up then 4 down. After drinking my entire gallon of fluid by midday, I decided on an even split: 4.5 up... 4.5 out. Turned out I did not need it... I was out of the canyon by 3:30pm... back to the truck by 4pm. Now,. I have to go back up in there to get the pics of the last half mile below the falls. I might just hit it from above... drop in by rope?

    Odd Canyon... not really hard... not really easy. I need to re-experience it when my energy is good. Was nice to be back out exploring solo...

    time for a rest day!

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To canyon trip
    From Alamogordo, follow Hiway 54 south from Hiway 70, 5 miles to Taylor Ranch Road. Turn east onto Taylor Ranch Road and follow it 2 miles (deadend), there turning right (south) onto Taylor Ranch Road (?)... following that paved road for one mile. Turn left (east) onto the dirt road. You may follow this rough track for a bit over a mile, all the way up to the mouth of the canyon, or park anywhere along it and walk up to the canyon.
    page created by imike on Nov 12 2012 6:27 pm
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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