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Dry Canyon Buttes, NM

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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,688 feet
Elevation Gain 1,800 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,300 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.96
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
69  2013-04-21
Pig Canyon
imike
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Any
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Winter
Sun  6:33am - 5:03pm
Route
 
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Dry Canyon Trail #5574
0.0 mi away
5.2 mi
1,582 ft
Dry Canyon Trail - Lower
0.4 mi away
4.0 mi
-900 ft
Winter Peak
0.5 mi away
4.4 mi
1,500 ft
Mill Ridge
1.0 mi away
2.8 mi
430 ft
Rock House Canyon
1.4 mi away
2.4 mi
1,790 ft
Salado Canyon (#130)
1.4 mi away
2.0 mi
480 ft
Dark Mesa Spur Trail
1.9 mi away
1.0 mi
50 ft
Bridal Veil Falls Trail T129
1.9 mi away
2.0 mi
106 ft
Grand View Trail #130
1.9 mi away
1.4 mi
207 ft
Dark Mesa and Dark Mesa Peak
1.9 mi away
1.0 mi
440 ft
[ View More! ]
A Very Easy Hard Hike
by imike

As you drive by or into Dry Canyon you cannot help but be drawn to thoughts of the rocky buttresses projecting out over the east side of the canyon. This is the same rock formation that wraps around the plateau to the north, and which the Highway 82 Tunnel cuts through and under. The multi-tiered cliffs form an impressive barrier; you have to wonder whether or not you could make your way up and through the cliffs.

You can.


The obvious start for this effort is the Dry Canyon Trail(5574) parking area. Head up the trail, keeping a watch for the first jeep track coming in from your left. Walking a slower pace you will intersect this old track in about 15 minutes. This obvious cut runs steeply up the foothill towards the cliffs, dead ending below a false peak. As you follow this ridge line you will cross three of these rises as you make your way off trail steadily up. This ridgeline will carry you nicely above the first barrier cliffs.

There are likely a number of options for scaling the upper cliffs... I think the nicer path is to angle south over into the canyon area.

Rock House Canyon on your right (to the south) will become ever more prominent, with a substantial dry waterfall carved into that line of lower cliffs. The easy route is to move in a southerly direction, ideally following the easier to walk on game trail that ranges over towards the Canyon opening. The game track lies about halfway between the upper and lower cliffs, and angles steadily upward. By the time you make it to the mouth of the canyon the trail will have lead up to the base of the upper cliffs.

Turning into the canyon you will note on your immediate left, a narrow defile, overgrown... This allows you access up and through the cliffs.

After scrambling up through that short climb, you will find yourself in a softer sloped field, with an obvious passage at the top, leading through yet another small cliff obstacle. Walking up and through you will be on top of the plateau!

Enjoy the vista views... walk the edge around to overview the tunnel area... or, walk into the scrub forest to intersect the old Jeep track (5572) for a variety of potential looping options.

You will never again have to look up at the Dry Canyon Buttes and wonder... now, you'll know!

Note: off trail... lots of sticky stuff... lose rocks... steep grades!

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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, follow Highway 82 towards Cloudcroft. Past the milepost 5 marker, look to your right for the gated opening that leads down into Dry Canyon. Pass through the gate and down into the shooting range area, following the road straight to its end. Park at the Dry Canyon Trailhead. If the gate is closed, it means the forest is closed, probably because of fire danger (typical to May/June)
    page created by imike on Apr 22 2013 8:26 am
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