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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.

Purgatory Peak, NM

no permit
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Guide 0 Triplogs  0 Topics
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
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,257 feet
Elevation Gain 2,650 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,810 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.96
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Perennial 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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Sep, Jul, Jun → Early
Seasons   Early Winter to Late Winter
Sun  5:48am - 6:09pm
0 Alternative
by imike

Likely In-Season!
You will be hard pressed to locate this overshadowed peak on the map.

Purgatory Peak lies between the north and south fork saddles on Purgatory Ridge. It represents the effective high point of that Ridge… to go further up you will really be climbing up the north face of Long Ridge.

Long Ridge rises to over 8,000’. Purgatory Peak, at 7260’, is lost in the under view. But, its 360 degree views are exceptional. The overgrown Long Ridge does not offer the same great vantages.

If you approach the peak from the route up and along Purgatory Ridge, you have over 2.5 miles of off trail hiking. This is a great hiking route and probably the best way to enjoy this high point. Check out that hike description for a detailing of that route.

If you approach the peak from the Good Canyon drainage, you will hike 1.5 miles from the old cabin site in Alamo Canyon. A great looping route is to hike up Purgatory Ridge then exit down into Good Canyon, returning along the Alamo Canyon Trail (T104).

No matter how you approach the peak, you will be logging lots of off trail miles. T104, the Alamo Canyon Trail, is not a trail… it is a route running along the base of the canyon. It walks about like you are off trail. You can improve the route if you can find and walk the remnants of the old mining road, but that can be an imposing challenge.

From the mouth of Purgatory Canyon, you have 2.8 miles to the T104 Trailhead.

From the old mining cabin you have 5.4 miles to the T104 Trailhead.

There is close to 2500’ of climbing from the T104 Trailhead up to Purgatory Peak, and some additional ups and downs, depending on your route.

Note: if you decide to approach the Peak from the old mining cabin site, walk from the site around the left side of the large rock above the creek, down and across the creek, and up into Good Canyon. Move immediately up to your right, following the old use trail. This trail moves nicely along the ride side of the canyon, usually about 60’ to 100’ above the canyon bottom. Exit the trail to your right after a half mile, choosing whatever route carries you up and to the south. The hill to your right is Purgatory Ridge… your goal is to climb to the top, but you can angle up and around softly. For the most part, you should find open routes. Once on top of the ridge, follow it south and up to Purgatory Peak...about 1.5 miles of trekking from the cabin.

For folks who hike the Hershberger Peak area, this peak is a must do. The views and perspective are exceptional. You can see that the formation north of Caballero Canyon called the Devil’s Backbone really extends south across and into Caballero and Alamo Canyon, forming the impressive cliffs on the north side of Alamo Canyon. The rock striations of Hershberger stand out in impressive detail. All of Good Canyon fall into view. The Mesa, The Roundup Grounds… it all is displayed below you.

Do not miss this hidden peak!

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

2013-04-27 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 Review
    Purgatory Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Terri’s Friday group put off the Garden Wall hike until next week… so, I decided on a long delayed exploratory: Purgatory Ridge. Since Purgatory Canyon cliffs out from below, the ridge was a shot at seeing what the upper portion of the canyon held.

    No real energy, so slow slog up Alamo Canyon, 2.8 miles to the mouth of Purgatory Canyon, and the climb up and onto the Ridge. There the hike began for real.

    I chose to angle up below the crest of the ridge, following deer trails that overlooked Purgatory. Eventually, I angled over the crest to take in the views into and across Alamo Canyon… very nice! After an easy crest walk the ridge cliffed out… I opted to scoot around and below on the right and scored a great Elk Trail… that carried me up past the rocks, and once above, again I crossed over to check out the Alamo Canyon area. The Ridge was giving me views I’d never had across so much area that I spend time hiking across. It promised to continue to give more and more as I climbed higher and higher.

    I continually opted to follow game tracks off the top of the Ridge crest on the Purgatory Canyon side… it paid off with sneak peaks down into the canyon, but never any clear views. I did note an obvious detail: across and above the canyon, the rock cliffs that formed the barrier to scaling the south side of Lower Purgatory Canyon made for a consistent incline ledge that, like the Garden Wall hike, formed a natural hiking route. You could access the Cliffs down at the mouth of the canyon and walk their upper edge up and around nearly all the way up to the terminal waterfall formation that capped out Upper Purgatory Canyon. It would not be a too hard hike. Nice.

    Up… and up some more, very slowly.

    Finally, I wrapped around and found myself on the cliffs on the north side of the canyon… walking the edges towards a dramatic waterfall formation… 80+ feet of sheer wall closing off the uppercanyon.

    I made for the top of Purgatory Ridge to the north… and climbed up to the north fork saddle. From there, up to Purgatory Peak and the high point of the Ridge. The views were impressive, and I spotted an alternative return route: Good Canyon to the east looked to intersect back with Alamo Canyon… probably near the old cabin site above the mine? If it would connect, it would mean returning sort of on trail.

    It looked clear… it was. It dropped me right to the cabin!

    There was a small problem… I’d planned on a 4-6 hour hike. I’d brought along fluid and calories for that effort. But, here I was nearing the six hour point and had yet to turn for home. I’d noticed that my feet could begin to cramp if stressed to a particular position. Not a great sign.

    At seven hours I was on the way home, but moving slow. The slower pace did have a bright spot: I paid more attention to the route of the old roadbed from the mine down the canyon… and took more pictures documenting the remains of the old water line. I also paid closer attention to the engine block below the mine. Over the years it appears then reappears as the depth of the river bed rises and falls. Today, I checked it out. It was a straight six, Oldsmobile engine. I have no idea from what year.

    Also found some interesting bottles from 50+ years ago… with very specific text… I snapped pictures; they’ll be posted.

    Legs began to cramp after the seventh hour… not steady, but did not portend well. The pace slowed, but I was now plodding along over paths I’d covered many, many times before… getting home was a sure thing. I just wish I’d thrown in that second half gallon of OJ… it would have made the extra hours about right. The half gallon of OJ and two no cal energy drinks that I did have was just not enough. This would have been a great hike to have 1.5 gallons of fluid… and the potassium from the full gallon of Orange Juice.

    As I opened the door to the truck at the trailhead, I noted that the hike logged a bit over 12 miles… 3700’ of up/down… and 8.5 hours of total clock time. GPS showed 1.5 hours of down time; I’m not sure that is right.

    I drank the half gallon of OJ within the next 30 minutes… hands and legs still cramping here two hours later, legs really twisting me up! My fault. It was a fasting day. If the hike is longer than four hours I add in 200-300 calories per hour of OJ to try to diminish the impact, and get that potassium that will keep me from cramping. Today, not enough of anything, except effort.

    Thinking back to the highpoint of the hike: it was a great day. Purgatory Peak is a must do. Purgatory Cliffs may be another great mid level effort route to add to the lists. Purgatory Canyon remains as before: why go there!

    I think I’ll check Good Canyon off my list this coming Sunday!

    Wow, this is fun stuff! Solo wandering up and around, out and about…

    Note: first snake sightings of the year!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The various approaches to this peak all range along the Alamo Canyon Trail, T104. To reach the Alamo Canyon trailhead in Alamogordo, from the main drag, White Sands Blvd, take any of the major intersecting streets east to Scenic Drive. Take Scenic Drive south to its end at the City water tower. Turn onto Alamo Canyon Rd, passing around the water tower on the left. Follow Alamo Canyon Rd to its upper end. Park at the City Water Works.
    page created by imike on Apr 27 2013 11:02 am
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