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Purgatory Ridge, NM

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
0 1 0
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.61 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,395 feet
Elevation Gain 1,865 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,955 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.13
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
47  2013-04-26
Alamo Canyon Trail #104
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 71 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Winter
Sun  4:55am - 7:14pm
0 Alternative

A Better Purgatory!
by imike

The Drainage below Long Ridge on the South, Alamo Canyon on the North, Good Canyon on the East... and RoundUp Canyon on the West: that would be the Purgatory Canyon area. Since the Purgatory Canyon proper is both overgrown and cliffed out, there are limited routes allowing nice access.

Purgatory Ridge on the north side of the canyon is the nicest of those routes.

The Ridge forms the south side of Alamo Canyon and the north side of Purgatory Canyon, alternately offering exceptional views and overviews of both canyons.

From the mouth of Purgatory Canyon, you climb to the left, steeply rising to the low crest of the canyon wall. Once on the hill you have the option of going further left, to the crown of the hill, or to stay lower on the Purgatory Canyon side of the hill. I think that is the nicer route. Either way, you will find yourself eventually on the softer slopes above... and looking up to see that the ridge cliffs out.

Fortunately, you can angle to the right, catching a great game trail winding up and around under the cliffs on the Purgatory Canyon side of the Ridge.

Pick up a nice bloom stalk for a hiking staff for the next section of the hike; you'll be glad you have it for stability.

This trail will carry you around and up to the top of the lower cliffs. You will note that the Ridge at this point is separated from the main Purgatory Canyon cut... two side canyons lie between you and the primary canyon.

Above the rock cliffs, angle up and over the Ridge crest and take in the view down into and across Alamo Canyon... then, start climbing again, angling across and over to the main canyon. If you catch the right game trails you will intersect Purgatory Canyon at Lunch Rock... a prominence of rock that is part of the canyon cliffs that form the north side of Upper Purgatory Canyon. Enjoy a nice lunch break, and the interesting cacti growing from the rock walls... then move up and around the left side of the rock... to the overview of the terminus of the upper canyon: A sheer rock wall Waterfall formation cuts off Upper Purgatory Canyon.

Above the falls, the canyon splits into a north and south fork. You have the option at this point to follow the cliff top down to the falls formation... or, climb back up onto the crest of the Ridge and follow that route up and over to the saddle of the north fork drainage. At that point you have less than 300’ of climbing remaining to top out Purgatory Ridge.

Purgatory Peak lies between the north and south fork saddles. It is effectively the high point and the terminus of Purgatory Ridge. If you climb higher from this point you will be ascending the north side of Long Ridge... and no longer be having any fun.

The views from Purgatory Peak are exceptional.

You have a number of return options to get home: the way you came up, around and down to connect with Purgatory Cliffs, down into Good Canyon to connect with Alamo Canyon Trail... or, Purgatory Canyon itself.

This is one nice hike... all off trail but lots of it walks easier than off trail implies.

Check out the Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The Ridge hike takes off from Alamo Canyon Trail, t104. From the Alamo Canyon trailhead in Alamogordo, follow the route up and around past the upper Roundup Grounds Trailhead, to the pool size rock that marks the entrance to Purgatory Canyon... 2.7 miles into the hike. Move up and on to the Ridge to your left.
    page created by imike on Apr 27 2013 10:31 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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