Hidden...But So Very Nice!
The problem with hiking up or down the lower section of Alamo Canyon is that for the most part you are walking the canyon bottom through a mix of sand and loose river rock. It can become a drag. It is an official trail, yet there is no trail. The only apparent alternative is to loop up over and down the Roundup Grounds Trail, but that adds over 1,000' of extra climbing and descending, some of that very rough and steep.
There is a hidden alternative.
Wrapping around the Roundup Grounds Plateau is a trail. It traverses the entire length of the Plateau base adjacent to Alamo Canyon, from Deadman's Canyon to Roundup Canyon. Effectively, it walks the cliff top bench around the 5300'/5400' elevation level... far below the upper edge cliffs of the Roundup Grounds, and over 100' above the bottom of Alamo Canyon.
The better intersection to this trail is on the far back side of the Plateau, off of the Roundup Grounds Trail (T107). As that trail climbs out of the Alamo Canyon bottom, it ascends up through a steep gully, eventually exiting at some large rock cairns where the trail wraps around to the south into Roundup Canyon. At that gully top intersection, instead of heading south, move to the north on the obvious heavy use game trail.
A trail this developed usually means a firm destination: water... feed... bottom or top of a formation. In this case it is the path around and down to the mouth of Alamo Canyon. This is a clear trail, often in better shape and much easier to traverse than the formal Forest Service routes below and above it. It is a delight to hike these cliff tops, overlooking the Canyon bottom and taking in the nice cross canyon views.
The trail grows narrower and ever fainter as it loops the base of the Plateau. It remains easy to follow. Eventually, emerging on the far west side, the trail diffuses out over the broad bench area joining with Deadman's Canyon to the south. At this point there is no trail. Walking down and over towards Deadman's Canyon will connect you with the formal Roundup Grounds Trail, which interestingly, uses the same bench formation for it's initial traverse around the west side. Turn to the right to head to the T104 Trailhead at the mouth of Alamo Canyon.
This lack of direct connection to the trail makes it advisable to hike this route from above for the first few trips, becoming familiar with the lower connections, although really all you have to do is walk around and above Alamo Canyon... you would eventually connect.
What is particularly nice about this trail: it offers miles of near level hiking adjacent to great canyon formations. After the initial ascent from either end, you are ambling nearly level... and on a trail! That is rare for Alamogordo hikes.
Check out the Triplogs.
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.
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