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Quarry Canyon, NM

no permit
198 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
5 of 5 by 1
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 5,413 feet
Elevation Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.33
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack No
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
19  2013-12-22 Jim_H
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   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:52am - 6:01pm
0 Alternative
It's the Pits!
by imike

There are a number of shorter canyons to be found in the front edges of the mountains immediately east of Alamogordo… this is one of the nicer surprises.

Tucked away at the east end of the old Marble Quarry near the mouth of Marble Canyon, at first glance you imagine this drainage to be little more than a pour over fall climbing steeply and immediately up to the ridge on the north side of Marble Canyon.

It does climb to that ridge… but it is neither steep nor immediate. This turns into a very pleasant “eventually” hike, mostly walking over bedrock with the occasional small falls thrown in for minor entertainment.

You access the canyon by hiking up, into and through the old quarry. Once to the upper east end of the rock processing, it is an easy bit of scrambling up into the drainage, up a small falls to the paved walkway.

As you walk this narrow bottom the drainage appears to draw to a close time and again… yet at the top of each successive end… it continues to wind around an up.

Eventually… the cut is so shallow you feel as if you are hiking up a ridge, but then a surprising site/sight awaits.

Just as the cut rounds out into a bare slab of bedrock, you will notice an unnatural piles of rubble. 20 tons of excavated rock have been neatly piled in rows… from the three small quarry pits drilled and cleaved out of a natural fault line.

It’s the old gold mine off trail T119 around the 5700’ elevation level!

So… the canyon is defined top and bottom with this man altered feature. Interestingly, there is an old drill and splitting wedge snugged into the rock at both sites.

The easy access back to your car is likely T119... Just a few hundred yards to the north.

Don’t remove the historic relics… don’t fall off the ledges… don’t fall into the pits.


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2013-11-09 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 of 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Quarry Canyon
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    14 Hikers looping up through the Marble Quarry, up Quarry Canyon... topping Marble Bluffs, descending the Cliffs Base trail... and down and out Marble North. Planned as a 3+ hour RockHounding Loop. Sort of our version of a Beginners Hike... but a bit too hard for most Beginners... alas. We hit the time and made it out before the heat settled in.

    Most of the hikers drove over from Cruces...?

    We scored rock!
    Quarry Canyon
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    Combined Quarry with the traverse up to the Gold Mine on the A... then used the traverse over into Terri's Cut for the exit down and out. Combining routes we are starting to develop named loops... "Wraps" for us. To date we have Rap Wrap, Ross's Wrap, this one will become the Crinoid Wrap... many more to come!

    As always, Quarry exceptional... in both setting and historical dynamic... great hike! Marble Bluffs on the upper end, Crinoid heaven!
    Quarry Canyon
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    32 hikers showed up this morning out of the 42 signed up for this second in the Series: Canyon Light. We ascended the old Alamo Marble Quarry, slipping into the hidden Quarry Canyon at the upper end. Up Quarry to the Marble Bluffs saddle... and enjoyed a first group descent of this new route. The sunlight angle tended to bleach out the over abundance of fossils along the base of the cliffs... maybe a good thing with this huge army of a group.

    We dropped off the cliff base using lower Quarry Canyon.

    Now, back in Marble North, we crossed the drainage and began climbing the low bench that would give us good access up and into the north middle canyon, Redstone. Redstone was the greater challenge of the day. Even with the huge group the lower namesake section passed too fast... and the upper section proved to be a bit more angled than I'd recalled. I credited it to recent tectonic activity. It really was flatter the last time I hiked up it.

    Eventually, all that hard labor got us up and over the saddle and into the south middle canyon, Surprise.

    All down hill... mostly bedrock ledge walking... moods improved. Surprise is just that... around every corner it just gets better! This is a great exit route for many of our upper Marble drainage hikes.

    The lower boulder garden proved to be the favorite of a number of the hikers. Alas, it marked the end of the hike. I turned the group down Marble South... with an invitation for an add on up and through the Narrows. Fewer than ten hikers thought that a good option. The group split... the smaller group heading up... the rest heading to their cars for the long drive home. Most of these hikers had driven over from El Paso and Las Cruces, 1.5 hours each way.

    This Canyon Light Series is designed to accommodate that: later start (9am), shorter time out (6 hours), and easier (1500' limit). It is hugely more popular than my old pattern of 8-10 hour days with 20+ miles and 5,000-8,000' of up/down... all way off trail, often in Class II Canyons. Who Knew?

    ...even with the Narrows tagged on, my group finished within the 6 hour limit. Fun Day had by all??

    Full Picture Set:
    Quarry Canyon
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    First loop with Alena... drove over from El paso. Big emphasis on fossils today.

    Second loop with Rebecca and her one year old son... Will and his six year old... Lynda, John, Kathryn.

    12 hours door to door for me... so odd... in the summer I was frustrated to not hit 12,000' with that many hours (...16 hours!) and now I log only 3,000'!!

    Terri back tomorrow... start in on real training? The knee seems to be good, but until I stress it with some serious mileage, I will not really know.
    Quarry Canyon
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    Early start... did a different approach, and was scoring repeated hits on my right foot... as if hitting sharp rocks? When it got light enough I could see I accidentally put on a decommissioned pair of shoes ( X on the toes)... so, I figured the sole had a worn spot. Finally, I'm on trail and still managing to hit the same spot. 2.5 hours into the day I sat down, pulled the shoe off to check; there was a huge thorn penetrated through the bottom? Duhhh... pulled it out... the stone bruising stopped!

    Ran into Mike Mills... hiker new to area.

    "A" Trail took a heavy hit from the rains, but it also enjoyed areas where the rain cleared out rock. On the whole, more good than bad: 20 hours to repair?

    So...two more days and I can return to a higher quality of training. If I am lucky I should be back in shape for November! That would be nice.

    Route up Quarry Canyon finalized... intersecting with the "A" at the Gold Mine. just need to do some clearing to finish off this very nice short loop.
    Quarry Canyon
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    Cool breeze made for a great hike. Up into the Quarry, shooting pics of the older initials carved into the marble walls. I liked the 15 year old who in 1933 climbed to a precarious shelf to register. There are higher marks, but likely scored using modern climbing gear. There are bolted routes in a variety of the clefts/faces.

    I worked some more on routing to Marble Bluffs... got really lucky today; scored an optimum track... and lucky again routing on up to the old Gold mine.

    GPS tracks on all that, then descended to track routes on both Traverses out of Terri's Cut.

    Second day for my OJ to have a tangy, bubbly augment... early stage fermentation! Maybe that was why the hike went so well?

    Odd guy camped out down below the "A"... carts and all. I was planning on doing low laps... decided to range higher to delay interaction. Day without crazy seemed better.

    Rains have scoured the "A" trail... confirms my earlier idea: I will reroute the trail over to better views and easier to maintain tracks... which will have the additional benefit of not being open to bikes, ATV or motorbike traffic. They can continue to destroy the traditional route.

    At 740,000' for the year: AEG. Couple weeks left this month: 40-60,000'? Might get close to the 800,000' by the end of the month, or not. I'm looking forward to switching to a four day hiking schedule in September... 60,000' per month for the last four months of the year.

    This summer of hiking down out of the cool has worked. I may go back to summer hiking in the higher reaches, but this was not bad.
    Quarry Canyon
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    Meetup hikers all no-shows, so no early start, but it was cool enough out, and I routed up Quarry Canyon in such a fashion to remain in the shade to the top of Marbles Bluffs. That may become the new standard route. If the Forest Service closes down the trails due to fire danger this year it could be nice to have this backdoor route ready to go; it is all on private property!

    I cut over to the "A" trail for some up/down AEG... and home by noon to prepare for tomorrow's much longer and harder effort.

    Early starts; Order of the days!
    Quarry Canyon
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    Met Cathy and Terri for the hike up to the top of the Marble Bluffs... and on to the old Gold Mine. Cathy headed down the "A"... Terri and I headed for the Peak. Ran into Kim and Julia near the Catwalk and walked them on up to the new Spur Trail and on to the peak.

    I'd hiked full time with Kim back a few years ago... this encounter might rekindle that process?

    We stuck together for the hike down to Leah's Lair where Kim went a bit crazy with the climbing... then even more so over at the Caves in the "A" Bluff (Kim's Kave!!).

    From there the group split up... the ladies headed on down... I headed back up for some AEG laps, then a small hit on trail work. The current section is a real batch of work! I'm looking forward to getting up out of the heavy gravel... maybe hit the peak in three weeks?

    So, yet another all day day. It will likely remain the pattern through April as the AEG has to continue to compile.

    Hiking such a soft pace makes for a fairly easy day... feet sore... legs cramping if I fail to hit the potassium at the needed levels, along with net fluid... but, other than that, easy.

    Nice to have made a substantial move in regards the classification of our group outings. I just need to work on our comparative Ortega ratings for each hike. Once each route is scored we will have a fairly workable process.

    Long off trail hike tomorrow... difficult enough to scare most everyone away. Nice!
    Quarry Canyon
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    Not an early start, and switch to DST did not help with that. I felt beat up from the prior day... low energy... but I made it up the trail and even managed to do some trail grooming. I also cut the new trail route over into Terri's Cut.

    The first planned Meetup group showed up and Kim hiked them up to the Caves and Lair for fun. (Five Hikers).

    15 Hikers showed up for the 2pm outing! We wandered up Lost Trail to the Indian Wells. I had to cut away a bit early to run back down and out to make the 4pm final hike. Just Three hikers but a fun loop: Quarry to Marble Bluffs, the old Gold Mine and down the "A"... for good measure showed them the new trail route into "A" Canyon, South... Terri's Cut. Mixed opinions as to whether or not it was as easy as I think it is...

    So... long day. Not great AEG... I'll be playing catchup this week!
    Quarry Canyon
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    The Wednesday double turned into a triple!

    Shared the peak hike with Terri and Brenda... then we looped back out (Terri and Bill) to enjoy the Marble Canyon...Quarry Canyon route to the top of the Marble Bluffs. From there, up to the old Gold Mine on the "A" Trail where we split up... I headed up to re-stage my trail tools and log some trail work hours... they headed down hill to close out their day earlier. Great weather! Nice routes. Trail getting better; nearly have it up to the "A" trail Bluffs.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To canyon trip
    After entering Marble Canyon... look to your left for the very obvious old Marble Rock Quarry. Make your way up and through the old works to the narrow cleft on the far east end... or, from trail 119, hike up to the old gold mine near the 5800' level... to hike down canyon
    page created by imike on Nov 09 2013 9:13 am
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