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Rock Springs Canyon, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Statistics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,906 feet
Elevation Gain 1,400 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,450 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.93
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:52am - 5:59pm
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Water
The Best Way to Meet the Lady
by imike

As one of the side cuts pouring down into Deadman Canyon in lower Alamo Canyon drainage, Rock Spring Canyon adds variety to the hikes immediately accessible from the T104 Trailhead.

Walking up T104... Just a bit over half mile, at the junction with the Roundup Grounds Trail (T107), Deadman Canyon takes off on your right, heading east. A few hundred yards of walking up Deadman will deliver you to the mouth of Rock Spring Canyon on your right.

Climb up the stepped waterfall and enjoy the bedrock walkway leading up and into the canyon. The initial hike is simply following the narrow cut enjoying the surrounding towering cliffs.

Around half mile up, you will reach the namesake springs, seeping into a pool out of the rock basin. Just above the lower springs you’ll note a young cottonwood tree attempting to grow from the rock.

A bit further up and you will reach a very nice dry falls blocking your access. The fall is climbable. If you’d prefer a safer route, move to your far right and make your way up the obvious cleft hiding a game trail access up to the next level.

At this point the drainage splits… the “real” channel is on the left. The better alternative is to exit the bottom of the canyon and follow the distinct game trail up the ridge between the two branches. This trail makes for easy access, ever steeper, up and out of the lower canyon basin.

At the top of this center ridge, you will find yourself turning to the left to follow the main canyon… opting to either continue to walk the side of the hill… or drop back down to hike in the canyon bottom. The canyon will continue to climb and curve, not ending until it reaches the saddle just below the very distinctive Steamboat formation. At that point you can walk to the west and gaze down into the upper reaches of Black Canyon… or make your way on up to the base of the Steamboat.

You will be standing on the formation known as “the Lady”… as viewed from anywhere in Alamogordo. This hike is likely the best access to reach this prominence.

From up here you do have some looping options: check out Deadman/Rock Spring Ridge… descend around and down into Deadman South… traverse over to Deadman North and the Roundup Grounds trail… descend into Black Canyon… ascend up and around the Steamboat… or go ridge wandering in general.

The easy way home is the way you came.

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

2013-11-16 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 Triplog Reviews
    Rock Springs Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Dark Faces Canyon
    Exploratory up the middle cut of the Dark Rock Canyons... proved interesting... a bit demanding... and offers some potential for future rope work routes.

    We hit Alamo Ridge and then checked out the descent through the gully on the Rock Spring canyon side of the ridge. Doable... not too much fun.

    Likely, this day's route the least appealing of the three canyons.

    Good day out
    Rock Springs Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Exploratory to find out if we could descend off the Ridge down into lower Deadman... got lucky and found a nice looping approach, and as we climbed the chosen cleft, saw signs of Elk...? That told us early on we would make it up and through the cliffs... elk had been coming down to the riparian area up Deadman! I've never seen them this low nor in the area, but clearly they'd cut out a clear trail. The cliffs section: surprised to find that elk would do such a steep climb. It was good for us. Also surprised at how much distance and elevation we had to do after clearing the cliffs. The top of the Ridge was way on up.

    Dropped over the Ridge on the West side, looped around the top of RockSprings Canyon to check out the trail we spotted last week. It proved out (made its way around to the bedrock cut) and extended all the way out and around out of RockSprings. By the time the trail died out the side ridge provided easy walking. We exited the canyon and checked out the upper Alamo Forks... they look good, and there is a cave to boot! More exploratory!!!

    Clear and sunny... calm to start, temps in the 20's. Breeze by midday... still sunny but storm coming?

    Another exceptional day out... came home and reviewed Ross's video of Arch Canyon from Saturday. He's been wearing a Go-Pro... and it is beginning to yield results!
    Rock Springs Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    made a wrong turn... the plan was to check out the upper reaches of Black Rock, but instead did a full on exploratory of the cut to the north. More demanding and more difficult than Black Rock, but exceptional hike. Checked out upper ranges of the west cut of Rock Springs for the descent. Now, need to go back out and up the real Black Rock next week!
    Rock Springs Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    morning group hike followed the middle branch of the canyon to it's effective top... then we opted to check out the huge cave opening up in the middle of the Steamboat. That was a scramble... snakes and rockslides... nice spot... some real cave potentials?

    ...exited by ascending along the base of the cliffs up and around into Mule Canyon below the chin of the Lady. Dropped down and across Deadman West... onto RockSpring ridge... into RockSpring Canyon and on out. Everyone a bit worn and worse for wear... good outing.

    Ross and Mark... Paul at the start.
    Rock Springs Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Fridays are interesting. Since I have Saturday scheduled for harder, longer outings, I could take it easy. Yet, if I am hiking solo I tend to drift towards areas I have not yet tried. Today, that meant the first major cut up and out of Deadman Canyon. It starts out with a very nice dry waterfall, followed by a bedrock sidewalk. That combination just invites. Above that, within half a mile of easy canyon I arrived at the namesake spring... and then up to the Cottonwood trying valiantly to progress rooted into solid rock.

    Then, the first large dry fall... nicely climbable on the left... and another fall formed from the same strata, draining the right side of the canyon. There was a cheat route around both falls further to the right. I opted for that nice game trail route; this was easy Friday.

    Turned out the next bit of progress was up the ridge splitting the two drainages. A very nice game route followed the top... giving views off both sides. The canyon eventually turned to the east, the right hand channeling topping out... the left curving on up and around... and up and around... and again! It took me all the way up to the saddle at the base of the Steamboat. Impressive.

    I did a bit of wandering once on top... checked out the possibility of dropping off down into Black Canyon (looked okay?)... then I started down, intent on checking out the ridge between Deadman South and this new canyon. Turned out the walking was great... no trail but I could nearly run down the softer grade. It inspired me to try to follow the ridge on down and out...

    ...and, that may have been a mistake?

    It was fine, right up until I was nearly back to where I wanted to go. Then, it got steep. then, it got vertical. I'm not really good with vertical.

    I had hiked a ways...I did not want to reverse and climb back up the ridge to access the canyon at the top. I noted a narrow cleft below me... I worked my way down and into the cleft, and began to downclimb. 30' down and the route below was obscured by a tree...

    ...so... I paused... finally turned my brain on, and started the climb back up and out. Pulse a nice 148 BPM when I finally regained firm footing back above! Checking the bottom of that cleft hours later, as I passed by (after hiking back up and around to regain RockSprings Canyon)I noted the remaining 60' of slick rock vertical I had been dropping down into!

    So... Easy Friday turned into scare the crap out of yourself... log extra miles and AEG Friday. My legs were even cramping up during the climb out of the cleft; that normally does not happen until hours later, recouping at home.

    I was to go long on Saturday... kinda hoping the other hiker cancels; I'd prefer easy! Something calm... level... no vertical edges... handrails might even be nice?

    Another good day on the mountain.

    Permit $$
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    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From the far south end of Scenic Drive on the east side of Alamogordo, take Alamo Canyon road around the city water tank... following it to its far eastern end. Park at the Upper water tank city processing plant, which is the trailhead for T104. Follow the trail .6 miles up to access Deadman Canyon.
    page created by imike on Nov 16 2013 11:47 am
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