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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.

Alamo Peak Loop, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 7.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,192 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.9
Interest Seasonal Creek & Peak
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   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:51am - 6:00pm
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Space Invaders!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Alamo Peak Trail offers one of the rare valley views from the top of the Sacramento Mountains... the dense forest opens up on these slopes to give the trekker a chance to see what is off and away. You may also be caught off guard looking up and seeing a large, black globe perched on top of the peak: Alamo Peak Observatory. It is the paved road into the Observatory that gives us such easy access to this steep cut trail.

The trail negotiates various steep, gravelly switchbacks in the first mile before it levels out under heavy tree canopy, following a seasonal stream that is one of the water sources for Alamogordo, NM down in the valley. The various cast pipes adjacent to the trails are their taps routing the springs cleanly down the mountain.

Departing from the trailhead you follow T109 1.5 miles to the junction of T110, at that point turning to your left and following T110 uphill for 1.7 miles. Reaching the ridge, you turn left onto the Rim Trail (T105) and follow it a bit over 3 miles back to the paved road leading into the Observatory... which by turning left one last time will lead you back to the Trailhead in just over one mile. If you'd like to avoid walking on the pavement, there is an obvious path back up the hill adjacent to the pavement: just follow the power lines through the woods up to the Observatory.

Option: At 1.5 miles into the hike, Instead of turning left on T110, you may proceed further down T109 to connect with T111 one mile further down hill. You may then turn left and proceed up T111 for 1.6 miles and intersect the Rim Trail (T105) at the exact same spot with T110. This will add an additional 650' of descending and climbing to your hike, along with an additional mile. T111 averages 1,000 ft per mile, and is steeper in the last half, so it makes for a much more difficult route.

The area is used for cattle grazing, and you may encounter some confused bulls along the route... along with the many deer and elk and turkey typical to the area. One of the larger meadows and seasonal lakes may be found off T105, up on top of the ridge. This area is known as Atkinson's Meadows and is a popular car camping area.

This loop is very representative of the hiking available in the Sacramento Mts... narrow winding trails moving beneath thick Pine canopy... and, broad paths, old jeep road accesses moving up overly steep grades.

Winter months will likely find this trail snow covered, and the narrow paved road access iced over.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2008-12-04 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
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Dead Air=Gnats... getting tired of that being the most prominent feature of these morning hikes. Clouds and breezes not coming in until afternoon... late afternoon! Rally, these patterns would be perfect if I were doing my usual 6 weeks camped up at 9,000'... 60 degree highs... dry mornings... it would be ideal

    This summer I remain down the hill... plodding out AEG...

    third day of the final AEG week... energy even lower than the first two days! Hump Day: I have other hikes showing up to share the pain... big rain storm predicted; maybe I'll get to sleep all day!?
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I need to finish writing the trail descriptions for sections of this hike... then the linking could be completed! Bit muggy out... but a breeze did come up. I thought I would stay out longer but I did not pack enough fluids.

    Nice severe hop step down a ledge to land on the side of my foot... immediate and acute sharp pain, but a few limp around steps and I was right back to striding. So odd that a kayaking injury over 25 years ago leaves me with un-sprainable ankles!

    Just before the attack on my ankle, Spanish Dagger to my arm... and soon after: prickly pear jammed into my foot! Yet, mood was high... great day out. On a scale of 1 to 7,,, I'd give it a ten.

    I intend shorter, easier days.. but I also intend to not miss days and yesterday was distracted... delayed,,, then denied.

    Fun stuff,,,
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Not the earliest of starts, but early enough. Perfect temps as I climbed the "A" Trail... cool air was flowing down the hill and most of the ascent was nicely in shadow. Once above 8,000' the air was just cool, even in full sun. Part of that may have been the steady all day breezes?

    The crutch continues to slow the pace... what should have been a brisk 9 hours was closer to 12 hours.

    Descending, it remained cool and nicely breezy to below 6,000'. All in all... just a great day out.

    I hit Ortega Peak going and coming... no way to double log on the links?

    Big, fluffy Thunderheads piling up over the mountain as the day ended... must have been great in the shade up of top!
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    First of the longer, progressive Saturday training hikes over and done!

    Though posted on the Meetup.com Calendar, this is not one of the hikes I really want anyone to show up for. If they are in shape and trained up I am probably going at a too slow pace to be of much benefit to them. If they are not trained up enough to be ready for this level of effort it will not turn out well for anyone.

    I noticed that today I hit the peak well before the time typical with other hikers along... and I'd altered the route early in the day to add on extra AEG before the push to the peak. So, over an hour early and with an extra 1200'+ already scored.

    I had rushed the prep for the hike. I did not pack any food. I decanted a gallon of non-fat chocolate milk, a quart of vitamin water and 16 oz 80 calorie energy drink. I was guessing at an 11 hour effort with 200 calorie an hour intake to catalyze fat metabolism... sort of a plan.

    Not exactly an early start, but with the longer days I felt okay with that. I hit the trail at 6:38am. Around 7:30 I popped open the Energy drink to break fast (a couple hours early for me!)

    Slow pace... lower energy.

    I noticed that once I'd begun drinking I was tending towards a fairly steady intake; I refilled one of the Quart containers at the high spring below the peak.

    Early to the peak I wandered off trail and found a place in the sun and out of most of the wind (high gusts today! 40 mph!) I realized I needed to slow my pace; get into a more casual mindset for the day, so I dug to the bottom of the pack and pulled out a MRE and a bottle of spicy peanuts. I took the time to enjoy the food pack (... the 1200 calories were likely not a bad idea, either. That and the 500+ calories from the peanuts likely made sense on this longer/harder day.)

    I decided to loop longer, kicking off this series with 25 miles and 7000'. The next effort will go to 30 miles with at least as much AEG. The time and mileage is the emphasis for the coming months; every other Saturday.

    Fluids did run out. I also was worrying about potassium intake (... brain dead! forgot the milk would score over 6,000! I cramp up in the evening after the hike if fluid/potassium intakes have been too low).

    So, home sucking down an additional half gallon of vitamin water... listening to the wind howl.

    A good day!

    Odd to reflect on the perspective of being "in shape". I feel i have a long way to go to reach that condition. I'm still 20 pounds away from hitting event weight. All my training is at a too slow pace. I'm probably two months away from being able to do a fifty mile day with any ease. At age 50 I went out without training and did 53 miles in 11 hours and 20 minutes. That day included 8,000' AEG. At age 60 I managed a 50 mile day with 19,000' AEG...by either of those standards I am not yet back in good shape. Then again... by most everyone else's standard, for age 65 I should be more than happy with what I've can do. So Odd.

    Good Pictures today... new computer on the way... finally might be able to catch up with the editing and posting?
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Interesting day.

    Later start for this endurance hike to Alamo Peak... normally a 20+ mile effort with over 5,000' of AEG, depending on the route taken up and down. Brenda did great up until the final leg of T109... the steepness, altitude and accumulated effort hit her at about the point where lots of much younger hikers have chosen to turn back... she opted to continue on up to the top.

    At the top... totally fried... she opted to call a friend to pick her up... closing out the day without the 11 mile return hike down the mountain. Unfortunately, he did not answer... we began the downward leg... her energy was fine, and since the cardio demand was so low, no problem... until he did call her back. He would pick her up...

    ... but, now there was 1,000' of climb to reclaim, and that double over effort really killed her! But, she did it. We me her friend some miles later out on a major road. She got her downhill shuttle ride. She also got lots of uphill effort she was not fully trained up for. I did not score the AEG I wanted for the day, but I scored okay; I saved a few miles of downhill walking.

    It was an interesting day out.
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Well... had some chores this morning so the hike did not get started until midday. Late starts tend to diminish animal encounters. Early starts nearly guarantee elk, deer and assorted other encounters; they love roaming just after dawn.

    Yet... dropping down a little used, very steep and eroded trail I noted a shadow of a form slipping through the underbrush some 50 yards down trail... approaching the area I paused, and after a minute I began to whistle and chitter in a manner that I hoped would inspire a curious response. Sure enough, a couple of minutes into my callings I head popped out from around a tree... then the animal moved over into an opening in the clearing about 25 yards away... where he'd have a clear view of me. I continued the entertaining whistling to see if I could entice him to come closer, but he seemed content to simply stare back at me. I switched over to a benign conversation for another five minutes or so, then running out of stuff to say, bid the mountain lion adieu and continued my hike on down drainage. It was interesting that he responded so predictably to the whistling. I would assume they fear few animals in the wild, and exercise a reasonable curiosity, whether for entertainment or just checking out potential dinners. Sense I was willing to simply exchange face to face, I moved myself out of the realm of dinner. It was a nice encounter.

    ...about a half mile on down the trail I heard some assorted frantic scramblings in the shrubs ahead, then noted what I initially took to be a porcupine scampering up a very tall fir tree. Then, to accompany the scratching there were gruff growls and snorts... moving closer I realized there were two little bodies making for heights, but they were very small bear cubs! The mother, satisfied that she'd gotten her cubs high enough out of harms way (me?) slid back down the tree and dove down into the gully and climbed out the opposite bank, stopping and turning to watch what I had in mind. I attempted to reassure her that all was fine, but her looks were pure anxiety... so, after snapping a few fast photos I moved on down the trail. Hopefully, she reclaimed the cubs. I'll hike back in tomorrow to make sure they are not still stranded three stories up.

    I had high hopes for turkey, elk, deer, porcupine and whatever after those first two encounters, but alas... that was the entertainment for the day. Wish I'd snapped pics of the mountain lion but they tend to do really well when holding eye to eye contact, but most often when I look away for even a brief period they tend to move off and away; not sure what that is about.
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    30# backpack... cool to cold, moist day. Legs still felt beat up from the long trail run. I may have to add in an additional rest or lighter day to fully recover from the running day. It could be that it is just that I have not been running and started the series out with that 14 mile hit?! I'll see how it goes next week, but today was pretty mediocre.
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Easy effort after yesterday's longer workout hike...

    Closing out the weekend effort, 11,200' yesterday on a very steep trail and 2900' today on the 7.3 mile connecting route with 109/110/111/109... Giving me a nice 14,100' for the weekend, nearly my goal for the week. I'll finish up the week with a very light daily hit in town on Osha trail... then move on to the following week with no major efforts, just the daily hit of that 2900' foot route five times during the week, and the Osha trail daily. I will net about the same for the week's effort without having any big hits. The next big effort day will come the following weekend. I'll attempt to do the longer mileage day covering all seven ridge approach trails in one day: 10,100 feet of climbing over 27 miles. For some reason that particular route day has alluded me. Maybe I'll get lucky that weekend if the forest remains open. What is doubly impressive with the current training: my body weight is still over 30# above event weight. Once I cut that weight, it is reasonable to believe I'll have a 20% performance augmentation on just that issue alone. Combined with another five months of focused training the goal of a Finger Rock Quad begins to look very doable, even though at younger age I was never able to get that one goal under my belt. Interesting.
    Alamo Peak Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Too many elk out this morning to count, and lots of turkey. I'm still trying to get a good pic of those turkey, but invariably they flutter off right in front of me with my camera buried away, or if the camera is out and ready they manage to scuttle just out of range or in too dense of brush for the camera to capture. Be nice to have an effective zoom lense for those buzzards.

    Easier day yesterday allowed the legs the needed rest... the loop this morning was easy.

    I added in the extra down/up Section with T111... nice hit

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Cloudcroft NM, drive south on NM130 1.8 miles, turn right on Sunspot Hiway (NM6563)and follow this scenic drive to MP 6... then another .2 miles, turning right on NM 64D. This is a paved, single lane, road, so drive very slowly and carefully around the many curves. Drive 1.7 miles to the end of the road (blocked off by the gate up to the Observatory). The trailhead is on your left right before the gate: T109.
    page created by imike on Dec 04 2008 12:50 pm
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