Marble Canyon North N1 - Grotto Canyon, NM • Canyon Trip
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Marble Canyon North N1 - Grotto Canyon, NM

Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
50 3 0
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 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,607 feet
Elevation Gain 2,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,145 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.05
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
 Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
17  2015-10-31 imike
33  2013-12-02 imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  7:01am - 5:33pm
0 Alternative

Nice... Not So Nice?!
by imike

The Marble Canyon Drainage provides a very wide variety of entertaining and challenging hikes. This cut up in the North Canyon (Grotto Canyon) could be considered one of the better short canyons.

I would rate it with a much lower degree of difficulty... if... the hike were just up and into the lower Slot Grotto section.

If you go beyond that point... the smiles might begin to fade off some hiker's faces.

It is steep... overgrown... prickly... and even the rocks are too sharp! Good routes are not to be found.
Yet, with a slow pace and an appreciation for the ever varied settings, it can be appreciated.

Or, just do not go too high... enjoy the lower sections, turn around and climb back down.

Lower down, After an initial bit of winding around through rock, boulders and trees (you feel like you're walking an "S" turn pattern!)... you break free to enjoy steep bedrock. Once up into the N1 cut, you soon reach the slot grotto section and it is just nice. Unfortunately, that does not last. Enjoy it while you can.

This drainage off of Marble Canyon North holds three canyons: N1, N2, and N3... N2 is the large main canyon cut. It is described on this site as Marble Canyon North, North Spur. N1, this hike,(Grotto Canyon) is the canyon furthest north, pushed up against the cliffs on "A" Ridge. N3 (Ridge Canyon) is an odd, shallow canyon on the ridge south of N2.

To access this hike, you take Marble Canyon North up a short distance, turning left at the first opportunity. After about .3 mile look to take yet another left. I like to overshoot the canyon mouth on N1, then walk across and back down into the cut. That avoids some overgrowth.

Effectively you are going to be hiking the drainage furthest north... towards the Cliffs.

After some nice bedrock walking... and some route finding (you cannot go wrong... you can go righter) you will enter the lower slot grotto area. This is a pleasant, bedrock falls sections... narrowly closed in. Enjoy.

Once beyond the slot section the way gets steeper... rougher. Might want to turn back.

You will have a very clear view of the top of the canyon. Route finding from this point on is all about finding a route that takes the least amount of blood!

If you do climb out the top, you have "A" Trail immediately at hand for a nice loop back down to your car.

This is a nice introduction hike to the variety of Marble Canyon!

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2013-12-02 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.

     Permit $$

    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    In Alamogordo, take 10th Street to it's far eastern end. Park at the Firestation/City park. Walk South across the empty lot over to the cement culvert that is the paved bottom of Marble Canyon. Walk up into the Canyon, taking care to respect the fact you are crossing private property. Below the old Quarry, stay to your left to enter Marble Canyon North... curve around below Marble Bluff... turning left into your canyon
    page created by imike on Dec 02 2013 5:27 pm

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