Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Sort of a Must Do!
As far as most locals know, Alamogordo has one hiking trail: the "A" Trail... and it is too steep and rough to hike.
They might be hard pressed to tell you exactly where that trail goes...
Then again, if you take the time to check out your options, even the ascent up the "A" offers a variety of alternatives. Short Canyon might be a bad option. "A" North is Interesting. "A" Cut is not worth the effort.
Then there is "A" Canyon South, Terri' Cut... it is worth the time and effort.
Oriented north of the official "A" Trail (T119), and a bit further over than the "A" Cut (which terminates around the 5600' mark), Terri's Cut offers a pleasant variety of challenges and indulgences. Cut off from the lower level by a monster dry falls, you typically access this canyon by hiking less than a mile up the "A" trail, then traversing off trail to the north, dropping in above the lower falls.
Depending on the route chosen you will gain/lose some extra elevation on this higher entry.
Once into the canyon bottom it is just nice: mixes of bedrock, small falls scrambling, and minor bushwhacking.
About halfway up you will come into sight of the terminus of the canyon: a pronounced Bluff of rock cliffs. Once to the Bluff, spend some time checking out the caves and cuts... it's an interesting bit of rock.
Behind the Bluff to the north lies Ortega Canyon South Spur...
On the ridge to the south lies "A" trail... (easy exit route)
Choose your looping option... or head back down the way your came up, possibly diverting over into "A" Canyon North for variety.
This is a great alternative route... check it out... spice up your "A" Ascending!
Note: if you do decide to play at the Bluff... be careful in the caves and cuts!
Check out the Triplogs.