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Ortega South - Jim's Cut, NM

Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
31 13 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 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,588 feet
Elevation Gain 2,100 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.5
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
32  2014-01-04
Ortega Canyon South
19  2013-12-22
Quarry Canyon
31  2013-12-22 imike
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 71 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  4:55am - 7:15pm
0 Alternative

Worth Finding!
by imike

In the Alamo area there are canyons... and then there are side canyons... Spur routes that are often better than the main cuts they branch off from. Jim's Cut is not better than Ortega Canyon South (then again, few canyons in this area are...)but it is good... very good.

Narrow and open near the base... nice bedrock walks... nicer bedrock dry falls. Not overgrown.

Narrow and somewhat more overgrown higher up... scrambly... looser talus slopes and rock jumbles working up through the Narrows below the Pinnacle. Once you've hiked this Cut one time your eye will instantly spot the very distinctive volcano looking Pinnacle formation that marks the entry to the middle section of the canyon.

This overly steep area will turn some hikers back...

... but they should continue on...

Through the Narrows and out into the upper portion you have the various options of moving north around and down into Ortega Canyon South... the great middle section...

...or spot the meadows saddle above the Bluff on "A" trail... and enjoy the fast and easy exit down "A" Trail...

...or stick to the canyon and side ridges to continue on up with varying overviews of the surrounding areas.

The upper portion of the canyon does become somewhat overgrown, losing the appeal of the lower sections... better to enjoy an earlier exit.

Jim's Cut is a hidden canyon worth seeking out!

This hike effectively includes the lower portion of Ortega Canyon South... you park at the lower city water tank on Thunder Road. Check out that canyon description for notes on how to access... once into Ortega Canyon South, there will be two cuts moving off to your right. The first one moves up and behind some Palisade Cliffs, terminating soon thereafter. Jim's Cut comes in higher up... you will have experienced some minor bouldering before you reach the right side drainage. The mouth of the cut is a very distinctive steep waterfall (12-16' tall) coming in from the right. It is slightly hidden but easy to find.

Note: you might as well go ahead and enjoy Ortega Canyon South up to the big lower falls... then hit Jim's Cut to loop up and over into the middle section of Ortega Canyon South to enjoy the full mile of bedrock walkway there... hiking down to the top of the Falls... Very Nice

Your true mileage and AEG will be determined by your choice of routes!

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2013-12-22 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 $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From Scenic Drive in Alamogordo, NM turn east up Thunder Road... drive up to the first city Water Tank and park. Walk up the paved roadway... looking for the canyon to the north of the upper city water tank. Enter that canyon where the road crosses. You will cross private property (defined by fences); be respectful... to date it is not posted and access is good. Nice to keep it that way!
    page created by imike on Dec 22 2013 7:23 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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