Ride This Ridge!!
The mild winter days typical to the Alamogordo area can be ideal to head out and up the sun exposed ridge hikes East of town. One of the better of those ridges: Ortega North!
This moderately easy uphill walking lies between Ortega Canyon North and Lost Trail Canyon South.
A nice way to kick off the hike: walk up and into Lost Trail Canyon South and turn up the first canyon cut on your right… Tub Rock Canyon. Either follow the canyon bottom or begin your hike onto the ridge, moving off and up to your right.
Above the first dry waterfall you will find yourself on top of the narrow ridge top.
The exceptional overviews of the surrounding areas, especially over the cliff edges down into Ortega Canyon North, will have you wandering back and forth across the ridge… taking in the ever changing views from both sides of the ridge.
You will climb at a moderately steep rate until you top out on Ridge Bluff Peak.
This lower section of Ortega Ridge is composed of a higher, narrow ridge top… combined with lower cliff edged plateau sections overlooking canyons on both sides. The upper section is the nicer route.
Once at the Bluff Peak (elevation 5754') you will have to descend, losing about 100’ of elevation… before you resume your climb up the ridge.
You will have great overviews into Ortega Canyon North, including the terraced entrance into Yubao’s Cut (Staircase Canyon)… and the dramatic slotted Falls winding up and around through the mid section of the canyon.
The overviews down into Lost Trail Canyon South are nice, but not so dramatic.
You will next reach the upper waterfalls section of Ortega Canyon North coincidental to our Fraggle Rock (elevation 6360') formation up on the Ridge. Climb around and on top of the Frag to continue on with your ridge top route.
Soon, a good view of the Dry Canyon-Ortega Peak Traverse will come into sight to the North… winding up to the side ridge that will take it across Horse Ridge.
Moving up through some real trees, you will soon reach that Dry-Ortega Traverse route (elevation 7,000'), giving you the option to follow it north or south… or, cross the road and continue on up the hill to intersect with the Horse Ridge-Ortega Peak Traverse route (elevation 7327') to enjoy that ridge route on up to Ortega Peak.
This is a hike well worth the effort. Do not miss it!
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.