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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.

Ortega Ridge North, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,762 feet
Elevation Gain 2,565 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,795 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.81
Interest Off Trail Hiking & 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
Historical Weather
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Aug → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:48am - 6:07pm
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Water
Ride This Ridge!!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
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!

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

2014-01-16 imike

    One-Way Notice
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Second Saturday monthly group hike... bit more difficult route, yet worked nicely. Oddly enough, the group split into six groups before it was all said and done. The large dryfall turned a few hikers around. A second group exited to the side ridge at the top of the dryfall. Sal routed off to explore the upper north side cliff edges solo. At the upper dryfall, the group split up with some climbing the perilous cleft... and others exiting the south cut wall. Somehow, Josephine wandered back down the canyon at that point???

    Luster and Clint volunteered to descend the canyon to pick up Josephine... yet never caught up to her. Fortunately, Sal spotted her from the cliff tops... walked her out.... in a way.

    oddly, the huge group all finished the day back at the cars around the same time! Groups are not my thing... but I'll continue with this Series for a few more months.

    It is a great canyon!
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Accessed the ridge at the forks... not the best way to start the climb, but I waited to late to hit it on the far west end. Once up and over to the South side it was nice! We have been going up Tub Rock off of Lost Trail South; this was a much better route. We hiked the south side cliff edges, enjoying numerous interesting layers of rock... all the way up to Pedro Peak. From there, it was the usual amble... nice movement up with great overviews down into Ortega North.

    Luster joined us on the ridge, hiking over from his house in Ortega South...

    Ridge Peak... seemed even better than I recalled... and once there we realized that we would not have views of the huge Dryfall... so, down the East side and on up the cliff tops until the Dryfall came into full view. Nice!

    We decided along the way to exit down on the south side bench... effectively the north side cliff edge from Ortega North. We'd done the north bench last time up... this would be our first routing on this bench. Wow! It was Exceptional... Who Knew!!?

    Great over views down into the canyon... Great Vista Views... Exceptional cliff top perspectives. When the Bench began to die down and out, we dropped down a nice bedrock chute that dumped us out in the bottom of Ortega North... right at Breakfast Rock!

    This new routing opens up some exceptional potentials for exit looping out of upper Ortega North. Folks do not like the normal exit down the "A" trail... they will enjoy this cliff side route. I need to go up and confirm the upper portion and clear out the lower areas for safety. Guess I'll post to the calendar on the ongoing Canyon Series!

    So... a great day out! Ross liked the route. I picked up 30# of rock! Knee held up... :)
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    nice loop with Ross... then 2nd hit looking for some other hikers... did not find them.

    Ortega North is just a great canyon, and he exit loop using Ortega Ridge North above the huge dryfall was nice. We hiked the lower bench overlooking Lost Trail canyon south... and began wondering about the potentials up in that cut... oddly enough I have no memory beyond the lower dryfall... so: Wednesday: re-exploratory!

    Dead Air Day!!!!
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    There may have been more AEG today... hard to track wandering off trail and up and down the ridges. I was tired from Sunday... slightly late start, but still out by 4:30am. Even the breeze was warm at the lower elevations! Record heat in the forecast for this week! Time to start freezing the water bottles! 20# weight augment today, mostly fluids. I get to go lighter tomorrow, but I have to mix in some pushups/setups over the course of the hike...? Gloves and a seat pad?

    Oven surround heat when the breeze died in the midafternoon final hours. Time for more dilute mixes in the drinks... and ice... lots of ice!

    I need to average 6700' per day. I had thought the way to do an easy 200,000' month would be to train way up... get up early and go fast on a clear, steep trail... get it over with before midmorning. Instead, I'm plodding out the miles with a crutch, scoring the AEG through applied hours of effort. Maybe I'll get to try that first approach in a month this Fall?

    Looking forward for this month to be over and done!
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The Wednesday double turned into a triple!

    Shared the peak hike with Terri and Brenda... then we looped back out (Terri and Bill) to enjoy the Marble Canyon...Quarry Canyon route to the top of the Marble Bluffs. From there, up to the old Gold Mine on the "A" Trail where we split up... I headed up to re-stage my trail tools and log some trail work hours... they headed down hill to close out their day earlier. Great weather! Nice routes. Trail getting better; nearly have it up to the "A" trail Bluffs.
    Ortega Ridge North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Exploratory Monday
    Awake, then up around 3am... supposed to be Marble Madness Monday, but last week's Marble foibles were a bit more than I was in the mood for this morning... so, on the "A" at 5am... 43 degrees and shorts/T shirt felt ideal... though it was pitch dark out!

    After a nice warmup into a stiff headwind, I decided to explore the canyon I'd spotted yesterday: up Lost Trail Canyon South... it looked nice and simple. It was... but good, and that lead me on up to complete the ridge it was bisecting: Ortega Ridge North!

    I found myself criss-crossing the ridge time and again... great views down into Ortega North, siting the overly impressive dry fall formations I've hiked so many times... then back to check out the upper regions of Lost Trail Canyon South... which I may not have yet hiked?

    It was great! I have a new favorite Ridge Hike!!

    Eventually, up and on top of our Fraggle Rock... and I figured I should just keep it a Ridge Day, so on up to the Horse Ridge/Ortega Traverse... and on to Ortega Peak.

    I met up with Jim near the bottom of the "A"... was going to loop back up for more training, but knee felt a bit glitchy.

    All in all... a good day.

    Once again getting way behind on writing up Descriptions: Fissure-Leah's Lair, "A" Trail Survey, Michal's Traverse, Horse Ridge-Ortega Traverse, Ortega Ridge-North, Tub Rock Cut, and Six other canyons over in the Marble Drainage!

    To Hike or to Write... that is the question... :(

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    this ridge can be connected on the bottom by walking across the Lost Trail Canyon lower drainage... best accessed from Tub Rock Canyon... or from the top by hiking the Dry Canyon-Ortega Traverse... or... come down off of Horse Ridge, north of Ortega Peak
    page created by imike on Jan 16 2014 12:13 pm
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