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Picnic Canyons, NM

no permit
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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
0 of 5 by 0
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 5,157 feet
Elevation Gain 1,700 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,780 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 6.93
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Waterfall
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   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:48am - 6:09pm
0 Alternative
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Bring a Lunch!
by imike

If you want an easier outing, with little chance of getting lost, this just might be the cut for you.

The Picnic Canyon Cuts take off from Alamo Canyon about two miles out from the T104 Trailhead. You will find yourself just short of the intersection with Caballero Canyon and Alamo Canyon... and the feature that guarantees you will turn into the right cut: you walk under the metal water pipe and support grid. That left turn under the water pipe starts your adventure!

The canyon climbs easily up towards Hershberger/Mesa Ridge and the far east end of The Mesa... and the total elevation gain reflected includes making your way to the top of the cut.

You will not.

Your hike will terminate far below, around the 5600' mark, at the bottom of one of the impressive Dryfall formations at the top of either of the two branches. I'd suggest going up the one on your left first. It terminates in some fun scrambling cliffs...

...then, retrace your path to follow the right hand branch up to a most impressive formation... not so easily climbed!

Either way you go will be the right choice to spend some quality down time. Take a book... or a pillow!

And... bring along that Picnic!

Note: if you attempt the upper portions of either of the two branches, you will be undertaking some severe Class II and Class III Canyoneering... very off trail... very steep... very dangerous! If you decide to do this, give me a call; I'll join you!

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2014-01-31 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 of 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Picnic Canyons
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    Seven hikers signed up for a Monday Hike!? But as is typical for Meetup hikes... two no-shows. One cancelled after finally getting around to reading the description! The one new hiker had asked questions before the day; she knew what to expect. Ross, Mary, Darrel rounded out the usual.

    The plan was to enjoy an easier day with some play checking out the P1 Dryfall... with the possibility of adding it into our routing. Dangerous... so how much safety would be needed? We hiked up Alamo Canyon to Arch... up Arch to Roundup Cliffs trail. Followed that trail around to new Picnic Traverse... down and into the Picnics. From there, we ascended to the P3 dryfall (another future climb?) and up the P3 Forks to top of Dark Cliffs. Easy walk across to the top of P1 Falls. Once there, the group headed up to check out possible routes to P2. I unpacked an overly heavy pack of climbing gear.

    Most of the next hour was spent setting up way too much safety. I anchored a double rope static line for Rappeling down to the bottom. I set two hand lines for possible aids if needed on the climbing up. Instead of a belay, the hand lines had interim loops for clipping into... self rescue? Turns out that was way too much. If I had been solo I'd likely have simply dropped one hand line over, downclimbed using that... and then had it for the clip in safety for the climb back up.

    As it was, the climb was made more difficult with so much rope! And, once the group was back, no one was interested in going over the edge to get down to the climb. Next time, single rope safety, ideally set with a pull rope from the bottom?

    We exited down the West Cut... and enjoyed some intermittent shade in the bottom of Alamo as we walked out.

    Part of the reason for adding in P1 Dryfall routing: Spring 2018 Adventure hikes... routes that include rope work to complete. That Series will conclude with the exceptional Dog Narrows... but I need 2-3 additional hikes to get everyone used to minor rope work. We are not climbers... makes it a bit awkward.

    Good Day!
    Picnic Canyons
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    Continuing our Series of Holiday Canyon hikes, today: P5... first time to take a group up this very nice cut. Sort of. After last years huge group doing P4 and it proving far more difficult than folks expected, this year only one couple showed up! The Thornsberrys were the only hikers... and that made for a much nicer day.

    They had yet to hike Arch Canyon, so we tagged that on to the day, along with the trek along the RoundUp Cliffs trail and the new Picnic Traverse. Once into the Picnics, up to the dramatic P3 Falls and then up the new Forks route.

    We enjoyed an easier pace up P3... into P4/P5... then up the P5 Cut. Jason put his drone into use for a bit different perspective photo shoot... which was good given I'd left my camera hanging on my bike back at the trailhead!

    Out of P5... around and across P4... and dropping into P3 for our down and out. P3's exceptional tilted bedrock may have been the highlight of the day. Down to the Dark Cliffs we wrapped around to the P1 Falls to check out the climbing potentials (heading back up on Monday to play with that) then I showed them the West Cut alternative to drop into the bottom of Alamo Canyon.

    Warmer day, but low sun angle allowed us a mostly shady hike down and out of the canyon. I enjoyed this group hike; nice to not have a real group!

    Oddly enough... camera still at bike!! All in all, great day out!
    Picnic Canyons
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    Luster and Darrel up for the W3 Exploratory and the cable set over on the P1 Dryfall... recent rains washed out a number of the scrambles! I diverted later to do trailwork on the new Picnics Traverse. Maybe 1/3 of the trail completed? It will be nice when this is a done route!

    Yet another tumble! This one my fault... and I committed my hands to break the fall. Last week, it was a 200# boulder breaking free that dumped me. another big rock dislodged later today... no fall! All the rain has rocks unglued!
    Picnic Canyons
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    Planned Black Rocks hike rained out... so, routed up into P1 to enjoy the more demanding scrambles, and to allow Mary and Darrel have their first hit of that exceptional area. Good Climbing! Second cliff face gave Mary a bit of a hit, but she did well. Alas, too busy to score pics!

    I took a look at the top 30' of the cliffs... and with some safety set, I think it might be viable to just climb the dryfall...? That would add a dramatic hit to the group hikes; think I'll check it out. We now have a bypass for P3... interesting if we get a new route for P1.

    Exit along the route for the new Dark Cliffs trail... and enjoyed the newly cleared AT 104. Alamo Gap is our goto descent off the Dark Cliffs. Good wet day route!
    Picnic Canyons
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    Mary, Darrel, Jason...checking out the new Fork upper access route. Entered via Arch, across and down the new Picnic spur off the Roundup Cliffs trail. Hiked out down main canyon. Great temps...light shower.

    Nice looping...this will be our New Year group hike route...once the trails are completed. Six hours at easier pace.
    Picnic Canyons
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    Likely the hardest of this seasons first Saturday group hikes... we did a range of the Picnics, topping out P4, then exploring an alternative descent down a nice bedrock slab between P3 and P4... eventually dumping into P3. Nice.

    Once back down to the Dark Cliffs, we looped down and around to The Alamo Gap... and enjoyed that so nice final descent.

    Started out with 20 hikers... early hour lost one to a severe illness attack. Eventually Mary doubled back to walk him out and monitor his condition. He was still at the trailhead 8 hours later. Not a great day for him.

    Four hikers turned back early, enjoying the lower Picnics...

    Balance of hikers worked their way up the more difficult scrambles in P4... having a challenging and fun day. Few issues with under hydrated hikers, but it worked out.

    Yvonne nailed the climbs...!

    Good day out!
    Picnic Canyons
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    Last minute posting yielded an exceptional loop! Ross suggested we add in Arch canyon as our access to the Roundup Cliffs... so that got the morning off to a great start. Even with the full frame larger backpack the climbs were all good. Even before we reached the far side of the Roundup Grounds we'd already decided to tag in Picnics for a bit more of a day.

    Mary has only been up into this area once, to see the exceptional P3 lower Dryfall... so we opted to turn up into P1...P2. Instead of the walkup to the top of the Dark Cliffs we opted to go vertical. Mary nailed both climbs! While these are Class 3 and should have safety, with just the three of us it seemed an acceptable risk to take our time... make no mistakes... and enjoy the time savings. Interesting/odd issue to rationalize around those 30 ft falls... simply by thinking we just will not fall!? I would not take a group up those same climbs...? Should we be doing those?

    Once above the Dark Cliffs Mary got to see all three lower falls from the top down! Also, great views up to the mid falls. We hiked her up to the huge overhang in P3... great turn around point for the day... then followed the top of the Dark Cliffs around and back into Alamo Canyon, descending Blind Canyon to confirm it was not our best exit. Alamo Gap looks to be our exit of choice from this point on. We will eventually develop a nice cliff top trail around to that cut... then improve the Pipeline trail on out of Alamo Canyon to eliminate the rougher canyon bottom walking.

    So... T104...Pipeline...T104...Arch Canyon... Roundup Cliffs...T107... T104... Picnics...P1/2...Dark Clifss....P3...Dark Cliffs... Blind Canyon...T104...Pipeline...T104... all together, one great loop. Out for Six hours... caught great cloudcover!

    I'll post the pics in a few days!
    Picnic Canyons
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    This years Canyon Light Series has pretty much drained all the attention away from our regular canyon series; a good thing! Whereas 32 hikers showed up for the easier outing, we only had three other hikers for the longer, harder Picnic Canyon hike, the second in this Falls long canyons outings.

    Ross, Yvonne, and Bojan enjoyed an interestingly looping route: up Alamo to Arch Canyon... up Arch to the Roundup Cliffs trail... along that single track to just past the group photo rock... down the new traverse back into Alamo Canyon... and around into the Picnics.

    We first headed up lower P3 to enjoy the towering dryfall... then back out and up P1/P2 for those lower dryfalls, climbing P1 up to the Dark Cliffs. From there, around to the top of the P3 falls, and on up into the upper P3 canyon. Ross gave a name to the very interesting overhang formation: Devil's Ledges. The group enjoyed the amazingly steep bedrock walkway to the top of the canyon, then reversed for a fast descent back to the top of the Dark Cliffs.

    At some point in the future we will likely develop a trail to enjoy along the top of the Dark Cliffs. Today we followed the route over and into Blind Canyon, descending once again into Alamo... and followed the bottom of the drainage out and around, finishing up by walking the Pipeline trail out of the canyon.

    The smaller group allowed a focus on the various moments of rock... and a faster pace. A really great day!
    Picnic Canyons
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    13 hikers showed up for this months Progressive Canyon Series... we mixed it up a bit. Ross looped most of the group around and up Arch Canyon; they really loved it! I lead the rest up and around to the Arch via Roundup Cliffs trail. From there, over and down Roundup Grounds trail and into Alamo Canyon... down and around, up into Picnic to lower P3 Falls. From there back over and up P1... and around to upper P3. Group descended along the top of the Dark Cliffs (future trail route?). They were all tired, happy and confused by the end... doubt if most could replicate the route, but it was a great fit into this ongoing Series.

    Adding in the link over to the video:

    ...and the photoset:
    Picnic Canyons
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    Exploratory for the last of the upper Picnic Canyons... P2... expected dull; discovered exceptional, yet again! approached up Blind Canyon to the top of the Picnic Cliffs... exited out The Mesa (Goat Springs Trail) Need to go back to spend more time checking out the colors and textures...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    This Spur Canyon lies around 2 miles up Alamo Canyon, just below the junction with Caballero Canyon. It makes for a great destination from the T104 Trailhead at the bottom of Alamo Canyon... or as an addition to a loop around the Roundup Grounds Trail (T107)... or combined with the Roundup Cliffs loop.
    page created by imike on Jan 31 2014 2:16 pm
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