If you're traveling through Alamogordo, NM and would like to enjoy a bit of trail time, Trail 119 offers both a vigorous bit of exercise along with substantial views of the surrounding White Sands Monument basin. The workout is substantial, moving ever upward over an old jeep route... sometimes across deeply rutted gouges, other areas of loose gravel, and finally into the flattened path, easy walking, of the lower reaches of the hardwood, cedar and pine forest trails leading on up into the Sacramento Mountains.
The hike begins right in town at an unmarked drainage and proceeds up to the classic "A" marked in white painted rocks (Alamogordo!), and proceeds upward slowly move to the south side of the Peak. The trail crests at an old metal water tank then moves onto a saddle at 3.6 miles up and to the right (south) of Ortega Peak. At this saddle, T119 continues on for another 1.6 miles, but Ortega Peak is accessed by leaving the trail and working your way up the final few hundred feet. The route is rocky, steep and shrub/cacti covered, but not too great of a challenge. Your efforts will be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the distant Sierra Blanca Peak, San Andreas Mts, Organ Mountains and the Tularosa Basin/White Sands area. You also are overlooking most of Alamogordo.
This is not a "getaway" hike, but still well worth the effort. I've encountered Elk, Deer and lots of cattle along this section. The sun exposure is extreme; in the warmer months take plenty of water.
Note: The Sacramento Mountains are subject to seasonal closure due to wildfire danger... typically in the months of May and June.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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