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Alamo Canyon Trail #104, NM

no permit
792 1 4
Guide 1 Triplog  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
2 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,785 feet
Elevation Gain 2,373 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,432 feet
Avg Time One Way 3.5-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2017-10-14 nobert15
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
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 5 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:52am - 6:01pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Remember the Alamo!
by imike

This route offers all of the diversity that the Sacramento Mountains have to offer. Starting down in the edge of the city you work your way through desert scrub, then into the very sandy and rocky drainage of a wide and steep sided canyon. The drainage narrows over the next few miles and eventually you are working over hard rock defiles, over and around drainage ledges, through puddles and streams with the occasional small waterfall thrown in. As the trail moves to the upper reaches of the lower canyon, the drainage narrows...there are towering cliffs and old mines to play with. In the very lower sections there are many side drainages that allow for hours of play... moderate bouldering opportunities for those wishing a bit more off trail excitement.

Staying on the trail and climbing out of the narrow lower portion the canyon opens to broad meadows... moving with the stream into hardwoods, cedars then finally, away from the drainage and up the sides of the canyon into the towering pines and douglas firs of the upper range. At the far upper end the trail cuts sharply up the sides of the canyon to Alamo Peak at 9200'.

The elevation gain and length of this route makes for a solid challenge. The sandy mileage in the bottom miles combined with some potential for route confusion at the top of the lower drainage can create a long day for any hiker attempting to complete the entire up/down route in a single day... that can be a really long 21 miles. The route is split at the 7 mile point by FR90, a logical short turnaround or shuttle for those desiring a bit of an easier effort. It is not a bad idea to do that foreshortened route the first time out to get a feel for the challenges before taking on the entire hike to the peak.

Beginning at the lower trailhead, you walk up the canyon drainage and into the wide, dry riverbed. This first 2.2 mile section is very open and sun exposed, and the trail signs have mostly been shot down by the locals. Simply follow the riverbed. At the end of that first section the drainage splits... you want to follow the right hand branch. (T103.. takes off up the left hand drainage at this point) For the next 4 odd miles there may not be a discernible path, but the narrow canyon bottom is easily maneuvered. At a point you will come to some old city waterworks ruins below a dramatic caprock overhang on the canyon wall. Above this is a large water puddle, followed by a slickrock slope... work your way up and out of the drainage on the left side. Above this area the trail leaves the stream bed and begins following or running near old city water drainage pipes. There is also an old mine works above the drainage on the left.

After leaving the drainage bottom You will soon reach an intersection with an access road (for maintaining city water lines on the ridge far above to the north) and you turn right and continue up the canyon on this access road. This road will lead you up through some nice hardwood forest then out into a broad meadow... the largest of such in the Sacramento Mts. At the upper end of the meadow the trail crosses FR 90.

You may either cross FR 90 and work your way up the right side of the meadow, eventually connecting at the far upper end of the meadow with T109... which will carry you on up the mountain to Alamo Peak, or you may turn to the right on FR 90 and connect with T109 at it's trailhead, shortly after leaving the meadow.

It is 3 miles and 2,000' up to the Peak. The views are exceptional from the upper switchbacks, some of the only open views available from the higher ridge trails.

The observatory on Alamo Peak is interesting... a big black globe... a bit scary when encountered unawares.

Don't linger too long at the top... that's a long, hard hike back to the car.

Note: This forest is subject to closure each spring due to high fire danger. check to make sure that the trail is open before attempting this route in May/June... although really it is too hot then anyway. Go somewhere else and play.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2009-05-01 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 60 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ross, Mary, Darrel and Luster... hiked them up to the old commercial mine. took supplies and equipment, so the heavy pack gave me a good workout! Did not bring enough twine... 180' and it was still falling!? I've heard a variety of stories... 350'... 750' deep! I expected to bottom out around 60'... Nope!

    Mining off a natural cave..? Dang crazy. Darrel suited up just for the short movement into the mouth of the cave... and was glad he did. Holes in floor! Bottomless Pit! At least the safety rope allowed him to score some pictures.

    Not sure If I'll ever venture in or down. There are some squeeze entries around the cliffs... not really my thing, but...?
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Blind Canyon
    Mary wanted a bit of a workout... sounded good to me, so strapped on the weight vest... pack... and headed up Alamo Canyon, sort of thinking about the mid dryfalls up in Blind. As we worked our way up it occurred to me that lower Blind was a bit dull, and we'd used it on a number of recent outings. Alternative: The Twins... in particular, west cut. So... up and into that nicely bit of vertical. The vest and wrong shoes made it an over challenge!

    In no time we both had scored our workout for the day!

    Once up on the Dark Cliffs... an easy loop around and into Blind... Mary's first trip up canyon. I thought there were 3 dryfalls mid canyon. We hit two?

    Good outing... descended the Gap; that is by far the best route out and down.

    I was beat up...the weight vest may be the key to getting some muscle mass back?
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Easier outing save for the fact of strapping on the 40# weight vest... intent was just to wear it with the pack for the 1.5 mile walk to the trailhead... but, I kept it on for the entire hike! I got worked! Mary and Will along... great weather, even though it was supposed to be raining!
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
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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!
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Paula showed up for the first of the Fall Beginner hikes... and connected with Christie at the Trailhead. She's new to the area... so we added in Arch canyon for a bit of Spice. Paula getting ready to start writing the Beginner Hikers Guide??? I hope so!

    Forgot to load up my waterbottle, so went dry for six hours, including the biking there and back... and the sweaty hike! Feel drained!

    Arch always a great canyon... weather good.
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
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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!
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Short hike to begin the Survey of the Canyon and its numerous side cuts and Spurs. Ideally, this will get me back into the pattern of compiling and writing the descriptions of the over 50 new routes in the area. We also plan to start back up with the exploratory hikes by the end of the month. I have 0ver 20 new routes on the list, and then we could head further south around the base of the mountain... not sure where it will end!

    Project work remains the priority through 2016... 2017 the plan is to hike all 250+ routes... doing GPS routes on all.
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Dark Faces Canyon
    Exploratory up the middle cut of the Dark Rock Canyons... proved interesting... a bit demanding... and offers some potential for future rope work routes.

    We hit Alamo Ridge and then checked out the descent through the gully on the Rock Spring canyon side of the ridge. Doable... not too much fun.

    Likely, this day's route the least appealing of the three canyons.

    Good day out
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Misguided Exploratory wandered again up the wrong canyon... but we diverted out and scored a number of new areas, going up and down. Got to fit in a most interesting fall... that could have been far worse, ranging into the bad!? Got lucky... all good.

    Checked out the west side lower end of Alamo Ridge South (lower Long Ridge) and the access cleft up through the cliffs. Nice area... but not inviting enough to make for a great day hike. We'll likely use it for exit routing from above for variety.

    http://alamotrailscoop... for details about Falling!
    Alamo Canyon Trail #104
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    early start... long day. Made our way up the correct canyon this time... and it was nice. the Upper regions did not offer much other than overviews into future routes... and access easily up to the Steamboat formation. We encounter the site of a plan wreck with most of the plane long gone.

    We exited below the Steamboat... down upper Deadman... into middle Dead... and that provided a great descent. We hit the Spur trail over to Roundup Ground trail... and down and out.

    We worked our way at various points around to see 4-6 more routes to check out.. the most dramatic will likely be BlackFace... the canyon immediately north of Black Rock. It appears to be cut off low down with a towering Face of Black rock. We could not see all the crevices... maybe there will be access???

    Steamboat access from the west end is not going to happen... need to loop the south side (Mule Canyon north) to check for routes... but more likely it will be from upper Deadman to the far east saddle.

    Sunny with breezes... 50's... very nice out!!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, the lower trailhead is reached by connecting with Scenic drive, the wide divided 4 lane street that circles the city's east side. Follow Scenic drive to it's southern most end, then continue on to Alamo Canyon road (up and around the large city water tank on the right). Drive a little over one mile to the end of the road at the Alamo Canyon City Water Filter Plant. There are a number of parking places outside the fenced area. Walk along and past the plant on the right, and through the gates. The trail starts here. Walk up canyon, eventually entering the wash bottom.

    Upper Trailhead: Alamo Peak: From Cloudcroft at the intersection of Hiway 82 and NM 130, turn south on NM 130 and drive 1.8 miles to NM 6563 (Sunspot Hiway). Turn right and Follow NM 6563 to milepost 6, then another .2 miles further along turn right on FR 64D, a very narrow but paved access to the observatory. Drive slow. The trailhead is at the gated entry area to the observatory, 1.7 miles in.
    page created by imike on May 01 2009 5:14 pm
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