It Be Steep...
Note: Page stats are for #111 one-way segment. The description below is 4.2mi / 1,617 ft / 1,711 aeg / 3hrs.
Atkinson Field Trail provides one of the more direct routes from the Rim down to the mid ranges of the Sacramento Mountains, easily connecting to West Side Road (FR 90)and a variety of other trails for a diversity of possible day routes in and through the mountains. The trail itself is steep, averaging 1,000' per mile over it's 1.6 miles, but the footing is soft loam and is not that difficult to negotiate.
This trail is typically combined with T109 (Alamo Peak) and T110 (Pipeline) to create a more interesting loop hike.
The first part of the hike is a traverse across Atkinson Field, adding an additional mile to the total out/back mileage, and a few additional feet of elevation. The Trailhead proper is where the forest service has erected a very large Trail sign dedicating the Rim Trail (T105) as a National Recreational Trail. The information on the sign is a bit dated... the Rim Trail has now been extended for double that number of miles, and in general it was a pretty odd spot to position the sign. You have to have been already hiking in on the Rim Trail to get to the sign..? There is no vehicle access at that point.
This area is thick with Elk... nearly any early morning entry will scare up a number, along with Turkey and deer. Cattle graze in Atkinson Field and also in the large meadow at the other end of the trail down in the Alamogordo Water Works collection area. They usually prefer to use the gentler Pipeline Trail to make their traverses.
Note: this forest is subject to wildfire closures during the months of May and June... be sure to check before planning any trips.
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.