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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.

Atkinson Field Trail #111, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,967 feet
Elevation Gain -1,607 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.23 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.18
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:52am - 5:59pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
It Be Steep...
by imike

Likely In-Season!
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.

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

2009-05-02 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
    Atkinson Field Trail #111
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    Camped out up high for the week... Yubao logging longer miles with hopes of improving his time on Organ Needle (3 H 20 MIN... striving to hit 3 hour) and prepare for 50 mile events this Fall. Me... finally clearing out my lung problems!? Of course, I'm way out of shape after months of not being able to train hard, but the last few days feel great.
    Atkinson Field Trail #111
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    twelve hour day meant dark to start and dark to finish... end of day would have been lighter but the cold front finally hit; the thick cloud bank blocked out the western horizon. Was sort of shooting for an 8,000' day, but we added in some steep off trail and an additional peak... and, I was not strong on the steeper uphill sections... so, bigger days maybe later? Yubao and Timmy seemed to be enjoying the route except for my too frequent rest breaks. Even in the cooler temps I sweated out way too much fluids... drank over a gallon of OJ and electrolyte fluids on the hike and a full gallon of chocolate milk immediately after the hike... not sure what was going on. At my age I can't complain about logging this day, but I expect a bit more that has yet to translate through for higher performance. Guess I'll keep plugging away.

    It was a fun day out, and descending Alamo Canyon was exceptionally nice this time around.
    Atkinson Field Trail #111
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    Well... had some chores this morning so the hike did not get started until midday. Late starts tend to diminish animal encounters. Early starts nearly guarantee elk, deer and assorted other encounters; they love roaming just after dawn.

    Yet... dropping down a little used, very steep and eroded trail I noted a shadow of a form slipping through the underbrush some 50 yards down trail... approaching the area I paused, and after a minute I began to whistle and chitter in a manner that I hoped would inspire a curious response. Sure enough, a couple of minutes into my callings I head popped out from around a tree... then the animal moved over into an opening in the clearing about 25 yards away... where he'd have a clear view of me. I continued the entertaining whistling to see if I could entice him to come closer, but he seemed content to simply stare back at me. I switched over to a benign conversation for another five minutes or so, then running out of stuff to say, bid the mountain lion adieu and continued my hike on down drainage. It was interesting that he responded so predictably to the whistling. I would assume they fear few animals in the wild, and exercise a reasonable curiosity, whether for entertainment or just checking out potential dinners. Sense I was willing to simply exchange face to face, I moved myself out of the realm of dinner. It was a nice encounter.

    ...about a half mile on down the trail I heard some assorted frantic scramblings in the shrubs ahead, then noted what I initially took to be a porcupine scampering up a very tall fir tree. Then, to accompany the scratching there were gruff growls and snorts... moving closer I realized there were two little bodies making for heights, but they were very small bear cubs! The mother, satisfied that she'd gotten her cubs high enough out of harms way (me?) slid back down the tree and dove down into the gully and climbed out the opposite bank, stopping and turning to watch what I had in mind. I attempted to reassure her that all was fine, but her looks were pure anxiety... so, after snapping a few fast photos I moved on down the trail. Hopefully, she reclaimed the cubs. I'll hike back in tomorrow to make sure they are not still stranded three stories up.

    I had high hopes for turkey, elk, deer, porcupine and whatever after those first two encounters, but alas... that was the entertainment for the day. Wish I'd snapped pics of the mountain lion but they tend to do really well when holding eye to eye contact, but most often when I look away for even a brief period they tend to move off and away; not sure what that is about.
    Atkinson Field Trail #111
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    Easy effort after yesterday's longer workout hike...

    Closing out the weekend effort, 11,200' yesterday on a very steep trail and 2900' today on the 7.3 mile connecting route with 109/110/111/109... Giving me a nice 14,100' for the weekend, nearly my goal for the week. I'll finish up the week with a very light daily hit in town on Osha trail... then move on to the following week with no major efforts, just the daily hit of that 2900' foot route five times during the week, and the Osha trail daily. I will net about the same for the week's effort without having any big hits. The next big effort day will come the following weekend. I'll attempt to do the longer mileage day covering all seven ridge approach trails in one day: 10,100 feet of climbing over 27 miles. For some reason that particular route day has alluded me. Maybe I'll get lucky that weekend if the forest remains open. What is doubly impressive with the current training: my body weight is still over 30# above event weight. Once I cut that weight, it is reasonable to believe I'll have a 20% performance augmentation on just that issue alone. Combined with another five months of focused training the goal of a Finger Rock Quad begins to look very doable, even though at younger age I was never able to get that one goal under my belt. Interesting.
    Atkinson Field Trail #111
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    Too many elk out this morning to count, and lots of turkey. I'm still trying to get a good pic of those turkey, but invariably they flutter off right in front of me with my camera buried away, or if the camera is out and ready they manage to scuttle just out of range or in too dense of brush for the camera to capture. Be nice to have an effective zoom lense for those buzzards.

    Easier day yesterday allowed the legs the needed rest... the loop this morning was easy.

    I added in the extra down/up Section with T111... nice hit

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Cloudcroft, at the intersection of NM 130 and Hiway 82, follow NM 130 1.8 miles south, turning right onto NM 6563 (Sunspot Hiway) and procede 8.6 miles to FR 640 (Atkinson Canyon Rd), turning right on FR 640, drive .8 mile to the head of the canyon, then park anywhere along the road over the next .5 mile. Walk west into the large meadow area (Atkinson Field) connecting with the obvious trail crossing to the southwest part of the field. The Trailhead is across and up the hill as the trail passes into the trees. T111 begins at the large National Recreation Trail sign.
    page created by imike on May 02 2009 4:33 pm
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