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Traditionally, the route to Goat Springs began down in Alamogordo, crossing private land at the opening to the canyon. In recent years the owner has closed off the access, due to vandalism and abuse. The alternative approach is now from above, hiking up and around Hershberger Peak, then dropping down the mountain into the area known as The Mesa. From there, the upper end of the traditional route may be accessed for the descent down to Goat Springs. This requires nearly all off trail trekking, and a goodly bit of searching to find the trail access from the Mesa onto the old Goat Springs trail. The Canyon below the Mesa is a narrow, dry waterfall defile, and the very narrow path dropping from the Mesa can reach grades in the 60% range. Move very carefully down along this difficult trail section. The hike is worth the effort; both the Mesa and the Goat Spring Gorge are exceptional areas to visit. Adding in the potential to include a climb up Hershberger Peak, the highest point in the frontal range, and the day is fully rounded out.
It would be a better than good idea to take along both map and possibly GPS coordinates to help locate the exact access point for the descent off the Mesa. Attempting to work your way down into the canyon at the wrong point might not be wise.
If you do attempt to enter or exit the Canyon from the lower access, be aware that the trail poses a severe potential for injury from slipping and falling on the loose gravel surfaces, possibly entering into a long and potentially fatal fall. Take due care if attempting those lower levels.
It is best to respect the wishes of the private property owner and request permission for access prior to trespassing on their property.
From the upper trailhead, follow T119 first down then winding back uphill drawing ever closer to Hershberger Peak. Around mile 1.3 exit the trail to the left and work your way up and around the Peak, emerging on the far west side. Work your way downhill to the west, entering the broad, tilted expanse known as the Mesa. The cut down to goat springs lies far out on the northwestern edge of the cliffs. Depending on your route, the distance to the cliff edges dropping down to the Springs may be around 6-7 miles.
The mileage on down from the Cliff edges to the city below is a bit over 2 miles.
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