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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.

Upper Dry Canyon Trail #5573, NM

no permit
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Guide 0 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,313 feet
Elevation Gain -382 feet
Accumulated Gain 642 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.74
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:51am - 6:00pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Amble Ramble
by imike

Likely In-Season!
This hike really starts nowhere and goes nowhere... it is best done as an augment to either the Dry Canyon trail hike (#5574), or perhaps to the "A" mountain trail hike (#119)...stretching either of those hikes on out a bit. The trail just wanders around down below the ridge line where Forest Road 90 (Westside road) bisects the mountain range.

From it's trailhead you'd think that you will be simply angling across and on up the hill to connect with FR90. In fact you will find yourself dropping down, winding around the drainages and finally down well below where you began, loosing 400' of elevation, only then to finally begin the trek back up the hill towards the road. This final 600' climb suggests that it might even become a little strenuous, but never quite makes that extra bit of effort. You do begin to get the feeling you are on a peak hike within that last mile as a very obvious and prominent heavily forested peak rises above you... unfortunately, you top out on the road just before reaching that 8100' point. You could continue on off trail to add that extra bit to the day, but it is still a long way back to where your day began.

This trail, added to one of the others noted, makes for a nice picnic ramble in the cooler months, extending the hike out that extra five miles. For trail runners it gives a bit more grade to enjoy over the flatter sections of lower Dry Canyon, and offers views of the backside of both Hershberger Peak and Ortega Peak. Your return hike can be shortened by simply taking the cutoff trail (#5574A) which drops directly back to lower Dry Canyon, avoiding the #119 section.

Note: It is wise to avoid this trail if it has rained recently or is raining... unless you would enjoy adding in some foot weight resistance training. The sticky red mud will double or triple your shoe weight!

All of these trails are the remnants of old jeep tracks that were cut into the Sacramento Mountains many decades ago... slicing and dicing the drainages for water, cattle and mineral access.

This sun exposed hike should be limited to the cooler months. It makes a great alternative to the snowy, mushy winter hiking in the higher elevations.

If starting from the higher trailheads of FR 90, it can make for an interesting approach to hike the backside of Ortega Peak off trail, especially if combined with cutoff trail #5574A. Check out the map and go enjoy!

Check out the Official Route.

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

2009-09-18 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 Review
    Upper Dry Canyon Trail #5573
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Very interesting outing. Plan was to do an exploratory up into Hell Hole Canyon... but, Yuboa showed up, so decided to go up into the Traverse to salvage some old elk bones. Alas, the bones were long gone, but I did find my jacket lost 3 years ago! From the old mine site above Hell Hole, we decided to loop over and descend Caballero Canyon North... another long delayed exploratory canyon route. Got lucky on the descent into the drainage; easy trail down through the upper gorge waterfall... then it got interesting. The gurgling brook continued to gurgle. The bottom of the canyon was a deep V cut, overgrown and often water filled, but the general canyon bottom was shelved out, replete with small meadows and surrounded by a variety of hardwood trees. Initially, we followed a nicely developed game trail, then surprisingly, an old bulldozed road bed. City of Alamogordo had cleared a route and buried a water collection line feeding from the spring above west side road (FR 90). That meant an easy meander down and out of the canyon! In the lower section we could have dropped over into the narrow bottom, but instead chose to stick with the pipeline to confirm that it connected up with Trail 103 (Caballero Canyon Trail) up at the old concrete stockpond. Sure enough... I'd glanced down that old roadbed a couple of times over the years. It had never occurred to me that it would possibly work it's way around and over into the North Caballero Canyon drainage. This easy passage may open up the possibility for an all off trail route from Alamogordo up to The White Sands Observatory on Alamo Peak! 4400' to 9600'... starting with an open, dry canyon approach, then a narrow riparian stretch... then the hardwood forest section up to the cleft waterfall... from there up to the old road house mining site... into the pines and firs and ideally, ridging out to the Observatory... all off trail! Gotta try that out over the next week or so.

    Colors beginning to come on... sumac blazing red today.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, drive up hiway 82 towards Cloudcroft, and turn in across the cattleguard to your right, halfway between mile marker 5 and 6. Proceed down the rough dirt road to the end... to the marked trailhead for #5574.. Dry Canyon Trail. Follow this trail a bit over 5 miles to trail #119. Turn left and follow that trail less than quarter mile to the marked trailhead on your left for #5573.

    or... follow hiway 82 on up into High Rolls, turning right on FR90 (Westside Road) across from the deli/store, following FR 90 5.5 miles to the signed trailhead, or go nearly 7 miles to a large bend to the left, turning to your right and following the old jeep track around and down the hill to your right to the signed trailhead for #119. Hike less than .1 mile down to the trailhead on your right for #5573.
    page created by imike on Sep 18 2009 8:07 am
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