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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.

Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon), NM

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62 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 1
 
0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance One Way 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,403 feet
Elevation Gain 3,350 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,650 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.66
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2013-10-28 Jim_H
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   May, Sep, Aug, Oct → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:52am - 5:59pm
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0 Alternative
 
Water
This Dog Don't Bark!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Dog Canyon is by far the most popular hiking area in these mountains, and one of the only places where you are liable to run into other hikers on the trail. It is for good reason; this is a great trail. Though starting out up an overly steep grade out of Oliver Lee State Park, the hike eases up after the first mile and then wanders around, up and over the sidecuts below the towering cliffs on either side of the canyon. The normal destination for most of the adventurous tourist hikers are the old ruins of the line cabin up below the falls, where the trail finally traverses to the north side of the drainage. Beyond this point, the true climbing begins, switchbacking and traversing a narrow bench below the prominent cliffs known as the Eyebrow... that sections is considered a bit too much by many: too much steep and too much exposure. The steep is valid, the exposure is an illusion. The trail is cut 30 to 50 feet from the cliff edges, and though at a steep slant to the edge, it is doubtful that anyone falling off the trail would make it down and over the side of the cliff.

Dog Point, the destination of this hike, is the highest point above those towering cliffs on the north side of the canyon (on your left as you hike up the canyon). Though it does not stand out as a visible high point from anywhere on the trail, it is impressive to imagine that you are headed to a point that towers above the very cliffs towering above you during the lower portion of this hike. Dog Point, really an unnamed highpoint on the map, is the 7753' high point along Joplin Ridge, and offers a 360 degree view of that mountain section. To the west lies the Tularosa Basin and the outstanding White Sands National Monument. To the north lies the San Andreas Canyon drainage. To the east, the inner valley that separates the frontal range from the upper range is exposed for miles. To the south, across the Dog Canyon Drainage, can be seen Gobbler Knob, the high point over the next drainage: Escondido Canyon. It is truly a Panoramic view.

Initially, the hike is trail 106, Dog Canyon National Recreational Trail, to it's terminus with forest road 90B, at mile post 5.5 (the entire trail is blazed with mile markers, every .25 miles in the lower sections, and every .5 mile in the upper reaches.) At this point in the hike, turn left on the old jeep road and follow it for about .75 mile where it splits, follow the left hand track on up the hill. You have effectively topped out on Joplin Ridge once you've reached FR 90B. You will reach the peak shortly after.

You will note on your left during this final section that you are now simply retracing your path over the long meadow you crossed between mile 4.5 and mile 5... just a few hundred feet below you.

A consideration for alternative route on your way up is to depart the main trail at mile marker 4.5 and head directly up the hill to the north (left) and skip that extra bit of mileage, although it is a pretty section.

I would definitely use the direct downhill route on the return trip unless you just want that extra mileage.

This is a great easy day out/back destination hike. In the winter, the meadow above 6,000' can be snow covered. Take proper gear.

The peak can be accessed by ATV from above. Forest Road 90 (West Side Road) provides access to the entire frontal range from that 7500' level.

Check out the Triplog.

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2010-01-31 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
    Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Headed out before 6am...on trail out at Oliver Lee State Park around 6:20am. Ross and I met Mary at the trailhead. Started the hike off in T-shirt!

    Easy but steady pace up to the Line Cabin...then the ever steeper hike up below the Eyebrow. Plan for the day: exit the trail before it climbs back to the East... heading for the low saddle overlooking San Andreas Canyon to the North. We followed the second canyon cut on our left and enjoyed some minor scrambling before exiting to the dividing ridge to move to the top of Joplin Ridge. This route was a re-peat from our snowed out attempt a couple months ago... and today was crystal clear vista views.

    Once on the spine of the ridge we moved further to the north side and caught glimpses over and up into San Andreas. We spotted an new cut on the north side of the canyon that looks to offer a route up and through the blocking cliffs. It should allow us to get up to the old jeep roads on Burleson Ridge... another potential long/big day?

    Great upper meadows and rock gardens... ever greater views...
    ... then, our real goal for the day: Joplin Ridge West: W4... Yvonne's Cut. We knew the canyon was blocked off from below...a short section needing rope for safety (30')... and we'd spotted what appeared to be a larger blockage above that... but no clear view of it from the bottom. Today was to determine what might be possible. After a fairly easy side hill descent we reached a canyon bottom that was changing to levels of bedrock dryfalls... easy drops. Finally, a bedrock section narrowed and dropped us into the Narrows, and real down climbing began. It was great! Layer after layer, level after level... very nice section.

    We set a safety hand rope for a small 12' drop with rotten rock... otherwise, just nice minor scrambling.

    In short order we made it down to the upper blockage. 40-60' Rap... our turnaround for the day. We could see the lower drop, so it will be a two rappel descent when we return in the Fall to do the entire canyon.

    Mary was having an off day... Ross was not looking forward to the climb all the way back to the top of the canyon. Once up and out of the Narrows, I volunteered to route us on a "softer" loop up and out. They were both skeptical... but after minor grumbling followed me off and up. We got lucky. Moderate amount of climbing and we were south side cliff top... well below the mid ridge elevation. With luck we could loop this route all the way back to the trail... if Bishop's Cap Cut did not blind us off. It didn't... let us around and through with little extra effort... and the rest of the hike over to the trail was pretty much along Elk Trails. We dropped in below the Eyebrow at the exact point we'd projected an hour earlier. The views into and across Dog Canyon were exceptional. We identified another five or six potential cuts to check out.

    The four miles back down the trail were slow... but nice. We hit the trailhead after sunset; drove home in the dark... nice twelve hour hike logged. Great loop. There is still more to check out from Joplin Ridge; we'll be back!

    Pics posting tomorrow?
    Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I posted this as a Meetup group hike and had one taker, so we hiked slowly to the cliff face, taking nearly 4 hours to reach it. This was fine, as I was out to have a relaxing hike on a warm day. Clouds rolled in, the partner wanted to turn back as they were reaching their limit, and I went to Dog Point. This makes a nice short alternative to the hike to Sunspot, and it is a nice change from the A Trail. It got cooler and over cast as the afternoon wore on, which was not expected, but it is nearly November. I may or may not be able to hike to Sunspot and back again this year, but I can hike this until snow or something else stops me.
    Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Heavy rains forced a change in plans... the planned training trail would be way too muddy; even the approach drive would have been a mess, so with the cooler temps (69 degree high yesterday!) in tow we headed over to the never muddy, Dog Canyon trail. Yubao had never hiked that world class canyon trail; a double benefit.

    Great start to the day with the clouds drifting around low in the canyon... camera out of commission right now, but the old pics of this hike would show the same kind of great day. We kept to a slower pace in keeping with my heart rate monitored hiking/training and enjoyed the great vistas. exiting the canyon and climbing above the cliffs and on to Joplin Ridge, I thought this might be a good day to check out a bushwhacking drop across and over into San Andreas Canyon. Yubao is a strong hiker, and though I usually only do exploratories solo, I figured he might enjoy the attempt... if nothing else it would give him an idea of what it is like to scrounge around in these southern cliff canyons.

    He got a good idea... a bit too good. The route I picked worked down through some minor cliffs, then angled a bit too steeply down through scrub... and terminated at a 200-300' cliff. He had had enough (too much) before he got to the real cliff... he already felt as if we were dangling over the edges when we were 50-70 feet from the real drop over. I could not find any clefs to descend; I had not brought along any rope. We climbed back out. I did not realize the full extent of his bad moments until we were back on top of the ridge and I mentioned checking out another potential 1/2 mile further up canyon... then realized from the look on his face just what a bad idea that was. My idea of fun exploration was not the same as his. I do think I could take him back up there with a rope and find a safe route down... 300-400 feet of rope!

    Instead of exploring more of San Andreas canyon, we hit the ridge and climbed to Dog Point, the highest lookout in that area... caught the old forest road from there around to the upper Dog Canyon trailhead, then did a slow and easy descent down the entire length of that trail.

    8:30am departure... back to the truck at 5:30pm to a flat tire! I pumped it up...home before 6:30pm... days are getting shorter!

    Now, got to hike up San Andreas canyon to spot a "real" access point through the cliffs for the cut over to Dog Canyon... if one even exists. It is stupid to attempt blind descents; I know that... not sure why I continue to do it. Usually, I am alone with no one to point out just how stupid it is to be doing. I think it is finally time for a SPOT device. When it was just me, no big deal... with these other hikers tagging along I need some way to get their bodies out.

    Great day on the trail. First week of cutting: 221.6 pounds down to 216 today. Made the day a fasting day hike... no breakfast, no lunch, no dinner, no snacks... mixed 350 calories of OJ into my gallon of water bottles and drank it over the 9 hour hike. I had planned a protein shake recovery drink but do not feel as if I need it, so I'll let the fast stretch till tomorrow noon, after the morning hike. Did drink four no calorie Monster Drinks!
    Dog Point (Joplin Ridge via Dog Canyon)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Not the hike planned for the day, but that is how days go...

    My intent was to hike up Dog Canyon then traverse above the frontal range over to the next drainage to the south and do an exploratory hike working my way down through Escondido Canyon. Though there are no posted trails nor listings in the area guide books, there is a trail on the MyTopo page, and I have reviewed the area from above from Gobbler Knob... I assume it is very doable... and that was the plan.

    It would have been a moderately long day... 6 miles up Dog... 7 miles over...3 miles in... then 4-6 miles down the canyon... then another 4 miles of desert back to the truck, but most of the climbing would have been completed in the first 6 miles. Seemed okay.

    Visible snowline appears to be around 7,000' but the north slopes have scattered snow down below 5,000'... I was hoping for a relatively clear path, but I packed along the Neos overboots just in case. Turned out to be a good idea.

    Hit a snow covered meadow 6-8" deep while still working my way up Dog Canyon, and cresting out on the north side, got into 12" pretty consistently. There were clear areas of ground, but since the ground was not frozen, the infamous frontal range clay/mud posed a more imposing challenge than simply staying in the deep snow. It was not exactly postholing, but it was a leg burning effort to keep clipping off the miles.... in the end, instead of making the traverse I opted for the opposite direction and bagged the little mini-peak on the north side of the drainage.

    Fun day... since I'm not training for trail events right now, I should get to have one of these little mini-exploratory outings each week. Lots of canyons to venture into... and ridges to climb.

    Permit $$
    Information is listed below


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, take hiway 54 south towards ElPaso, approximately 11 miles to turnoff for Oliver Lee State Park. Drive to park and park at Visitor Center. There is an entry fee. If you are going to be doing much in New Mexico, consider the annual pass, or even the annual camping pass, a really great deal.

    Note: there is a great hot shower down in the large rest room mid park. Feels great to hit that after the hours on the trail!
    page created by imike on Jan 31 2010 3:28 pm
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