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Lost Trail Drainage North, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,616 feet
Elevation Gain 2,500 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,600 feet
Avg Time One Way 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.66
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
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   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:52am - 5:59pm
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Water
Down and Low...
by imike

What these local Alamogordo mountains lack in "real" trails, they can begin to make up with "non" trails: the drainages that canyon out and crest here in the frontal range around 7,000'. Drainage after drainage stretching for over twenty miles, each providing a unique challenge for the more adventurous hiker. This particular track is the beginning route for the alternative hike to Ortega Peak, but where that route exits the drainage earlier on, this one continues to follow the dry, boulder bound cut up and into an ever narrowing gorge that cliffs out below Mineral Springs Trail, and allows cross country access to the frontal ridge. The logical destination for this hike is the un-named peak at 7122' slightly off to the north of the headwaters area of the canyon. Once there, the options for returning are numerous, but none easy. You can walk the ridge north to Winter Peak and loop down and around through Dry Canyon... or, follow the ridge south directly to Ortega Peak, descending on either "A" trail (119) or the Lost Drainage trail back down to your entry route.

This will be a longer effort, extremely steep once you make the move to work up to the ridge. Depending on your return option, you could also log some very long mileage, and if you opt to return down "A" it may feel like an overly steep effort for the end of the day.

It could simply be kept to a shorter day, hiking just in the drainage bottom and enjoying the canyon cut... skipping the upper portion effort to the ridge. That eliminates 1,000' of climbing that you would do in the last half mile.

For variety, hiking this drainage cut is a great bit of entertainment.

As described in the hike for Ortega Peak, this approach is up the northern cut of this drainage. During the first mile of this hike, look for a slick rock fall side drainage on your left, and climb that short falls to enter the drainage... and don't exit until you reach the end, where you'll climb out as you see fit.

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

2010-02-11 imike
    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
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Fourth month of the progressive canyon series was less progressive yet still very appreciated. last minute changes yielded seven hikers for this bit of up down/in out... and the shorter day seemed well enjoyed by everyone. Lisa will hopefully come again... and next time bring along more than a pint of water in a waist pack with no food! I gave her three qts of energy drink to carry her day; she did great! I was in the final stages (I hope!) of my first head cold since 1994... a bit dingy with the low grade fever... but it was a much easier day... on mileage and elevation... and no demanding climbs.

    A good day.

    Next month... back to harder!
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Muggy... just not nice heavy humidity!

    I drove to the trailhead early, then decided to move over to something a bit easier and hopefully more interesting. I headed out n light rain wearing a parka, but immediately had to strip that off... just too oppressive in the dead air. Fortunately, the rain passed. Unfortunately, the dead air held on.

    I walked up to the Indian Wells, then decided to head up Lost Trail Canyon North, with the intent of checking out the North Spur. It had been years since I'd drifted up this cut. I'd never hiked the Spur.

    Very good choice; it was all good. The rock sculpturing was exceptional. The terminal dryfall included a nice staircase of rock to skirt the blockage on the right. The upper canyon held good, eventually giving way to the ridge that directly accessed the upper portion of Mineral Springs Trail.

    Later in the day I paid closer attention to the mountain biker's single track route below the Springs. I discovered a number of new sections; effectively, it provides an alternative to the sucky jeep road that is the official trail. Great find!

    So... I did not score the needed 8,000' AEg to stay on track for the month. I did manage to not just turn around and go home in response to the depressing weather. I scored some great hours out and about.

    Sun finally came out... light breeze teased the edges of comfort now and then.

    I be happy. :)
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Linking up the loop I walked today made me realize I need to add in a couple more descriptions to cover some of the route.

    Well... glitched my right knee.

    Thought I could walk it out, but no... so, I can hike, at less than one mile per hour, unless it involves any uphill; then I slow down.

    Guess the next week will prove interesting. Oddly enough, just yesterday I plugged a couple of mountain biking days each week into the Meetup.com Calendar of events. Migt need to add a few more?

    Seven progressive months without a hitch... then... boom.

    Interesting.

    Not the 7,000' AEG day I had in mind! :(
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Not an early start, and switch to DST did not help with that. I felt beat up from the prior day... low energy... but I made it up the trail and even managed to do some trail grooming. I also cut the new trail route over into Terri's Cut.

    The first planned Meetup group showed up and Kim hiked them up to the Caves and Lair for fun. (Five Hikers).

    15 Hikers showed up for the 2pm outing! We wandered up Lost Trail to the Indian Wells. I had to cut away a bit early to run back down and out to make the 4pm final hike. Just Three hikers but a fun loop: Quarry to Marble Bluffs, the old Gold Mine and down the "A"... for good measure showed them the new trail route into "A" Canyon, South... Terri's Cut. Mixed opinions as to whether or not it was as easy as I think it is...

    So... long day. Not great AEG... I'll be playing catchup this week!
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The Wednesday double turned into a triple!

    Shared the peak hike with Terri and Brenda... then we looped back out (Terri and Bill) to enjoy the Marble Canyon...Quarry Canyon route to the top of the Marble Bluffs. From there, up to the old Gold Mine on the "A" Trail where we split up... I headed up to re-stage my trail tools and log some trail work hours... they headed down hill to close out their day earlier. Great weather! Nice routes. Trail getting better; nearly have it up to the "A" trail Bluffs.
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Saturday Training loop
    Drove over an hour early for this posted hike... and Brenda showed up right after I arrived! We enjoyed an interesting loop, including the mud and snow over in Dry Canyon. Ortega Peak nice... weather great... nice interlude with a small herd of elk on the north side of Hershberger Peak (Brenda thought she heard water running... I stopped and noted it was Elk passing below us through the snow... and sure enough, they soon emerged, rounding into the ridge/canyon at the top of Marble Canyon North.

    We stopped at the Fissure for awhile (likely longer down time than I noted) then took an end of day break at the old Gold Mine.

    These progressive Saturday training hits are about to step up into all day affairs with starts in the dark... oh, well!
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    ...early start, headed up and over to Dry Canyon, but on the way... both some energy issues and the thought of doing the dull, open Dry. And, I was staring up and over at the Dark Mesa, upper and lower. That had appeal. I made the looping turn to carry me over to access that ridge.

    It was a very nice hike... cacti blooming... shadows on cliffs... much like walking in and through a private desert park.

    I was surprised to find that the upper Mesa was really just a peak. Though surrounded by dark cliffs, it lacked the substance I was expecting to be the upper Mesa... and, it had a use trail directly off of the Mineral Springs Trail.

    Next, dropping down and past the Springs, I followed the real trail route down to the next pass and found access to the lower Mesa easy. I looped around the Mesa, noticing what appeared to be yet another trail down below and heading off to the south... it proved to be a great connecting Spur trail over to Little Mineral Springs trail. It was in great shape and covered with cacti in full magenta bloom.

    I exited LMS trail down at the Indian Wells, and went off trail over to Lost Trail Canyon, and looped back to my car in that drainage.

    It was not the harder day planned, but it was a great outing. New stuff... that seems to be what keeps me going of late. Now, for some stupid reason I did not take my camera along. So, got to redo the loop...
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Exploratory up Lost Trail Canyon, south fork... not what I was hoping for! It was overgrown, and lacked consistent bedrock to enjoy walking on. There was some. It also lacked nice towering sidewalls... lots of dirt sided cuts. But, it needed to be done. It was very nice once back over and coming down the North Fork... even though it was down more in the flats, there was a great blend of rock slab, vista, plant accents and nice falls to scramble around on. Just a couple of canyons left to check out in the Alamo area... but, there are still ridges to hike, and then I'll begin drifting out of town to the south...
    Lost Trail Drainage North
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The early hours were pure fun, much like Rattlesnake Canyon near Tucson, then the up and over to exit the drainage was a leg burning 65-75% grade, then a simple wall out... or would have been simple if I could use my right arm. I can't, so more drama than was really there. After the canyon section I explored and discovered that there was a trail connection back down to the city that is not shown on the maps, so I hiked down 3.5 miles just to confirm where it would come out, then back up that 1700' to resume my hike on to Ortega Peak. Long, slow day. Began to feel good after 6 hours... probably scored 5 of the 9 hours off trail. nice day.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    From Scenic Drive (the major loop around the east part of the town) turn east on Thunder Road and follow it to the large water tank on your left. Park at the tank and walk off to the north, dropping immediately into the drainage.
    page created by imike on Feb 11 2010 7:40 pm
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