Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Down and Low...
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.
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.
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