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Beeman Canyon, NM

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Guide 0 Triplogs  2 Topics
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 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,543 feet
Elevation Gain 2,526 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,580 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:49am - 6:08pm
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Water
If we'd just turned around sooner!
by imike

Beeman Canyon lies on the far northern end of the frontal range, the last drainage before the major road cut heading up the mountain to Cloudcroft. It starts out as a nondescript wash hike, bisected numerous times by Jeep and ATV tracks, in fact, you may find it just as desirable to hike the old Jeep track as the lower wash drainage... your choice on that. It is after the Jeep track dies off up and to the left that the real fun begins. Now, you move easily up through the wash. The rocky cliffs draw closer in, and you finally reach the Portal... a narrowing created by two large, distinctive rocks balanced on the tilted slabs of the drainage bottom... this begins the section called the Jumble... about a mile of basketball, volkswagon, school bus and house size boulders tumbled into and filling the canyon bottom. It's a tumbled maze... and you get to work your way up and through, up and over, up and around... all challenging... all pure fun. The drainage is narrow, so the route finding is minor... basically, you simply continue to go up!


This draws to a distinctive close at a ledge waterfall... rotten rock, so instead of climbing it you may choose to work your way around on the left... shrubby, but doable.

From this point on you are back into a basic wash, with a much flatter grade for awhile... then you occasionally get to enjoy some bedrock walking, in an every narrowing defile. Eventually you come to a distinctive split, the forks (called that for sure because someone has painted "The Forks" on the rock there!) and your path leads to the right. I have not hiked the left (north) fork, but the map shows that if you go that way you will reach the top of the ridge up at the meadows area below Winter Peak... and if you plan to loop down Dry Canyon and back around to your car and desire a shorter and easier route, that left turn may be for you. Otherwise, continue on up the ever steeper right branch. As you near the top, the ridge to your right is really the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Tularosa Valley. You have the option of staying down in the drainage all the way to the very top, or angling to the right to walk the ridge above the drainage. Either choice will keep you moving on up to the top...

...where you will first reach the launching lip for the local hang gliders... and the jeep track that accesses the mountain. Follow it a little ways further up and you will be at the top of Winter Peak... and have hiked the full extent of the drainage of Beeman Canyon. At this point you have the option of falling the Jeep track down to Dry Canyon wash for a nice loop hike back around to the mouth of Beeman... or, head back the way you came... or get creative... Many folk will likely simply opt to turn around at the Waterfall above the Jumble, vesting their time in the most fun section of the drainage. Not a bad idea.

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

2010-02-24 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
    Beeman Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    As is typical for this canyon, only one hiker showed up for this kick off into the Fall canyon Series! So odd... this is a great loop... possibly our best boulder garden play area, and it has the equally great trail exit now... just a very nice loop!

    5-6 Hours at an easy pace...
    Beeman Canyon
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    met up with Marty for this easier looping canyon/ridge combo. Added on a lower entry point to the canyon that proved to be a great lower section. Perfect weather complimented this exceptional drainage. I'd forgotten how nice this canyon is... and with the lower Spur trail exit it really comes together to make a great looping hike. The Jumble still poses challenges and limits the range for Beginners, but everyone else can enjoy the route. Really nice!
    Beeman Canyon
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    Good Stuff... Bad Stuff... lots on interesting stuff. Not sure why this hike beat me up so bad, but I'm foot sore, leg tired and thinking about going to bed... now (3pm)!

    Good Stuff: checked out the full length of the historic horse track up Beeman Ridge, along the Sentinels Bench traversing into Beeman Canyon above the Jumble... then snaking and sneaking up and around into the North Fork, finally connecting with the old jeep track coming down from Winter Peak. Nice to finally locate that entire old track.

    Interesting Stuff: numerous traversing options to address The Wall on Beeman Ridge... switchbacks... Horse Canyon Ledges... Horse Canyon Falls and Bench... additional hangglide launch ramp? Very interesting: discovered old well/spring on the spur off of Beeman Ridge Spur trail... looks like a brick chimney, in fact: squarish rock substantially inlaid into hillside.

    Bad Stuff...descending the "real" Horse Ridge. I'd always cut down the first inner ridge: easy walking... simple descent to the canyon bottom. Today, after spotting five oddly dressed hikers below us, I stayed with the main Ridge tracking them. Noted that this route did have a real trail as opposed to just free walking the ridge top... unfortunately, the path followed an old jeep track. Terrible walking! Ross was mumbling and suggesting various easier exits... good idea but I wanted to track the road/trail to its origin. This section followed a very taxing section of Ridge ascent that was a bit too much... the combination added to the descent through the terraced cliffs was way too much. Also, clouds refused to shadow over us!

    This is a trail section not to repeat.

    The five hikers diverted down yet another ridge/trail that I did not know about (into Dry Canyon). I'd been wanting to check out the canyon running along the west side of that ridge; never occurred to me to hike the ridge. It overlooks hiway 82... constant traffic noise. The traffic activity was even distracting on the ridge we were going down, a canyon further removed. I guess I have to check out the trail, but like this trail on Horse Ridge, the Description will be more to tell people to not hike them; there are better routes.

    Lots of off trail winding up and down... first half of the day was all good. Second part was bad.
    Beeman Canyon
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    Nearly too tired to type!

    These daily hits are supposed to be in the 10-12 mile, 4,000' AEG range... yet since each day is a different hike, and they include GPS track documenting... I'm finding myself drawn over and around to catch more routes. I also find myself wandering around over ridges and canyons I've never been in... very rough off trail sections.

    The miles today have left me foot sore! But, it was a great day out. The shorter hike I'd planned was altered because of the low lying clouds; visibility was limited to 20-50 yards as I started to drop off of Winter Peak. I was shooting for a 12 mile day, descending directly across the Basin to the Garden Wall for an easy amble back to the truck. It was so socked in I was not certain which drainage to head down... instead I reversed into Horse Canyon and explored a potential new route along the Beeman Ledges. That was nice!

    I was hoping to find a route that would avoid ascending?descending The Wall on Beeman Ridge. After the easier old horse trail route up the Ridge, having to scramble up The Wall is just not inviting. I was also looking for a route that moved away from city views. Horse Canyon seemed to be doing both... but the Ledges were not descending fast enough... I realized I needed to drop all the way to the canyon bottom...?

    The lower section of Beeman Canyon is basically impassable, at least by anything but a person enjoying the Class II bouldering of the Jumble... no horse or mule passages. Yet from my high point vantage I could see a very clear horse trail working its way up the middle canyon and on past the Fork and up into Beeman Canyon North. Beeman Ridge had the old horse trail up to the Wall... and that path did continue on towards the Sentinel Rocks. I'd been told by an old hiking partner that they'd been taken on that path around to a waterfall formation...

    ... the only waterfall in Beeman Canyon was at the top of the Jumble. Could that path access the middle section above the falls?

    The sight of that upper trail strongly suggested that the trail had to makes its way below the base of the canyon cliffs yet above the canyon bottom, connecting to the middle canyon. I worked my way to the end of the Ledges then began an overly steep descent to the bottom of the middle canyon. I found the old trail.

    I've hiked the canyon for years, walking the easy flat bottom of the middle after scaling the dryfall. It never occurred to me that a path could possibly be snaking along at the base of the rocks towering on the south side of the canyon. It was faint... no horse use for decades, but t was easy walking through some truly great scenery. It would around to the Sentinels then up onto the ridge proper, right at the base of the Wall.

    I still need to find a better ridge ascent, but this new trail section provides a great exit route for a post Jumble adventure, or a great in/out hike to enjoy the hike to the Dryfall.

    All the up/down/around of those side canyons paid off. I shortened my exit by detouring down the Spur Trail off Beeman Ridge.

    Time for a shorter, easier day! I'd like to hold to the 4,000' AEG average... but with less dead slow off trail exploring. August is supposed to be about re-doing routes to score GPS tracks. Home by noon to work on computer. 4pm finishes and long miles kill the online energy.
    Beeman Canyon
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    Timmy, Yubao, Lindsay and Louis showed up for this Meetup.com promoted outing. Eleven folks had registered... I guess the 18 miles projected day, off trail, with steep climbs and bouldering scared them off. That was the idea. It does not work out well when the wrong folk show up for these canyon and ridge treks. Great weather... and the Jumbles were far more fun than I recalled. It was a fun day on the mountain... I guess it is time to revisit all of the canyons I have not been to for awhile!
    Beeman Canyon
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    Wow... that was a much different Beeman Canyon experience than my first outing up there! Instead of walking the 5 miles over to the Canyon, I drove over, even driving the dirt track right up and into the drainage. The Jumbles were fun, but seemed to be over way too soon. by the end of the first two hours I was sitting up on top of the waterfall above that fun section. Instead of hiking in on the old Jeep/Atv track, I walked the drainage... much nicer!

    It was just a few minutes of hiking to reach the Forks above the waterfall... and it was nice to find that the North Fork of Beeman was really a better ascent than the main fork... rockier, more closed in. As many times as it appeared to be closing out, it always opened up. It is nice to know it provides a route all the way up and out. The upper end narrows into a narrow V, then climbs up and out through Knee Oak... nicely in fall color right now.

    I topped out in 4 hours, with the hike going at an easy pace... the Jumbles... picture taking.

    The walk along the jeep road down from Winter Peak is not the greatest, but it did not take long, and it was an easy traverse from the meadow up onto the ridge of Horse Ridge for the hike back down the mountain. I chose to follow the Beeman Canyon rock cliff line, just a bit below the peak of the ridge. It made for easy walking and great overviews down into Beeman Canyon. It may add close to a mile of extra walking to loop around those cliffs, but it is well worth it.

    Lunch stop was on the cliff edges looking down on to the Jumbles.

    For some odd reason, I put on my gloves for the first time after packing up lunch... and it proved to be a good idea. Leaving the canyon edge, I climbed back up a very stickery slope and picked up the descent along the ridge line. It was easy going once back on top. In fact, there were remnants of an old path, possibly a horse trail? That continued off and on for the rest of the way down. They descended on the ridge further up into the canyon (probably the better choice) and for some reason cairned and ribboned the route. Now, this is a path along the top of a ridge, ten to fifteen yards wide. How can you get lost?

    Ribbons! :-k !?

    Anyway... down and out. With the long lunch break and the winding route it was 3.5 hours coming down. Nice day out.
    Beeman Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Okay... it's a bit less than 10 hours into my hiking day... I'm sitting here on this rock. Sitting is a good thing. I'm tired and a bit foot sore, and reflecting on just exactly what brought me to be on this particular rock. It is not where I'm supposed to be.

    The first half of the planned day went of without a hitch... I explored and documented Beeman Canyon. It was a very nice drainage... with a really great giant rock section (the Jumble). It was a demanding bit of hiking although my GPS did not think so; it kept logging me out on breaks, thinking that I'd stopped, when in fact I was just going too slow for it to believe I could really be doing any work. Just the opposite; that was the hard work area... slow and go bouldering. It turned out to be a much more spiritual experience than I'd planned, but that is not really a bad thing (... all that blood sacrifice!) I hit the peak feeling pretty good... and then decided to change the planned day. I was supposed to drop off the south side of the peak, traverse the ridge and drop down to cut Lost Trail... following that back home. But, once on top I did not feel like finding a downclimb throught the cliffs, nor did I relish the thought of making my way across the snow covered ridge, much less down the hill over untried ground... it just sounded nicer to hit the trails and make my way home the longer way. So, off I went.

    Now, the one negative aspect of the trail: it heads off in the opposite direction of home... adding 3-6 miles over all to the total. It also dropped down 1600' on the wrong side of the mountain... which all had to be regained, plus more, to loop back over to the homeward side. These thoughts weighed heavy on me as I headed off... and I think they influenced my pattern of not so good decisions from that point onward for the day.

    As I made my way down to Dry Canyon, then hiking up the trail towards Ortega Peak, I kept gazing to the ridge line above me on my right, and noticed what appeared to be a lower cut to the ridge... and it occurred to me that if that cut were as easy to climb as it appears, and crossed the ridge about the right distance north of Ortega Peak, then it could save me 3-4 miles of hiking, and possibly cut off 300-500 feet of climbing... both very appealing. So, off and up I went. It was a fun climb, mostly up a bedrock cut. What I failed to notice, was that the cut curved and angled away from Ortega... slanting back to the north. Now, I did have a GPS unit that with one glance I could have seen the error of my way... but, no... I hiked up and up... and, low and behold, crested the ridge to find myself back up where I had been two hours earlier... that place where I decided I did not want to do the cliff, ridge, snow thing. And now, this late in the day, it was no longer even an option. I needed to get off the mountain before it got dark... so, once again I was trailing down to Dry Canyon!

    And to this rock... 17 miles into my hiking day... maybe a bit over an hour and a half left before sunset... I'm guessing 4 miles of off trail wash will carry me out of the mountains... and unfortunately, all the wrong direction... with, I'm guessing six miles back to the mouth of Beeman Canyon, looping around the foothills. Now, if it were just those ten miles, not all that bad, but the kicker for this day: I did not drive to the trailhead; I hiked that 5.5 miles from my house! So... am I looking at those 4 miles down canyon, six miles around, then 5.5 miles home on already beat up feet?

    Oh well.

    I did get lucky. It was 4 miles down... and I was able to slice the homeward section down to 5 miles.. but, the traverse was only two miles around!

    13 hours... 23 minutes... home at 8:30pm

    I be tired...

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    Directions
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    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    The hike may be accessed off of jeep dirt/gravel tracks, but the safer access would be to park along Scenic Drive, near the large Church on the east side of the street, about 4 miles north of First Street. Follow the drainage north of the church towards the mouth of the canyon to the northeast... or, walk behind the church and connect up with one of the jeep roads headed over there.
    page created by imike on Feb 24 2010 9:57 pm
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