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Scenic Drive - Alamogordo, NM

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Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southeast
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,563 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Accumulated Gain 150 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.5
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
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
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
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Culture Nearby
You Can Get There From Here!
by imike

Alamogordo offers a number of interesting hikes, right from in town. Scenic Drive is the connection to all of those adventures, and includes a number of activities in and to itself. This main arterial roadway loops around the base of the mountains on the eastern side of town. This activities description begins on the far southern end of the road. The mileages measure from there.

Mile 0.0 Take off up Alamo Canyon from Scenic Drive and hit the trailheads for T104, Alamo Canyon; T103, Caballero Canyon; T107, Roundup Grounds... and a variety of side canyon hikes. T104/T103 include potentials to hike all the way to the top of the mountain range (9200') connecting with a number of higher elevation trails like Pipeline (T110) and Atkinson Canyon (T111). Alamo Canyon trail goes right on up to Alamo Peak.

Additionally, at this point you are on the designated community walking trail, complete with mile markers every 1/8th mile. This provides a marked course of one mile on either side of the street.

Mile 0.1 Take off to the east up this dirt track to access the Prominent Point hike, and the connection to RockaChucky Wash... traversing on up to The Mesa. Additionally, the open expanse of desert between the road and the base of the mountains provides a number of tracks to enjoy mountain biking.

Mile 0.7 You are at the AquaDuct and the designated Pedestrian and Bicycle path on either side of the canal. This provides miles of smooth pathway for running and biking, and gives access to both Goat Springs trail and the variety of hikes up in Marble Canyon. As you look to the east you are looking right up into Goat Springs Wash and the dramatic waterfall feature.

Mile 1.0 First Street... head east here and enter Desert Foothills Park. The park itself provides hiking and biking opportunities, and parking for access to both Goat Springs Trail and the Marble Canyon hikes. You additionally will connect with the AquaDuct Pedestrian/Bike path.

Mile 1.6 Tenth Street... turn east towards the mountains and access the trailheads for all of the Marble Canyon Hikes, and the trailhead for the "A" mountain hike to Ortega Peak, Hershberger Peak and beyond. The Official trailhead for Goat Springs Trail also lies up this road.

Mile 2.1 McKinley Street/Thunder Road... turn east here and reach the trailhead for Lost Trail drainage, a great off trail alternative to hike up to Ortega Peak.

Mile 2.9 Indian Wells Road...This is the trailhead for Mineral Springs trail, Little Mineral Springs trail, and a rambling variety of jeep tracks that provide for nice hiking and mountain biking off through the desert scrub. Take Mineral Springs trail all the way up and across to Ortega... though not shown to connect on the map, it does. You can also loop back down on Lost Trail.

Mile 3.1 Space History Museum and Imax Theatre... when you need a break from all that outdoor stuff.

Mile 3.2 Fitness Trail at the University of Southern New Mexico. This is the one feature that lies on the west side of the street... pull into the University parking lot and park or drive down the dirt track on the north end of the lot. Three short hikes, one paved for the handicapped.

Mile 4.2 Plateau Espresso... Nice coffee and pastry shop out on this far east side of town...

Mile 4.8 Wash access for Beeman Canyon... take the wash or the dirt track just past the wash and head on up canyon for a day of bouldering fun. Put out a bit more effort and climb all the way to Winter Peak, where if you're lucky the Hang Gliders will be sailing off the peak. Enjoy a nice connecting loop down and around Dry Canyon, or up and around to Ortega Peak. This area is additionally nice for mountain bike riding.

Scenic Drive is the gateway to all the frontal range hikes in Alamogordo, and additionally provides numerous recreational activities all along it's length. It is also a popular road biking route with overly wide shoulders along most of it's length.


Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2010-02-26 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 of 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    easy, short walk over to old Jeep track and up towards the base of the Point...

    Most of the day spent on the computer... editing photos, planning some longterm efforts, and trying to decide how to close out the year. 2014 was to be about promoting local hiking activity. That has had mixed success. The current Map development may provide an interesting boost to the process, once completed. It will have Waypoint links to HAZ for trail description and pictures... and to Google+ for even more pics.

    This week: more online promotional efforts. Connected with a site that is about New Mexico, on Facebook. Folks post pictures... then and now. 22,000 members. First 24 hours I was online there were over 1,000 different members making comments... various pics I posted were getting 50-180 "Likes"... and generating comments from hikers not aware of all the hiking potentials in Alamo. Oddly, some of those were folks living in Alamo! Most of the members are likely not hikers... so, a very diluted result.

    Probably will close out 2014 with a brief hit of radio and newspaper promotions, then move on to 2015. That year, all promo to be for out of state hikers.

    ...interesting day... interesting year.

    I did decide how to close out this month. Now, to see if I'll get up tomorrow and do it!
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    NMSU Exploratory
    up too late, so grabbed some extra sack time this morning... still made it over to the trailhead on time, but sat there watching listening to very strange "guy"... pushing three carts along Pipeline Track. He'd push the first 100 yds... retreat, push the second up to the first... retreat... push the third up with the first two. Bottom line: for every mile of progress, he logged five miles!

    One of the carts held a small chair... he dislodged the chair, sat... and took in the view of the foothills. Basically, he was doing what I was doing, enjoying the land-escape.

    He was also singing... talking to himself... mumbling and wearing a skirt and blouse, along with a large bra. Okay, he seemed happy. After awhile he diverted off the main track and headed up towards the "A". This raised an interesting issue; was this the hoarder/hobo who had ten thousand items stashed up Short Canyon! In five years of hiking this area I'd never come across anyone up in there; I assumed it was all long abandoned.

    I should have stayed and observed. Instead I took my lack of motivation as an incentive to write out a list of exploratory hikes I still had in the local area. I was very surprised to see the list pass the mid 30's without much thought. Expanding out to the West Side road area the list grew beyond 50... all within easy day hiking from my house. At one per week I have a year or more of new adventures.

    Finally, decided to drive up the hill and hike in the cool. I needed GPS tracks for a couple of the Rails to Trails routes recently re-routed. Truck made an odd sound driving cross town so I diverted over to MNSU, recalling spotting an interesting potential heading out from the rear of the University (noticed it from atop the Garden Wall).
    I parked at the "Road Closed" sign and proceeded up the old jeep track. Nice... wound around and up eventually following a ridge splitting MNSU Cut... then climbing very steeply up to the Garden Wall. I followed the right cut, the left hand looked to be "Less than"... and more of a ridge hike.

    On top the Wall, I headed west thinking to loop down that other fork, but once around to the top of that cut I noticed a much more interesting drainage; I opted to descend it.

    It was exceptional, save for some idiotic flagging marking the canyon every 30 feet. I cannot figure what someone is thinking to mark the bottom of a canyon cut. Marking exit points makes sense... flagging 30' intervals when ranging across or along ridges can make some sense. Marking or cairning the bottom of a canyon??? How can you get lost in the bottom of a drainage!!?

    Other than that, this was one sweet little canyon; a great Beginner's cut...

    It included a double drop dryfall about quarter mile before the mouth of the canyon with an old track leading off on the north side ridge, running over to yet another jeep track I'd not been aware of. The Jeep track would around and down, and around and up. It ended up hitting Scenic directly across from the Hospital... which conveniently would connect up with the NMSU walking trail on the west side of Scenic. So: Scenic Canyon and Scenic Ridge Track... combined with the MNSU Cut track, a great moderate looping hike, with the augment of connecting up with the Garden Wall.


    Hard to believe that these exploratories can continue to yield such great routes.
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    Rain... Biking, hiking and photo editing: Finally! 1000 pics backlogged. Sort of got them edited... now, need to organize and back them up! One of them might be ideal for a new Avatar...limp along, crutch and all...

    ...guess I should add a few more pics to this to give a hint about the hikes so far this year
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    Time to get back on the bike ('s been two years!). Picking up a cheap fixie to augment the quality of the outings.

    600 hiking pictures behind on my photo editing! Need a new computer... Chromebook has appeal but it appears that it does not have Picasa!???? Weird. It may also lack the capacity to use my Cricket USB modem? Guess I'll ride the bike to the store with the modem, plug it in and see.

    Shaved head today as part of training progression; moving along.
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    just Terri and one other hiker for the Friday outing, so we got to add in some exploratory and an additional loop... then, up the "A"... and some trail work. I may have the bottom 1.3 miles finished by the end of next week! Then, move the tools to the peak and work my way back down the top couple of miles!

    Bunch of high school students training on the trail? Odd.

    I guess this end the first week of February... and I should have checked on my AEG more carefully... think I may be a bit low... slightly off target for the week. Maybe I'll revise my goal for the month and make each week progressive? Might be more fun... so, next week: 5K per day?
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    ...thought I should kick the year off we at least a token bike ride... hoping to make it more of a daily thing as the weeks pass. 2011/2012 I used bikes exclusively... since July 2012 I've only hopped on the bike one time!!

    Did discover that what I've thought of as my best day ever hiking for AEG: 18,600'... may have really been 19,800'... just 200'shy of my desired 20,000' day! If I'd only known! I could have gotten all this AEG foolishness out of my system way back then... now, I have to train all the way back up (by March 2014???) to give the 20K AEG day another run.

    Likely it will be a fun but failed training effort...

    It stays interesting.

    2014... running out ahead, full of potentials!
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    easy outing just to stretch my legs. I was a little beat up from the last couple of days, and tomorrow is supposed to be my first long day of the year (...late start!) If I'm lucky I'll hit 6,000' AEG... not much by previous standards, but a necessary start if I am to move up and beyond.

    I'd planned to document 100 new hikes in 2013, but missing out on so many months cut that figure way down... I think I hit 60 new route descriptions? This last two months have been filled with great outings; many exploratory hikes... numerous revisitings that refined my memory of the areas. Nice to discover that in most cases the canyons and ridges all proved better than I remembered!

    With our startup of the site, Alamogordo Trails, we have upped the emphasis on local hikes. New hikers are showing up. 2014 may be a very interesting year.

    Terri's Friday hiking group continues to slowly blend into our activity; great to see those 70+ year olds hitting these more difficult routes. Then again. Last week... 75 year old took a spill... broke her leg! My fault?

    Now, if I can just gear up a bit of biking to add into the mix!

    Great Year... Better to come.
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    Marble Canyon/ N3: Ridge Canyon/ N5 Waterfall/ N2 Upper/ T119 / Scenic Drive…

    I was scheduled for a training day… start early… go long.

    The other two hikers backed out. I stayed up too late. Seemed to be ideal to put this too hard day off for a few more weeks. After very brief consideration I’d made the mental adjustment from training/hard work over to playing/slow pace.

    N3... Ridge Canyon.

    I’d missed my Monday Marble Canyon hit… substituted a group hike up Ortega South by request. I could catch back up by checking out this odd cut in the North Marble drainage. I figured it would be a big nothing; getting it off the list would give me an easy outing and allow me to check this little canyon off the list.

    Further… since folks have signed up for my next Monday Marble up N2 I could loop over and drop a rope over the edge of the terminal waterfall. That would set us up to finally scale that obstacle.

    Sounded like a plan…

    As an augment to make up for some of the missing miles… I decide to pretend I was back in better shape and walk over to the hike… and walk home. That would add 5-6 miles to the day.

    Late start, but eventually packed and off. I’d blended up blueberries, apples and banana… nice quart of fresh energy. I grabbed a couple of thermos bottles of chocolate milk. 75 oz fluid for this shorter, cold day. Sounded about right.

    Before I’d made it to the canyon I’d already had to stop and hack off the sleeves of my sweat shirt… just too hot! (50 degree high for the day!)

    Once in Marble Canyon it felt good from the getgo…

    Rewarded with Mountain Goats in the clefts above the Quarry! Unfortunately, my camera could not really capture the moment… need better zoom!

    I worked up and around into the north cuts. I recalled that all three (N1, N2, N3) kicked off about the same spot; N2 being the main drain, the other two draining smaller areas? Oddly, I passed what appeared to be yet another cut that flowed off the same ridge as N3... Were there two ridge canyons?

    N3, my canyon of the day, headed off where I thought it should… and interestingly steeply… it held in that vein. Effectively, this was either a tilted slab or small falls, with a bit of overgrowth. I went slow, cleared the route, and totally enjoyed every moment of this miniature cut. It just might become one of my favorites for a solo morning out. Steep!!

    Near the top I drifted over and out… and sure enough there was a second “ditch” running down the ridge further south. The lower cut must have been the mouth of this second ridge canyon. It does not appear to have the potential of the little gem I enjoyed, but I guess it has to go on to the Monday schedule to be fully checked out… N4!

    While I was wandering around I drifted over to overlook N5... And found its huge waterfall, dividing the canyon into upper and lower sections like N2. I did not spot any way up or down… 80-100’ ?… but that would be for another day.

    Heading up and across to the north I made my way to upper N2... Finding an old two radio, commercial quality… Forest Service?…along the way.

    …and dropped into the canyon bottom above its waterfall. I hiked down to the edge of the drop… looked over… and realized:

    I need more rope!

    My memory of this grotto falls: 16’ to 20’? I was carrying a lighter rope. I’d doubled it… with interval knots… reducing it to 50’? Fighting a stiff up canyon wind, I finally got it over the falls… and from what I can tell, if did not reach the bottom! I guess we’ll find out on Monday. 50’!!! I can’t see how it could be that high.

    The Monday exploratory hike was to scale this falls… then check out this upper portion of canyon I’d never hiked. Three people signed up for this outing? I’m not sure why. The lower section is great… the upper? So… instead of heading back down Ridge Canyon, I decided to see what was at the top of N2.

    Nasty… Prickly… Overgrown…

    No good reason to hike that portion of the canyon… except to confirm what is there. Now I know. Monday, if we make it up the Falls (50’!!), we’ll divert down and skip the upper mess that is N2.

    Ran out of fluids around noon… fortunately potholes in the bedrock had recently been filled with melted snow! Augmented with 40 ounces.

    So… 12.8 miles… 2500’ of difficult ascent. 9.5 hours out… turns out it was a training day after all!
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    A planned exploratory up to the top of the Steamboat formation got re-routed because of rain... we hiked up Alamo Canyon but instead of heading up Deadman for the planned hike, we stayed in the easier route, hoping for a change in the weather. Heading up Caballero the drizzle persisted, so detoured into Caballero North, then made an exploratory left turn up into Hell Hole Canyon. I've intended to check this one out for years. Today would be the day.

    Expectations were high. Overshadowed by the dramatic ridge of Devils Backbone I had visions of bedrock cliffs and falls. What we got instead: easy walking gravel. At the entry there was some nice strata, but for the most part the sidewalls were 30-50' tall sedimentary deposits... precarious piles of impending dirt and gravel. Finally, we scored a great section of sculptured, multi-tiered falls... a section good enough to make the canyon worth the effort.

    Choosing the split closest to towards the backbone, we exited the bottom of the canyon and worked our way up a steep side ridge, to the base of the backbone formation... then began the tedious process of finding a slot that would let us ascend. Close, but no exit... the wet/muddy rock was a bit too challenging. I'd spotted an access point at the far end of the backbone from down lower, so we made our way across and up, ascending the old tailings pile from the abandoned copper mine. That put us on to Hell Hole Trail, and into deep mud! Soon we were on to "A" trail and out of the mud... and to a touch of sunlight for our meal of the day. Down "A"... checking out a portion of the new Ortega Peak trail... then, the long trudge through town back to our cars... even diverted to city streets; Yubao's boots had killed the bottom of his feet; pavement felt better than dirt!?

    So, not the exploratory Hike I had planned... but very nice day on the trail. I need to go back when it is dry and check out the other forks, maybe find a route up to Hershberger Peak?
    Scenic Drive - Alamogordo
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    Too much snow on the upper ridges forced us to drop down on the far side of the mountain and hike the longer loop around... shades of a couple years ago without the added second mountain hike. This ridge is a great winter hike, and I found the bottom of the horse pack trail, so the lower portion is much easier.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Scenic Drive is reached in Alamogordo by traveling east on any of the main roadway arteries... particularly First Street, Tenth Street or Indian Wells Road. It also loops around and connects with White Sands blvd on it's far northern end.
    page created by imike on Feb 25 2010 2:26 pm
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