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Marble Canyon - North - North Spur, NM

Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.5 of 5 
no permit
213 17 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,620 feet
Elevation Gain 1,510 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,550 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.25
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
26  2017-10-14 imike
30  2013-12-19 Jim_H
31  2013-12-16 imike
32  2013-12-14
Ridge Canyon (N3)
18  2013-12-14 imike
33  2013-12-02
Marble Canyon North N1 - Grotto Canyon
13  2013-11-08 imike
30  2010-03-02 imike
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 71 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:51am - 6:02pm
0 Alternative

Slab Up!
by imike

HAZ Patch
These Marble Canyon Drainages just continue to provide great entertainment. Each drainage cut is distinctively different. While the two main south branches offer some of the greatest vistas and outright drama, these northern cuts manage to hold their own. The main branch of the north cut is slow to start, forcing you to push on up until the fun begins. This spur off of that branch does not wait so long to provide you with both interesting surrounding rock formations and a pleasant blend of rock scrambling and tilted slab walking. If one characteristic stands out for this canyon it is the bedrock slabs that provide a clear walkway for much of the miles up the cut. These are tilted slabs... often so steep as to have you touching the slab in front of your face as you lean into the grade. Blend that slab feature with a few bits of minor bouldering and you have a canyon with just a moderate level of difficulty, shorter mileages, and a closed in... away from it all feel.

The canyon effectively terminates at a multi-tiered waterfall formation a bit over 6100' in elevation. You get to work your way up and over some blockages, around some overhang falls, then up the final steep slabs... under a fallen rock tunnel, to a grotto'd chimney fall. This final enclosure narrows to just a few feet, leaving a very climbable chimney feature if you care to work your way on out of the canyon and up to Trail 119 for a looping hike, but the scenery will stay much nicer if instead you simply return the way you came. Those slabs are just as much fun on the way back down.

If you intend to climb out, you should have 30' of rope to allow you to pull your pack up behind you after you enjoy the short chimney.

With this great upper feature, this is a perfect short day outing up and back... soak in the sun on the numerous rock slabs and enjoy the sense of being off and away...

This is all off trail... so, rocks are not stabilized. Be aware and be careful.

This spur: walk up into Marble Canyon taking the north branch, left cut(just past the old rock quarry on your left) and then turn left again up into the first canyon drainage. This will be a bit over a mile in from the canyon mouth. Stay in the main drainage. There is another large canyon section coming into this one, again from the north, but you want to stay with the obvious larger area for this hike...

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2010-03-02 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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To canyon trip
    In Alamogordo, follow 10th Street to it's far eastern end and park at the small city park next to the Fire Station. Head south and east over to the mouth of Marble Canyon...
    page created by imike on Mar 02 2010 5:03 pm
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