Save This Hike for Later!
Okay, this is an official National Forest Service trail...#219 as noted. "Why" is the question! This half mile road down onto the ridge above Hells Hole Canyon is the route to the old mine, and for some unknown reason has been bulldozed out again over the last year or so, making it a gaping and raw cut down the hillside. Perhaps they were dredging for dirt to fill the old mine; I do not know, but it is an insult to the area, and given that the start of the trail is tucked away from any reasonable starting point, and then goes to nowhere worth going to, it becomes questionable what the forest service was thinking. They should have rocked and bermed the accesses to keep ATV's out, and chopped the grade up in a fashion that would encourage regrowth of some of the native plants over time.
The local hiking guide does not address these issues; it focuses on the simple issue of the views to be had once down to the ridge line, labeling them the best to be found in the entire area. That statement is what eventually got me to head on down the hill, and I have to admit there is something outstanding about the vista. You look out over Hells Hole and up at Hershberger Peak and it is impressive. There is also a very odd greenish hue to the entire setting making it somewhat other worldly.
So, while the official trailhead is noted where the forest service started this spur, for any practical application you will need to hike either Dry Canyon trail or "A" trail to access that point. If you really just want to see this trail, drive west side road out of Highrolls to the upper end of "A" trail (#119) and walk in the three tenths of a mile to the trail junction with T5574 (Dry Canyon) heading off north, and T219 heading off to the south.
If you'd like to hike from Alamogordo, take "A" (#119) trail up to Ortega Peak, then over to Hershberger Peak, and as you descend east, you'll hit that same intersection with T5574 and T219... at about five miles. This route has the advantage of having the over 3,000' of climbing up "A" trail and will make the day worth doing.
If you are feeling adventurous and would like to have a great off trail experience, hike on past the end of trail sign on #219, over to the old mine works, and drop into the washed out drainage heading down to Caballero Canyon. Make your day into a nice looping event back to town. This Caballero/Hershberger Traverse route in the drainage to the east of Hells Canyon drainage is a gem of a hike.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.