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The Best Hikes in Southeast

1,913 Triplog Reviews in the Southeast
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11.91 mi • 1,543 ft aeg
Willie White Willis Canyon Loop
 On our second day in Cloudcroft we headed down the Sun Spot Highway past Uranus (see photos) and took the Rio Penasco Road to Bluff Spring. The Willie White Trail Head is about a half mile past the spring or you can take the Willie White Spur Trail that starts at the spring. This loop hike is along old logging rails that traverse the ridge between Rio Penasco and Wills canyons.

We did the hike in a CCW direction along the Willie White then Wills Canyon in the CCW direction. the majority of the climb is on the way in and downhill on the way back. The Willie White Trail has a gradual climb the whole way with it being a little steeper as you approach the summit but nothing what I would call steep. Very scenic hike up Willie White Creek from its start at the Rio Penasco to the summit on the crest of the ridge. The Willie White and the Wills Canyon Trail junction is on the crest of the ridge. The Willie White Trail continues on down Telephone Canyon to the Waters Canyon Road to its western trail Head, we didn’t do that portion. The Wills Canyon Trail heads down the ridge toward Hubbell and Wills Canyons which is at 1.25 miles. It is little bit steep and rocky along this section of the trail making the going a little slower. There were at least two springs along this section with a light flow. At the junction of the Hubbell and Wills Canyons the Upper Wills Canyon Trail heads off to the west and the Wills Canyon Trail heads east at a fairly level rate and makes its way along the side of the ridge to connect back up with the Willie White Trail. Nice views over Wills Canyon along this trail but they are limited by the trees.

I thought this was a very nice trail that typifies the forest around Cloudcroft, Pine fir forest with lush green meadows along the creeks. The grasses are nicely manicured by the elk and deer. I believe from the amount of elk I have seen around Cloudcroft that the elk population in this forest is over populated. I’m not an expert on this though. We didn’t see any elk along this hike but it was mid day, to see more wildlife it is best early morning late afternoon. On the drive in for this hike we believe we saw a wolf along the Rio Penasco Road, was too big for a coyote and had a lot more fir. On a side note Ginny and I saw a Young Mountain Lion near my house in vail, probably coming in to the area to get easy picking breakfast, cats and small dogs.
6.67 mi • 758 ft aeg
Lucas Canyon Trail
 On our way back to Lubbock Texas we stopped off in Cloudcroft to get in a little hiking. After dropping our stuff off at the cabin we headed down the Sun Spot Highway to Forest service road 223 and the Lucas Canyon Trail. FSR 223 is in good condition and the Lucas Canyon Trail Head is marked. The route I downloaded does not exactly follow the trail and the trail head is .5 miles further down FSR223 than the route shows. It was close enough to get me in the vicinity. The trail, like many of the trails in this area is actually along an old logging road/rail. We hiked in 3.3 miles of the 4.8 mile trail before turning around and heading back.

Even though this is a hike along a road that is in places very rocky it is a very pleasant hike through a pine fir forest with grassy meadows in the creek. I am always impressed with the forest around Cloudcroft. We didn’t see much wildlife on the hike in but on the return trip it was getting close to sunset and the deer and the elk were out and about. Also spotted some turkey which was fortunate for us (and the turkeys, we weren’t hunting) because it is turkey season and the hunters were out. Lucas Canyon was dry with a few wet spots. At about 3 miles in there was a spring and it had a light flow, not sure if the creek was flowing below that spring as the trail is about 100 feet above the creek on the east side and we turned around just after it. We will have to finish the lower mile of the trail on another trip to Cloudcroft. The weather was perfect for hiking in the mid 60’s for a high. A bit windy the two days we were here but as long as you weren’t on the ridges it wasn’t bad.
3 mi • 343 ft aeg
Carlsbad Caverns Guano Road Trail
 Spent a couple of days in Lubbock Texas, It has been a long time since I saw so much flat. On my way back from Texas I thought I would break the drive up by staying the night in Whites City near Carlsbad Caverns. I decided to do a short walk before retiring to the hotel and chose the Old Guano Road Trail. Ate dinner at the only restaurant in town before the hike because it closes at 7. From the Caverns Parking lot took the nature trail to the Guano Trail and headed in about 1.5 miles to just when the sun was starting to set. If I planned it right the bats would be flying out just as I got back to the cavern.
The Nature trail from the parking lot is paved for about the first half mile to the Guano Trail. There are informational signs along the way that give information of the variety of plants in this portion of the Chihuahuan desert. The pavement ends at the Guano trail. A couple hundred yards in on the trail is a man made shaft that goes down into the caverns below and at one time was used to extract bat guano from the cave. It is fenced off now but when the wind is blowing you can smell the caverns (If you have ever been in the caverns near the entrance you know the smell I'm talking about). I continued along the trail for about a mile as it follows the ridge, if you continue along this trail it will head down toward Whites City. The wind was blowing really hard on this hike and the visibility over the desert below was pretty much non existent. The hike in with the wind at my back was fairly easy but on the way back even though the trail is fairly level felt like an uphill climb. Keeping your hat on or taking a leak were near impossible if not comical. Made it back to the caverns in time to see the bats but the show was not very good, I've seen more bats come out of the 22nd street Pantano bridge in Tucson. They probably thought it was too windy and decided to eat in. I did see some Barbary Sheep while in the park, they look a lot like bighorns except the horns are not curved as much. These animals are not native to this area and were brought in by I believe the ranchers years ago. Will have to finish this hike on another trip. Good hike for a shuttle, have someone drop you off below and hike the 3.5 miles or so and meet them at the caverns.
7.3 mi • 2,700 ft aeg
 My fifth time up Bishop's Cap... but today was out first group hike. I limited the attendance to Eleven... and that was likely too many to keep together up this very difficult, hyper steep Spur Canyon. Four hikers turned back at the mouth of the canyon; the group size from there on up was about right.

My exploratory outing back earlier this year included a heavy pack (over 50#) and a bike ride out to the park. Today was much nicer. Approach to the canyon was 1.5 hours... that day 2 hours. Scrambling with a lighter pack: much easier! Interestingly, the small wall further up where I left an assist rope hanging proved about as difficult... the rope was needed. Jason did spot a second ascent with good footing... but a bit too exposed for most folks to enjoy.

Everyone agreed that this hike has the most scrambling of any of our southern NM hikes... up or down... no level areas! Just pure fun! Down and out around 2:30pm with a 7:30am start and easier pace. Slower would have been better... lots to appreciate up this demanding canyon. The one monster dryfall in the lower section still goes unclimbed. 170' fall lacks appeal. We may go in and set safeties to allow a day of near vertical scrambling in our 2018 Adventure Series? Not sure there is any interest...

Overall... great day out!
6 mi • 2,600 ft aeg
 Fifth trip up the hill to work on retrieving the Monster Crystal... Alas, once the Travois was constructed and the rock mounted... I needed a bigger Mule! So... Crystal Rock: Four... Hounders: One! I have a few more ideas... and in the end... might break it in two!? At 70-90 pounds each, that will still be a load, but within range of what is possible with a frame pack... down hill!

At least scoring good Rock Hounding on the 2500' climb!
4.8 mi • 1,700 ft aeg
 Energy off at beginning of day, so ran some errands and did bike ride in hopes of improvement. alas... still felt off at beginning of hike. Given this was to be a "training" hike, I opted to load up the pack and go slow with heavy effort. I was to have gone long. So, 50+ up the hill, and a steep hill it is. 65+ down the hill (oft loaded the tools and filled the pack with rocks!) Started the day with over 20# of drinks... left a number up the hill for future hikes.

May have had a low grade fever? Was sweating even hiking down the hill. Now, home... feel as if I did at least score enough of a workout to maintain in not improve conditioning.

Motivation was low!
5 mi • 1,700 ft aeg
 Bit of a misunderstanding for our hike... Scheduled: Good Canyon Exploratory. Luster had a specific canyon near Womack Mines in mind... as good canyons! So, we shifted (Good has waited six years... it will still be there) and dropped into a ridge cut east of Womack immediately below West Side Road. Traversing over one cut, we passed up some exceptional rock and proceeded to drop down the drainage. I was thinking this might be the east split off the old Caballero Traverse; I'd never hiked that cut... might be nice to get it off the to-do list.

Turns out this Cut dropped directly into North Caballero... nicely. Which would mean the one we crossed would also flow into same.

We hiked the old waterpipe road around and down, eventually dropping back into the big canyon. We turned up my old Traverse route (soon to be renamed Womack Cut) and proceeded up to the Mine. Lots of interesting color... lots of too warm weather (what is with that!) Topping out at the old Mine works we spent time exploring the old tailings, both east and west side.

The goal today on this loop: check out the rock ridge above the line of rocks holding the many shafts to the east. So... climbed the Hell Hole road to a high point then headed cross the ridge... and scored a fairly easy route that carried us across... to discover more shafts, but not developed all that much. One more check of this area to document all of the existing mines should close out the exploring in this area... although there remain 3-4 cuts to check below the mines.

Scored really nice crystal copper flow stone(?)... Did not look the same at home! What is with that... need to post it online and see if folks can identify...

Other than the warm... great hike!
16 mi • 5,600 ft aeg
 Sort of back on track with the Progressive Training Series. I failed to adjust start time for time change, so ended up cutting day a bit short. Energy was off. Legs were on and off... tired? Interesting tumble! Hauled a small amount of rock, but brought the heavy shovel down. Enjoyed Hot Turkey Posole!

Now... need to decide just where to take this. I'll score the 9,000' day by end of year; should not be a problem. Beyond that, structure to just maintain or add some strength and speed? Or... do stupid and make a run for some new record? too old, but interesting to think about.
7 mi • 1,200 ft aeg
 Seven hikers signed up for a Monday Hike!? But as is typical for Meetup hikes... two no-shows. One cancelled after finally getting around to reading the description! The one new hiker had asked questions before the day; she knew what to expect. Ross, Mary, Darrel rounded out the usual.

The plan was to enjoy an easier day with some play checking out the P1 Dryfall... with the possibility of adding it into our routing. Dangerous... so how much safety would be needed? We hiked up Alamo Canyon to Arch... up Arch to Roundup Cliffs trail. Followed that trail around to new Picnic Traverse... down and into the Picnics. From there, we ascended to the P3 dryfall (another future climb?) and up the P3 Forks to top of Dark Cliffs. Easy walk across to the top of P1 Falls. Once there, the group headed up to check out possible routes to P2. I unpacked an overly heavy pack of climbing gear.

Most of the next hour was spent setting up way too much safety. I anchored a double rope static line for Rappeling down to the bottom. I set two hand lines for possible aids if needed on the climbing up. Instead of a belay, the hand lines had interim loops for clipping into... self rescue? Turns out that was way too much. If I had been solo I'd likely have simply dropped one hand line over, downclimbed using that... and then had it for the clip in safety for the climb back up.

As it was, the climb was made more difficult with so much rope! And, once the group was back, no one was interested in going over the edge to get down to the climb. Next time, single rope safety, ideally set with a pull rope from the bottom?

We exited down the West Cut... and enjoyed some intermittent shade in the bottom of Alamo as we walked out.

Part of the reason for adding in P1 Dryfall routing: Spring 2018 Adventure hikes... routes that include rope work to complete. That Series will conclude with the exceptional Dog Narrows... but I need 2-3 additional hikes to get everyone used to minor rope work. We are not climbers... makes it a bit awkward.

Good Day!
8 mi • 2,750 ft aeg
 Continuing our Series of Holiday Canyon hikes, today: P5... first time to take a group up this very nice cut. Sort of. After last years huge group doing P4 and it proving far more difficult than folks expected, this year only one couple showed up! The Thornsberrys were the only hikers... and that made for a much nicer day.

They had yet to hike Arch Canyon, so we tagged that on to the day, along with the trek along the RoundUp Cliffs trail and the new Picnic Traverse. Once into the Picnics, up to the dramatic P3 Falls and then up the new Forks route.

We enjoyed an easier pace up P3... into P4/P5... then up the P5 Cut. Jason put his drone into use for a bit different perspective photo shoot... which was good given I'd left my camera hanging on my bike back at the trailhead!

Out of P5... around and across P4... and dropping into P3 for our down and out. P3's exceptional tilted bedrock may have been the highlight of the day. Down to the Dark Cliffs we wrapped around to the P1 Falls to check out the climbing potentials (heading back up on Monday to play with that) then I showed them the West Cut alternative to drop into the bottom of Alamo Canyon.

Warmer day, but low sun angle allowed us a mostly shady hike down and out of the canyon. I enjoyed this group hike; nice to not have a real group!

Oddly enough... camera still at bike!! All in all, great day out!

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