Dog Canyon Trail


Dog Canyon National Recreation Trail #106 is in the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, about 12 miles south of Alamogordo.  The trail climbs 5.5 miles to Joplin Ridge and a forest road, gaining over 3000 feet, for a shuttle hike.  The trail follows a route used for more than 4000 years.  As late as 1881, the Apaches used the canyon as a stronghold and ambushed the U. S. Cavalry when it reached the “eyebrow” section of the canyon.

The trail climbs 600 feet in the first .6 mile, switch-backing up a steep hillside to reach a plateau that doesn’t last very long.  At 1.9 miles another set of switchbacks starts, rising to another bench.  But, I never made it that far.  Not enough time.  I quit at the 2 1/4 mile marker where there were some boulders to sit, eat lunch, and enjoy the breathtaking views.  (Yes, the hike started way down there on the valley floor.)

A short interpretive trail from the Visitor’s Center leads to a riparian zone where maidenhair ferns grow along Dog Canyon Creek.  A boardwalk above the creek bed provides a good view of the irrigation ditch Lee built to route the water flow.








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