Dog Canyon is a 10.2 mile out and back trail located near Alamogordo, NM and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from September until May.
Trail was fairly challenging. The elbow can make you a little nervous. So if you think the first mile is tough be sure to turn around before the elbow. Did the whole trail + went to the high peak for an overlook of white sands in 9 hours. Start early, bring lots of water, food, and I recommend walking sticks. Loved this trail!
Amazing view. Decently challenging if you all the way up then down. We didn't see wildlife other than a hummingbird and some lizards. Lots of mule deer skat though. We did come across cougar and coyote skat as well. Will be coming back guaranteed.
Okay, I did it a bit differently. I mountain biked from Sunspot down to Dog Canyon. Like other reviews, the views are beautiful and bring plenty of water. The hike or bike will take on much more meaning if you read some of the history of the canyon beforehand to include Apache and Calvary chases, Old Frenchy and such. Keep your eyes out for mule deer above you and rattlesnakes below your feet. Be ready for large temperature changes going up or down!
Very beautiful hiking! We left at 9h30 on a fresh sunny day of january 31st. Coming from France we loved hiking among cactus, yuccas and massive cliffs. The only disappointment is there was no water in the canyon at that dry period so we missed the waterfalls. Tough luck! We extended our trail up to Joplin Ridge at 7700ft for an extra 45 minutes walking out and back but offering us a magnificent view on the plain from Orogrande to Tularosa via White Sands. Splendid landscape! We made that trail in 5h30 but running on the way back.
I loved this hike. One of the best day hikes I've done. Incredible scenery both in the canyon and out across the Basin. Views for miles. The canyon walls are stunning in their color and size. Love how the hike crosses different landscapes (including meadows) and you end up on top of the canyon walls. It's tough, they're not joking when they say 3000 feet up, but anyone with decent fitness should be OK. Recommend doing it in winter (it was actually cold at the top) if there is little snow on the ground. The last 2 miles is the really steep stuff but the track is in good condition. Brilliant place to explore.
great location and beautiful landscape
This trail almost killed me...but it was mostly my fault (and I'll be doing it again) The first part is a series of switchbacks up the side of the 1st plateau. Not really difficult, just uphill & no shade. Great views of the canyon to your left. As you round the last corner, you can get a fantastic view of the whole desert & White Sands behind you. The top of the 1st plateau is flat hiking through scrub. Tons of cicadas here serenading you. You end up hiking along the edge of the canyon & the trail starts to wind & undulate a bit more. There is only one area with some shade & stone bench for miles, take advantage. The trail eventually starts winding up the 2nd plateau, again you have great views of the canyons & trail behind you. About 3/4ths of the way up there is a large overhang to the left, with a nice shaded hollow. Perfect place to rest, drink & snack. From here you get an amazing view of where you started. Gives a sense of desolation & grandeur. Once you get to the top of the 2nd plateau, the whole topography changes. It really took my breath away the 1st time. You are now in a grassy meadow with bushes & scattered trees. The canyon walls tower over 1,000 ft on each side. Amazing after such barren hiking. There is a large boulder @ the edge of the canyon I climbed for a photo op & some shaded logs to sit on too. From here the trail starts down into the canyon. It's pretty short. At the bottom there is a barely there stream but lots of shade, trees & areas to camp out. There is also 3 rubble walls that used to be the line cabin. REST, EAT & HYDRATE! The last section will rise over 1,000 ft in about 1/8th of a mile. Once again, amazing views, but the hiking is strenuous. You are now going up the opposite side of the canyon. There is a cool section where water sometimes cascades down. You start winding around the sheer face of the canyon, there is no shade & the trail is narrow & drops off so watch your footing. Eventually you will level off into sunspot, where you can continue on to the road. The way back is what almost did me in. I'm in excellent shape & had maintained a fast pace & only rested for 15 minutes...it was also in June. My legs cramped & the heat was oppressive. Through sheer grit & determination, I made it back. Bring lots of water (3L is barely enough), take periodic breaks & I would rest for at least 30-45 min @ the line cabin.
We only ended up going about 2.5 miles in (stopped at the rest bench) due to some time constraints we were on, but it was a pretty easy hike. Maybe the altitude difference from Colorado helped us, but the views were great. We saw a bunch of quail on the sides of the trail, but no rattlesnake (we were hoping to see at least one) We really enjoyed it and hope to come back to do the whole thing! We only saw one other person that ran past us in the opposite direction. Very peaceful hike.
Good Trail. The first part of the trail is relatively easy. Very little cover so wear sunscreen. Once you get to the old cabin, that's a good turn around point. If you go on, you'll be hiking on a single track along a cliff with a very steep incline for another 1400 feet or so. Bring a ton of water and watch out for rattlesnakes. We came across one right on the trail about a mile in.
This is a great trail. Water is a definite on this trail. If you hike it during the hot days, look for the large rock at the 2.5 mile marker. Before afternoon, it is a shady, cool place to rest out of the sun. After the 3 mile marker, the trail is quite narrow and somewhat steep. There are rattlesnakes here, came across a black-tailed rattlesnake, luckily they are not as aggressive as some of their diamondback cousins, so even though he was right next to the trail, where my kids were walking, he gave a stern warning without striking. We took this trail during the dry season, so there was little water in the stream, but the terrain was quite interesting nonetheless.
It was a great hike just make sure to bring lots of water if your doing the full nine miles.
We did this hike in June it was a little warmer then what we wanted but it was still nice hike back to where the waterfall was.
I loved this hike! It was absolutely beautiful. Definitely not a gentle warm-up approach as Cliff said, but it does get a little easier as you progress. The trail is very well maintained but good shoes are a must. Water too!
A beautiful desert hike with great views of the canyon and of the Tularosa basin. The first half mile is steep and rocky and there is no gentle warm-up approach. The trail then becomes more gentle to the line cabin at about 2.5 miles. We turned back here, but the trail continues up the canyon for several more miles. According to the trail guide provided by the State Park office, after the cabin there is another 1000 ft. climb within less than a mile.
Nice hike! We did this with our two son's and four dogs. Started at 0730, the first half of the trail was mostly shaded but the sun was out in on the way back so there wasn't much shade. A lot of loose rocks on the trail, wear good shoes. If you are crazy like us and do the hike on 1 September, bring a lot of water and start early. I recommend heading out at 0600.
Started the trail behind the ranger's station in Oliver Lee State Park. One of the most diverse hikes I've ever done. A lot of different terrain. As we were about to the end of the hike...a storm moved in and we saw sand storm at White Sands and thunder clouds moving in as well as a hale storm This hike took place April 2012