DISTANCE
11.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,854 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

views

no dogs

backpacking
15 days ago

Started in the pretty Dog Canyon campground and went up to Mescalero campground for one night. Very challenging hike. But it’s easier than from pine springs as dog canyon base is 500 feet higher elevation than pine springs.

Make sure you go to the top of lost peak that you pass along the trail. Drop your pack and climb the last 100 feet for fantastic 360 views.

Mescalero campground had a beautiful site facing east that overlooked the canyon and could see Carlsbad city lights in the distance.

We went Labor Day weekend and were the only people at dog canyon campground on Friday night and the only people at the 8 site Mescalero backcountry campground on Saturday night. It was like we reserved the entire park for Labor Day weekend. We finally saw another pair of backpackers on our way down.

It rained both nights on us but after midnight on night one and 10pm on night 2. The lighting display of the storms near the park were spectacular. Clouds Covered the stars for all but about an hour. That hour we spent staring at the Milky Way.

This hike is hard, but doable if you take your time and stop and enjoy the views along the way. About 1/3 of the hike was in the trees/ shade. Temps were comfortable. Chilly at night up top. Tons of wildflowers. Part of the hike is through the remnants of forest fire from 2 years ago. Sad and beautiful at the same time. As for wildlife, we saw a jackrabbit, 3 horny toads, about 5 mule deer and a couple white tail deer.