The Stunning Sacramento Mountains viewed from "dog canyon" trail

There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines “it was uphill both ways”. A jaunt along the 85 mile (137 km) Sacramento Mountain Range might give you very much this impression. These voluptuous creations rise with striking abruptness out of the Tularosa Basin just east of Alamogordo and provide sheer sides of uphill and stunning views of the valley and White Sands Monument. We’d been basking in their shadow ever since we arrived at Oliver Lee State Park and finally decided to bite the bullet and take the “dog canyon” hike (with pooch in tow naturally), a friendly ~5 mile one-way hike (yes, that would make it 10 miles round-trip for those of mathematical inclination) with an inviting 3,100 feet of uphill. Just a little walk in the park, after all…

On the trail, alone as usual

And yeah it was mostly uphill, both ways. But it was also gorgeous, deserted and took us through a natural storytale from the Chihuahuan desert to grassland and piñon-juniper woodland. The beautiful thing about a hike like this is that it eliminates almost all hikers up-front. I have a theory which I loosely name the inverse square law of hiking, whereby the number of hikers you come across drops with a natural inverse-square law the further you go on a trail. It’s an amazing, but true natural phenomenon and the very reason we’re almost always alone on our trails.

So, we set out bright and early, loaded with half our bodyweight in water and braved the climb. It’s hard to capture the vastness of the experience in pictures or words, but many views are the type that take your breath away. And we did make it, mostly. Pooch had a rather easier time of it having a natural-born 4-paw-drive steering system and seemingly endless positive energy of supply. Our clumsy 2-foot system was rather less efficient, but managed nonetheless. Suffice to say the walk was wonderful and brunch thereafter rather exquisite. A lovely walk in the park, indeed!

The road into Oliver Lee State Park

Another lovely sunset from the RV

A view to take your breath away

A happy Paul poses at a plateau on ~mile 3 of the hike

12 Responses to A Walk in the Park – Sacramento Mountains, NM

  1. jjcruisers says:

    We live in New Mexico and are enjoying seeing the state through your eyes. We haven’t been to Bottomless Lakes or Oliver Lee but your photos have put these parks on our list. Thanks.

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy I’m giving you some new ideas for spots to try.
      I have to admit we’re really enjoying NM…so much stuff to see here!
      Nina

  2. Brent says:

    We missed this hike due to dust storms but definitely want to go back to it. Looks great!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I believe it!Those dust storms can be crazy!! We were lucky to have a few mornings of calm, but most of our afternoons were totally blown out :)
      Nina

  3. Sue Malone says:

    Looks like a wonderful hike, although Mo and I are starting to think that 6 or 7 miles round trip is our limit now. It would have to be truly spectacular for us to do more, say maybe the Sierra Crest or the Rockies or something? Glad to see the hike, though, and who knows….

    • libertatemamo says:

      The mountains are great for big hikes. Some of my favorite memories are hiking in the Sierra’s in CA.
      Something else for sure!
      Nina

  4. jil mohr says:

    you guys must be in great shape….wish I were ;-)

  5. […] Boondocking ← A Walk in the Park – Sacramento Mountains, NM […]

  6. […] Abounds: New Mexico has much more variation and beauty than we every originally expected. From glorious mountains to high-desert plains, sand dunes, rocks, forests, lakes, ghost towns and ancient pueblos […]

  7. Jesse Morrison says:

    Makes me homesick. I was stationed at Holloman from 1981 to 1985 and really loved the area.

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