Lost Dog Canyon Trail
- Scenic Beauty: 3.85
- Difficulty: 4.5
- Steepness: 4.25
- Technicality: 4.5
- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Water: No
J ust south of Alamogordo NM is Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and behind the office is one nasty trail. It’s name is Lost Dog Canyon.
Here’s the funny thing, at most trailheads you can’t go 10 feet without tripping over a sign about DANGER. Most go a little overboard probably due to some past issue. But here when I told the ranger I was going to run Lost Dog Canyon he smiled and just said, ”Have fun”. That little devil.
The initial .6 miles is a bitch of a climb. Best I could do was a power hike. Then it flattens out on the first tier mesa and the running is fast and easy. The next the climb to the top tier is ugly. Lots of sharp exposed volcanic rock to navigate and some pretty gnarly single track switch backs. If you fall you’re going to cut yourself on the rock, a cactus, saw palmetto or all three if you roll downhill far enough. Going off the side has enough of a pitch that you’d be hard pressed to stop yourself.
Once you’re at the top of the second mesa the running is again fast and easy. Going up gives you a great cardio and power workout while going downhill provides some of the most technical crap I’ve ever run. Loose rock, volcanic embedded rock, tight switchbacks, steep grade and a zero forgiveness policy keep you very focused.
At only 5.5 miles it’s not built for a long run but it’s a must run if you want to run hard and scare the heck out of yourself.