Hiking Project Logo

This is archetypal foothills hiking in the Sacramento Mountains with steep, rocky climbs and tremendous views.

Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Point to Point

7,535' 2,297 m


4,423' 1,348 m


3,338' 1,018 m


227' 69 m



Avg Grade (7°)


Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park requires a $5 day use fee for all vehicles. Cash or check only. The trail is accessible from behind the visitor center just past the front entrance.


This trail winds through the most scenic canyon in the Sacramento Mountains. The trail can be split into two sections as both of these sections have their own characteristics. The first section from Oliver Lee State Park climbs quickly on steep, rocky switchbacks and some rocky, rolling hard pack 2.9 miles through National Forest land up to a bench (2.5mi) that holds grasslands and some sizeable boulders. The cliffs to the south of this section are incredible. From here, the trail drops into the canyon to the old Line Cabin deep in Dog Canyon at 2.9 miles where there is a stream and respite from the harsher environs of the desert. The trail is marked every 1/4 mile with brown trail stakes. This portion of the trail is well traveled and easy to navigate.

The upper portion of the trail begins at the Line Cabin and climbs up out of the canyon on the north side and skirts a cliff face, with amazing views of the basin, for a couple hundred feet. Steeper grades are found on this section and slowing down is usually a must. As the trail climbs, the vegetation and trail changes a bit. Although still rocky and steep, there are areas of high desert dirt with piñon and juniper lining the trail as you close in on FR-90B and the upper trailhead. The last 0.75 miles to 90B flattens out some and it is not uncommon to spot elk in this section.

Hikers are scarce in Dog Canyon, especially during the week. Weekend visitors are common and are usually terrific on the trail. Climbing 3,300 ft in 5.5 miles demands some steep grades of 25%-45% in some spots.

Hiking this trail is challenging, but the views of the Tularosa Basin, White Sands National Monument, and Organ Mountains are unparalleled and are visible for nearly the entirety of this trail. Enjoy the climbs and the solitude!

Flora & Fauna

The wildlife on this trail varies widely due to the elevation gain. You start with desert vegetation like yucca, ocotillo, and prickly pear and move into piñion and juniper as you climb. There are even some cottonwoods among other trees near the stream.

For catching a glimpse of wildlife, this trail is terrific as you may spot lizards, many birds, hawks and vultures, rattlesnakes, mule deer, and elk. Hikers have spotted Barbary sheep near the bench as well as mountain lions.


Shared By:

Eric Borer

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 8 votes


  4.4 from 8 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in New Mexico


25 Views Last Month
5,041 Since Dec 3, 2016



The trail can be seen coming off the bench section toward the cabin in the canyon.
Jan 8, 2017 near Boles A…, NM
The beginning of the cliff section along the Dog Canyon Trail (T106) really makes you feel like you're having an adventure!
Jan 8, 2017 near Boles A…, NM
View of Dog Canyon.
Mar 11, 2018 near Boles A…, NM
This is all that's left of the old cabin on the Dog Canyon Trail...
Jan 8, 2017 near Boles A…, NM
The upper Dog Canyon Trailhead is located at a junction with Forest Road 90B.
Jan 8, 2017 near Boles A…, NM
This sign marks the transition from Oliver Lee State Park to Lincoln National Forest.
Jan 8, 2017 near Boles A…, NM



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Feb 12, 2022
Rafa Alicea
A little muddy at top. — 9h 00m
Nov 5, 2021
Jimmy Prince
Feb 27, 2020
Mark G
Leisurel hike up to line cabin and back. Great views of White Sands and peaks. 2.9mi — 3h 03m
Mar 31, 2019
mi ke
Canyon exposure + gravel trail at mile 3.0-3.5 uphill/7.5-8.0 downhill made for some sketchy footing. Hiking poles would've been great. 10.9mi — 4h 45m
Dec 30, 2018
Josh Chew
Lots of snow and fog after 2.5 miles 3.5mi — 5h 30m
Jun 2, 2018
Wade Ross
Made it to the cabin, almost ran out of water. Make sure the hydration bladder lid is tight! 3.1mi
Mar 13, 2017
Anthony Manalo
Nov 16, 2016
Jean-Claude Linossi
Was only able to hike part of the trail due to difficulty and time constrain. 2.5mi — 1h 30m