“A nice climb into the canyons that returns via the arroyo bottoms.”
— Eric Borer
River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
A looped route using the Alamo Canyon Trail and Roundup Ground Trail. There is some steep climbing on switchbacks for about two miles followed by rolling grassland and a quick descent into the canyon. Follow the arroyo bottom back to the TH.
Need to Know
The junction at around mile 3 is a left turn to descend into Purgatory Canyon. Halfway down there is another drainage where the trail seems to disappear, however you must follow a light trail down the drainage to another grassy area with a marked trail sign. There is no marked trail from the end of the Roundup Ground Trail back to the TH.
The trail begins at the parking lot at the end of the scenic extension up to Alamo Canyon. The beginning is doubletrack that is washed out into some stretches of singletrack before you cross the arroyo in the canyon at 0.5 mi. Once you get to the arroyo, you can see the trail sign as well as the trail that switchbacks its way up the side of the canyon. This trail continues to climb pretty steeply for a couple miles until you hit the Round-up Ground, which is a grassland area at the top of a mesa.
The mesa and Roundup Ground are rolling singletrack that take you to the junction of Alamo Canyon Trail and the Roundup Ground Trail (just under 3.0mi). To continue on this loop, go left at the junction (and small brown trail marker) and head down into Purgatory Canyon. This is the major descent in the trail, and it brings you down fairly quickly over some loose and rocky trail with narrow sections that can be dangerous if you are not careful. The washout on the right side of the trail leads to some thin singletrack with little to no room for error. You'll end this section at a cairned wash. Descend this wash on a moderately defined trail.
After the descent into Purgatory, you'll continue to a short grassy area and then into a narrow and ledged section that empties you into the arroyo at about 4.25 mi. Once in the arroyo, there is no defined trail. Finding the quickest line through the boulders, rocky and sometimes sandy wash is a challenge but can be really fun. Following the canyon bottom will lead you back to the original crossing and back onto the doubletrack toward the parking area.
Flora & Fauna
High desert wildlife and vegetation. Elk can be spotted as low as the Round-up Ground.