Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

The Desert Garden at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park

The centerpiece of Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is the Oliver Lee Ranch House. However, this 640-acre state park also sits at the lower trail head of the Dog Canyon National Recreation Trail, a strenuous 6-mile hike up into the highlands of the Sacramento Mountains in the adjacent Lincoln National Forest. Dog Canyon is one of many deep-cut ravines in the western flanks of the Sacramento Mountains. Perennial springs and seeps in the walls of the canyon support maidenhair fern, yellow columbine, orchids and wildlife, making the canyon a veritable oasis in this section of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Dog Canyon Trail offers spectacular views of White Sands National Park and the surrounding desert intermountain basin. During the late 1800's, Dog Canyon was an Apache stronghold during their conflicts with the US Army. It was only after Geronimo surrendered to General Miles in Arizona in 1886 that white settlers were safe to live in this area. Oliver Lee homesteaded this section of land and built his home here. His house is now renovated and filled with authentic furnishings. Tours of the home are usually available on a reservation-only basis.

Oliver Lee Memorial State Park offers a visitor center, group picnic shelter, desert garden, 48 developed campsites (with electric hookups), an RV dump station, restrooms and showers. Available activities include hiking, picnicking, interpretive exhibits, wildlife watching and educational programs.

To get there: Go south from Alamogordo on US Highway 54 for 12 miles, then turn east and go another four miles on Dog Canyon Road.

Dog Canyon, from Oliver Lee Memorial State Park
Dog Canyon from Oliver Lee Memorial State Park
Alamogordo area map

Related Pages

Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!