U P P E R   C A N Y O N   C A B I N

The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express --Francis Bacon

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

explored & photographed by: Shady

Tucked away in the thickly-wooded forest surrounding a small mountain village sits something out of a dream... a long-abandoned stone cabin rising out of the tangled green like an urban-exploration-fairy-tale... welcome to the place I call 'Upper Canyon Cabin'...

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

The community of Ruidoso, NM began in the 1890's as a trading post; it's a beautiful, timeless little village that sits amid mountain peaks and pine tree-tops at 6,900 feet above sea level. And along the banks of the Rio Ruidoso and the surrounding canyon walls is a cool, densely-wooded stretch of area known as the Upper Canyon, which is dotted with the quaint summer cabins that they began building here back around the 1920's and 30's.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

There is an area within the Upper Canyon where my family used to go all the time for picnics and hiking and stuff, and it was during one of those outings (bout 20 years ago, I must have been about 10!) that a group of my cousins and I discovered what became one of our favorite secret hideouts while we were exploring the canyon's deep dark woods one day- this captivating abandoned cabin hidden away amongst the trees and perched right on the edge of the riverbank. Of course, we instantly fell in love with the archaic old place!

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Hell, two decades later I'm still in love with it. And amazingly it's still standing. Or maybe not so amazingly, when you consider the construction... the entire cabin is made of painstakingly-assembled stone; it's got a weathered shingled-metal roof and splintered hardwood floors, and it's a really great old structure, even despite it's decrepit condition. The side of the cabin with it's stout chimney flanked by a window on each side almost looks like it could be the cabin's face, staring mutely out at you.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Last time I spent a weekend in Ruidoso I made a trek out to the Upper Canyon in hopes that I'd find the ol' cabin still there. And, as you see from these pics, I did! I have no idea how old this place actually is, but I know it's been there for decades... otherwise it's origins are a mystery to me...

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

The glass of the windows has been long gone, since way before we ever found the place... but the wooden sills still remain. A peek inside through the window reveals a semi-circle of tree stumps arranged around a large hearth in what was once probably the family or main living room of the cabin. Decades of graffiti criss-cross the walls.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

An open-air veranda of what may have been some kind of outdoor room or porch affords a great view of the forest; from this side of the place the gurgling of the water can really be heard. The side of the bank drops off steeply so you can't really see the creek from up by the cabin, but inside, one of the windows provides a wonderful view of the swirling waters below. In another room, one of the weatherworn window sills is decorated with scrawled handprints from previous visitors.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Inside, we had to be careful with all of the big gaping holes in the floor, didn't wanna break an ankle or something, ouch. The cabin was dim and cool and smelled of woodsmoke. In fact, outside of the cabin we could clearly see white smoke drifting out of the chimney, but the weird thing was there was no fire inside the fireplace. And I even shot an mpeg of the smoke and the empty fireplace, but the disc it was on got mysteriously screwed up. Of course it would be that one that got messed up huh, arrgghh. Ah well, just one more mystery.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

At one point while I was inside taking pics, I heard a rustling from outside, and turned in time to see some kind of black shaggy creature go lumbering by a window! I have no idea what it was... dog? Wolf? Bear cub? Baby sasquatch?.... I dunno, but I did manage to snap one shot of the critter as it streaked by. By the time I got outside, it was nowhere to be seen, and we didn't see it again while we were there.

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Upper Canyon Cabin, Ruidoso, New Mexico

 It was great to know that the old place is still there as it has been since I played in it as a kid... I have so many good memories of this aged cabin, such as this one time back in my teens... I was with my siblings and a bunch of friends on our way back from a hike and we got caught in a downpour, so we ran to the cabin and took shelter inside. We spent the entire rainstorm in there telling ghost stories and listening to the drumming on the raindrops on the metal roof... it was a fun time.

So I guess you could say this old abandoned place was quite an influence on me. I mean, look what it lead to- a full-blown urban exploration obsession that has been with me ever since my cousins and I first caught sight of it's gray stone walls through the leafy green shadows.

So, let's hear it for the Upper Canyon Cabin, a Lost Destinations classic... three cheers baby... hip, hip, and hooray. Yeah!

Do you have any background information or stories to tell about this abandoned site?

 

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