Panorama of the Sunny Side with key routes marked.
Located to the North of the parking lot, the Sunny Side faces South and is 'sunny' pretty much all the time. This crag offers the best stone and longest routes at the Tunnel. Routes here tend to be more technical, less steep, and more sustained than routes on the Shady Side.
Cool temperatures are required to enjoy this crag when its in the full sun. As a rule of thumb, conditions on the Sunny Side are usually good if the forecast in Alamgordo is for 60F or below. Higher temps can be tolerated if there are strong winds.
Additionally, despite the name, this wall does get a good bit of shade. When the sun is high in the sky (late April thru August) the right half of the wall gets shade until ~noon, and the left side gets shade from ~1pm to sunset. When the sun is lower in the sky, shade is rare, but even in mid-winter each half of the crag sees a few hours of shade.
The Sunny Side is located NE of the Parking Lot. The crag is visible from the viewpoint, so locate it before you head down. The approach is not well-marked, but it is a good trail. If you find yourself thrashing through cactus, go-back! Losing the trail could certainly ruin your trip!
Once dialed, approach takes ~10 minutes. From the Parking Lot, hike E along the N side of the highway towards the tunnel. About 50 yds before the road goes through the tunnel, cross the guard rail (on the N side of the road) and pickup a faint trail that parallels the road. This trail does NOT head down the enormous talus slope. Instead, contour steadily downward along a large ledge, just below a 20-30 foot high limestone cliffband. If you're thinking to yourself, 'that's not a limestone cliffband, its vertically stacked dirt' turn-around, head back to your car, and continue E along the highway to Sitting Bull Falls.
Anyway, descend along the ledge all the way to the creek at the base of Fresnal Canyon. Once at the creek, walk upstream 10-20 yds, and cross the stream by hopping rocks. Once on the N side of the stream, head upstream another 20 yds, then scramble up 5 feet to the first limestone ledge, then head back downstream about 10 yds, and locate the easiest spot to climb up another 5 feet to the next ledge. Once on this ledge, head back up stream to the obvious 15-foot waterfall. About 10 feet downstream from the waterfall, scramble 15 feet up some cool flowstone, that unfortunately bears no resemblance to the rock you will ultimately be roping up for.
Once above the waterfall, pickup another good trail. This trail undulates up, down, left, right, but ultimately continues upstream in the canyon bottom. DO NOT head straight up the hillside once you surmount the waterfall! It sucks, and it erodes the hillside. Anyway, continue upstream for about 50 yds, passing under a few large trees. Once you are directly below "Heatstroke" (on the right end of the Sunny Side Cliff), the trail begins to switch back up the canyon. Continue up for 2-3 minutes. The trail ends below "Melanoma"
Climbing Season For the The Tunnel area.
Weather station 1.4 miles from here
19 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Sunny Side
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sunny Side
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sunny Side:
Featured Route For Sunny Side
Sun Burn 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a New Mexico
: New Mexico, other Southern ...
: ... : Sunny Side (Right End)
Though not as good as its neighbor to the right, Sun Burn offers enjoyable moves on decent rock. Begin on dark rock with a tough gaston move right off the ground. Traverse right, then up on good holds to seam/crack feature right of the bolt line. A big reach from an undercling and some dynamic stabs will get you to a set of slopey crimps, where it will be necessary to traverse back left (crux) to a large, obvious hole. From the hole, traverse left, then up on good jugs, and a double-kneebar ...[more] Browse More Classics in New Mexico
BETA PHOTO: Overview of the Sunny Side, as seen from the Parki...
By LeeAB Brinckerhoff
From: ABQ, NM
Feb 15, 2010
The approach trail for the Sunny Side starts between the 13th and 14th little rock walls that run from the pullout up towards the Tunnel and the trail follows the lower of the two ledge/ramps down to the river.
From: Las Cruces, NM
Apr 3, 2017
Public service tip: bring a trash bag if you are hiking to the Sunny Side. I was there this weekend and hauled a big load of garbage out of the canyon at the end of the day. As with many drive up spots this place sees a lot of non-climber related traffic and litter, can't hurt to clean it up a bit.