Explore the most popular camping trails in Pecos Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Epic! like one of the other post side two biodiversity between the forks is just amazing! Went for 3 Days 2 nights, 1st night camp at no fish Lake, on the west fork. the next day bagged North Truchas Peak. Then walked the skyline divide trail. Seen Bristlecone Pine on the edge of Chimayosos peak. Lots of big horn sheep. Came down the middle fork. Definitely going back next summer.

hiking
2 months ago

first day of winter, Oct 14 big blizzard... epic hike, experienced folks only

backpacking
2 months ago

Be prepared for this trail. It is not moderate, it is hard for a 50-years old person who does not hike much but pretty fit. There are couple of suggestions: get acclimatized before you go; be prepared for long steep hike. There were hikers on Windsor trail up to Skyline trail, but we have not seen anybody from Baldy turnoff to lake Katherine and back (we used Skyline trail that goes east and meets Windsor trail to come back) the other day. So, be prepared if you get lost. We camped before we reached the lake and hike to the lake in the morning. On the way back, "east" Skyline trail from Katherine lake to Windsor Trail conjunction is not properly marked. There is a trail there, it is not far from Skyline trail and comes to that junction, so, do not worry if your GPS will show that you are off Skyline trail on your way back. Take a piece of paper and a pen to leave your names at the trail head, just in case you get lost and rangers look for you. The distance is not 13 miles, it is over 15 miles. It took us about 8 hours to get to camping before we reached the lake, we stopped three times for 30 min, and many times to catch our breath. No phone coverage.

A great backpacking/hiking destination. The fall foliage here is amazing. There are some great camping spots about 4 mi in on the west fork trail. Plenty of water there and on the way up. Check out the beaver dam in the area and hike to Chimayosos Peak, the falls or one of the lakes if your up to a strenuous day hike. I’ve backpacked here several times and will definitely be back.

I second Stephen's comment. The direct descent from Baldy to the lake is possible and I did it today, but it is about a 45 degree pitch for almost the entire 1000' drop with a few really tricky spots. Based on looking back up from the lake, I think a better route is to start from the middle chute and then traverse to the north about half way down but it's hard to be sure. Be prepared to bail out and climb back up regardless of which route you take. Very difficult and dangerous.

Made an overnight loop going past Lake Katherine to Spirit Lake then merged back with the main trail. Forested section to Spirit Lake was boring, but not difficult at all. Going up Santa Fe Baldy is worth it.

Just finished this solo. 4 day 3 night. Amazing trail. Well marked with minimal deadfall. I did counterclockwise up Beaty’s to Skyline then West to Jack’s creek South. Didn’t summit anything as the weather was schizophrenic. Rained and hailed 80% of the time, so, plenty of water. Woke to ice covered everything on day 3. Lots of thunder and lightning shows. Had a coyote play hide and seek for a couple of miles on day one.
Will return.

Beautiful Hike! Very steep. This is on the hard side of moderate, so make sure you're mentally prepared for it. Very worth the effort. Lake Katherine has amazing camp sites and a gorgeous view. We got somewhat lost towards the end, but were able to find our way eventually. Make sure to follow the piles of rocks laid out, as the trail isn't mark well beyond that. Very active trail, with tons of experienced hikers. If you get lost you'll always have someone to help!

Happy trailing!

backpacking
4 months ago

My daughter and I just backpacked out from Pecos Falls (Pecos Trail) up Gascon and down Hamilton Mesa to Iron Gate (campground and trail head). I would have to agree with Naomi Cicada that it was a terrific experience and hike. Gascon is a short but steep trail with many fallen tree obstacles, but once on Hamilton Mesa trail, the views are wonderful! Well worth the effort.

Beautiful hike! Steep and a little rocky toward the top and the switchbacks going down from Baldy to Katherine are very narrow. For someone afraid of heights (me) it seems scary at first but is manageable and the views out are incredible. We backpacked out to Katerine, camped over night, and hiked out on Sunday. The lake was busy but everyone was spread out enough that you didn't notice. We did the hike in in about 4 hours and out in 3 with little or no stopping. Definitely recommend!

We took our dog and slept at Lake Katherine. Started out on the Windsor Trail and then took 254 past Spirit Lake and up to Lake Katherine. The trail from SL to LK was a little tricky to find (quick left after the stream and straight up). This section was much less maintained than the rest of the trail but we were still able to navigate it. LK is very pretty and the trail down (251) was an easy downhill. We recommend!

This is a wonderful hike! It’s actually 15.2 miles, not 13.1, so plan on taking the entire day.

Beautiful hike! We did it round trip in one day via the skyline route. This was a hard route, straight up w/lots of rock climbing and the trail was hard to find. But using the app helped us a lot. My Apple Watch recorded the distance at 17 round trip. The lake was so amazing and worth it!

Great trail. The biodiversity between the West fork and the East fork are completely different. I did the loop backwards starting with the West fork. When you get to the divide, hike down to Truchas lake. Bring binoculars, big horns are everywhere up thier. Only saw 4 other people the six days I took to complete. The views and vistas from the divide are excellent. Seen a lot of elk up there as well. Definitely recommend to those with cardio as you will definitely need it!

We did this trail 05/18/18 to 05/21/18 and it was amazing. It is a difficult trail and steep and narrow at some points with it widening and leveling out in spots. Not a lot of water a long the trails but when you get closer to the lakes there are small streams. Camping near Stewart lake was very easy to find. Lake Katherine not so much. There were maybe a couple spots that would have worked but we didn't try. We went back to Stewart lake to camp because it was so nice down there. There was still some snow on the trail to Lake Katherine but nothing that regular shoes couldn't handle. Beautiful views and trails. If you plan to hang a bear bag be prepared to look for quite awhile for a tree to hang it from. The pine and aspen trees do not provide a lot of branches to hang from. Also there is no free camping at the trail heads. The gps will take you to Cowles parking lot but to get to trail 254 you have to keep going to another parking lot which is like a half a mile away. Cowles will get you to 271 trailhead. A lot of downed trees right now but easy to get around most of them.

The wind calls through the Iron Gate, so I pass into the trees over the rocks upon the dirt. Who would have thought to see a wooden gate and beyond no small view. Leaving chain and latch, iris and aspen then grass. Golden keys the wind does play out unto the paramount. It upon them a sound only my eyes can hear and I am swept upon the vista. I stroll awhile...
Down I lay below the wind in the grass without my worries. I close my eyes to hear and hear a coming sleep, upon the grass I do...
I awake feeling new and back through the iron gate I go. Then home...

Great hike or a backpacking trip! No snow and some decent wind at the top of the Mount Baldy turn off

This is a seriously underrated hike. The scenery was just beautiful and the trail was easy to moderate. The mileage is incorrect however. Round trip it’s just under 20 miles. The description makes it sound as if it follows the river but it doesn’t, as such the last chance to top off on water is about 3.5 miles in at a horse trough. My friend and I did this as a 3 day trip and set up our camp at mile 5.4 by Bob’s trail junction. Having seen the rest of the trail and camping not currently being allowed by Pecos Falls I think it’s the best spot to camp by far. After the trail turns off the Hamilton Mesa trail to the Falls there are a fair number of downed trees but the trail is still passable.
In the morning I saw a herd of elk and I night we heard coyotes. I saw a fair amount of mountain lion scat. All-in-all this is an A+++ hike. Just perfect.

The Truchas lakes are my favorite destination in the Pecos. Skyline trail is absolutely beautiful. The treck is a difficult one but it’s totally worth it.

Definitely worth the miles for some great views along the way and especially at the top. The elevation got us a little as we’re used to life at 500’. Had to stop at the Baldy Santa Fe turn off as there was still a heavy coating of snow heading to Lake Katherine.

hiking
7 months ago

Great backpacking with awesome views! The trail is pretty moderate and well marked. Once you drop into the valley there are plenty of backcountry camp sites to find. Bear hangs are tricky with so many snags, but doable. Did I mention it's beautiful?
I'd also recommend continuing up the Rio Valdez. We looped over to Pecos Falls, passed Beatty's and finished up at Jack's Creek TH. So good!

Attempted late March 2018. Snow depth was manageable until you hit about 9600ft and then without snowshoes it was too difficult. Tons of animal sign such as bear and what appeared to be mountain lion. Beautiful beautiful area and entire 5 day 4 night trip was so rewarding. Had to park about 1 mile south of campground and hike in and then hiked about 6 miles further. Pictures don’t do this place justice. So happy we had the opportunity to explore the Pecos Wilderness!

We added Trip to Truchas Lakes for total mileage of ~28 Miles. Very long day! Fantastic scenery !

trail running
Friday, November 10, 2017

This loop is possible. I just ran it last Friday (11/3/17). It does have a sketchy section that you have to down climb about a 6 foot, nearly straight down rock shoot. Very beautiful, but please understand what you’re getting yourself into if you choose this route.

on Santa Fe Baldy Loop

Friday, November 03, 2017

amazing

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Great trail, but not well marked. Plenty of water. Beautiful.

hiking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

I did South Truchas in a day and had to go off trail at the end of skyline, but all above the treeline and clearly visible. skyline is one of the most beautiful trails I've ever been on!

camping
Monday, September 25, 2017

Amazing hike to Lake Katherine camped at elv. 11,776 ft.: seven other brave enthusiast braved the heavy rain/snow and lodged in the mystic beauty on slopes of Santa Fe Baldy...

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Incredible lake. Hiked first to Santa Fe Baldy and then on to Lake Katherine with my husband and dog yesterday. 16.6 total miles roundtrip in 8.5 hours. Lake Katherine is much larger than nearby Nambe and Spirit Lakes. The water is so clear! Only one other group there while were there. Trail is fairly easy to follow. No place to camp nearby (and don't camp within 200 feet of the lake!), but lots of nice rocks to eat lunch. Plenty of parking at the Ski Basin parking lot across the road from the trailhead. For those with dogs, there were several stream crossings that were running well for our dog to drink from. Highly recommend!

on Santa Fe Baldy Loop

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

No. My husband and I are fairly adept hikers, and we saw absolutely no way to complete this loop as written. It works to Santa Fe Baldy, but to go from Baldy to Lake Katherine as shown, you would pretty much have to roll down the side to the lake. There is no trail. If you want Penitente and Lake Peaks, there are better ways to get them.

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