Reviews (553)
Photos (3788)
Recordings (391)
Gregory S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 14 2020
Hiking

Amazing hike. We did this as a day hike the second week of July. Looking back I would have preferred to make it a two day trip. No snow on the trail anymore. The views are epic. The trail is easy to follow. The views from the lake make every step worth it. Be advised that if you are not used to hiking in 10,400+ altitude then the hike will be very challenging. I hike often between 7000-10,100 elevation and the altitude was tough for me. Also the app says 13.1 miles total trip but I clocked 15.6 miles and I stayed on the path the whole time.

jackie bagby
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
BackpackingRocky

This was a beautiful Trail from beginning to end...just stunning. When taking this trail take note it is not 11 miles! It is about 18 miles out and back. Some really great places to camp along the way, as we needed to do it over 2 nights. It is very difficult, but very worth it! Just as others have said, make the right onto skyline. We did this with two dogs and 35-40 lb packs on and was doable, but took a lot of grit! lol

Tammy Metzger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

We did a lollipop loop adding on Lower Nambe trail, and encountered aggressive cows at mile 5 of the loop - Had to jump over some downed trees off-trail to avoid getting charged!! Other than that it was lovely. Felt a lot hotter up there than it was, but park of the loop goes along a creek for a long while, with four to five little water crossings. Lots of flowers and butterflies around. A ton of climbing!!

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Shane Lamb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 09 2020
Bugs

An amazing hike. Altitude is definitely a factor to compete with, especially being a sea level Texan. my only complaints are that there is almost no firewood readily available at lake katherine so def budget some time to hike back down a bit to get some firewood. the second complaint is the amount of mosquitoes at the lake campgrounds, definitely bring some aggressive bug repellents. keep your eye out for the rams they can get pretty friendly.

Brian McMath
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

The road to the Iron Gate campground is rough, but the trail is great. The first 1.75 miles is through aspen and ponderosa, with great views across the Rio Mora valley. Hamilton Mesa itself offers terrific 365-degree views and a beautiful alpine meadow. Beware the cow trails across the mesa, as they can lead you astray.

Christie Newman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

We clocked 14.29 miles on the trail, and got stuck in two hail storms. So 7 hours of hiking-9 miles on the mountain. We had the lake to ourselves but with the storm it was freezing so we ate our lunch and headed back. The trail itself is not difficult but the distance and altitude make it hard.

Madeline Krebs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Amazing trail! And perfect quick weekend backpacking overnighter. We were warned on our way there that the lake would be “packed” and while it wasn’t secluded it was perfectly big enough to host several groups without being overcrowded. The trail is definitely moderate with mild switchbacks but the packs make it slightly more challenging.

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Jason Joyner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Backpacking

The route from Baldy down to Lake Katherine is not preserved. Very overgrown and steep.

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Celynda Tingey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Backpacking

Completed as a 2 night backpack trip 6/22/20. Great moderate trail with plenty of shade and water along the tail. No snow. I took Windsor up clockwise to add a few miles. Note that trail #261 is “not maintained” but few down trees and trail is easy to follow. Camped at Stewart lake and did day hikes to other lakes in the area. Stewart lake was busy but plenty of campsites around the lake to disperse the crowds. We parked at Windsor trailhead and walked the .5 mile on the road at the end. Fairly crowded for a weekday trip but beautiful area and perfect weather. Trails are well marked and easy to follow.

J & T Natzic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingGreat!MuddyOver grown

We planned on making this a 3 night trip but turned it into 2 nights. 3 nights would have been a more casual trip. There are plenty of places to camp around Pecos Baldy Lake, fewer around Truchas Lakes. After passing Truchas Lakes we went down Jacks Creek Trail (257) rather than taking the Skyline Trail (251). Water is plentiful along 257. We split off at Chimayosos Trail (246). 246 is unmaintained, very overgrown, has many downed trees to climb over, wetlands to cross, and the trail can be very hard to follow. Great adventure but expect to move much slower and be careful not to get lost. Parking at Jack's Creek Campground is nice, $10/night.

Matthew Ketchie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
BackpackingBlowdownGreat!

Took my wife and 3 teenage kids backpacking (my 2 daughters and wife's 1st time). Started at Winsor Creek TH via the one-lane paved road from Cowles past many summer homes. At the TH, there are about 8-10 parking spots and we were fortunate to snag one otherwise you'd have to park back in Cowles. Didn't pay any use fees (no ticket waiting for me when we returned either) but took advantage of the trail register. We started the trail about 3 pm and followed Winsor Creek on #254 and passed the #261 junction and were tempted to try the trail but decided against it. After passing the junction, you begin hugging the north side of a large ridge. Note: this is the last place for many miles to get water. About halfway up, we passed a large recent fire scar. Earlier in the parking lot, we encountered the wildland fire crew that had finished mopping up the fire. Apparently for about a week, the whole general area had been closed for the fire (https://www.krqe.com/news/wildfires/winsor-ridge-fire-burning-2-acres-0-contained). Continuing up the ridge, we finally reached the easternmost point on #254 and had a great view looking south. This summit area is a nice Ponderosa pine camping area and the first flat area suitable for camping. Someone has built a wood shelter not far away. We continued west on #254 and minutes later, you exposed on a steep south facing slope and little tree cover. It doesn't last long before you go thru aspen groves and other evergreen forests. Eventually, we came up to the Holy Ghost trail junction and a beautiful large meadow (another candidate for great camping). About 30 minutes from the Holy Ghost junction, we came to the other end of aforementioned #261 (didn't look too bad from that vantage point). About 15 minutes, we crossed Winsor Creek and turned right (north) on #251 (Skyline Trail) - first place to replenish water since early on the trail. Great camping sites here as well. About 15 minutes down #251, we came to Stewart Lake and opted to camp below the lake near the outlet stream. Very quiet location even with moderate traffic from the 4th of July holiday weekend. All in all, we used it as a base camp for 3 nights. Tried fishing at the lake and had no luck. Lots of great camping areas. If I went again, there's a great area on the far southwestern corner of Stewart Lake. Rained on us most afternoons. One afternoon, it poured off and on and we were grateful for a 7 x 10 tarp to keep us all dry. Made a day hike up to Lake Katherine (~6 hrs) on the 4th of July and found that trail very steep. The trip up to Stewart Lake with many breaks and having rookie backpackers, took 5 hrs up and about 3 hrs down. We opted to return the way we came and saved Winsor Ridge Trail for another adventure. Saw a few grouse and cow elk several different times. All in all, a great backpacking trip. Plenty of fast flowing water in the large creeks. Lots of memories. First time in the Pecos Wilderness area and it likely won't be the last.

Esmeralda T.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 30 2020

in total we did about 15 miles or so. I would recommend you have your GPS on hand because the trail gets a bit tricky in some parts. This was probably the most strenuous hike ive ever done and I do hike quite a bit. Most of the snow is gone but its still pretty cold. I would recommend you pack very light as a 25-30lb pack definitely weighs you down! oh and as it was said before there are caterpillars EVERYWHERE. The hike was hard the views were amazing and totally worth it

Aliya Harrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingBugsIcyMuddyOff trailRockyScrambleSnow
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kati mckinley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
HikingNo shade

Beautiful hike. Most of it is not under tree cover so get ready for some serious sun. GPS was pretty wonky, told me I was off trail pretty much the whole way. I At the first fork in the trail, head left. At second fork, head left. Had a run in with a large group of cows and their calves on the trail, got mean mugged from a number of them, but another hiker was able to easily scatter them from the trail. I don’t think the head honcho appreciated my dog much but they tolerated us and let us pass. We’ll be back!

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Thomas Grover
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Not the best marked trail (to the lake) and I’m gonna GPS it next time because it seems much more than 6miles to lake campsite from SF Ski parking lot. BUT don’t be deterred: wonderful hike, gorgeous location, and nothing beats an icy cold plunge!

Lauren Bransford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020

beautiful hike, there's a good place to stop about half way up if you don't want to do the whole 10 miles, I did 5.5 and the elevation gain was tough even though i live in Santa Fe, overall great hike with amazing views.

Alex Schneider
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsGreat!MuddyOff trailRocky

I did this hike counterclockwise and spent the night at Truchas Lake. Gorgeous hike but I have to note a couple things. There is little to no trail (cairns) as you proceed along the Skyline trail to the East Fork, but what I didn't expect was that this continued with the East Fork trail. Any path there was disappeared repeatedly for first few miles down from the ridge and the cairns were genuinely hard to see, leading to a lot of checking my GPS track. I used the Nat Geo trail layer and it was mostly correct. Frustrating, but what really drove me crazy was the sheer quantity and severity of damage from horses and cattle further down on the East Fork once the trail becomes defined again, which was the WORST I have ever seen on any alpine trail in the US. This ruined a large section of the hike down for me. Many of the streams that the trail crossed were no longer flowing due to insane quantities of deep horse/cattle prints, and made it treacherous to walk many areas. and the stink and menacing bulls made it impossible to enjoy one of the nicest meadows on the trail (cows do not belong in our wilderness areas at all, let alone sensitive alpine meadows at 10,300ft!!!!!!!). Not to mention that their grazing impacts were extremely evident further down. I tried my absolute best to ignore this stuff and enjoy the scenery but I could not do it. The use of this trail by the horse users and cattle is ANYTHING but sustainable, and was infuriating to me and Carson NF should be ashamed. I have never done this before but I will be submitting a complaint to Carson about this. If they think this trail can be used by horses and cattle, then make sure they do not destroy the trail for everyone else when they come through. If they cannot use it in a sustainable manner then they should not be using it at all. Simple; it's their own rule. Anyway, one of the most beautiful backpacking trips I have been on, but Carson needs to take care of the East Fork trail. Someday I hope people will once again be able to experience true wilderness and solitude on that trail, as they themselves suggest (it otherwise would be great). Next time I do this, I might continue to the divide trail past the east fork junction and hike down to the middle fork from the serpent lake trail junction. It would add a few miles probably but you would be able to avoid route-finding and possibly the cattle and horse damage. Plus more time on the ridges. (The middle fork trail you would still hike is super rocky but very nice.)

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