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.

3 days 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
5 months ago

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

5 months ago


5 months ago

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

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!

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...

7 months ago

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!

7 months ago

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.

Beautiful high mountain lake. Tae a mask, as the National Forest signs do not identify destinations (lie Baldy or Lake Katherine. The signs only list the trail numbers. My Apple Watch showed a total distance of 15.25 miles, although I took a couple short detours. The first 0.75 miles is reasonably steep, then it levels out for about 4 miles. You hike up to the saddle below Baldy, go over the saddle and down several switchbacks to the final stretch into Lake Katherine. Watch for the rock piles, as the trail sometimes becomes indistinct. The lake is beautiful and in a gorgeous setting. I did this as a day hike in approximately eight hours.

Tough, but awesome trail. Can't wait to go again!

Great trail there are many turn around spots along the way which is perfect for anyone with children. One of my very favorites because of the spectacular views!

My wife and I just backpacked for a couple day at lake Katherine for the first time. We really enjoyed ourselves but this was also the hardest trail we have ever backpacked. Make sure you give yourself lots of extra time, it took us about 7-8 hours. My wife also took a small fall on the loose rocks. That being said the views were amazing and we will definitely be back!!!

Decent hike in, nothing too crazy. Went during the week and only a couple other people camping there. Heard it can get busy on the weekends! Loads of marmots though!

Started out on Robert's track but after the big fields i didn't want to go down down down then turn around, so decided to loop around the mountain to get a loop instead of out and back. it was an awesome hike! if you do the loop i did, stay on 270 when you hook around the mountain- i wanted to check something out and wound up in thick brush to get down to the river. really really enjoyed it all and you get a dynamic set of terrain with a bunch of straightaways so more about endurance then intense uphills.
for the record my loop was 249->270->224->250.

excellent hike, great scenery although quite strenuous...take mosquito repellent...

Gorgeous views but long hike. Not clearly marked above Pecos Baldy lake.

Went there 3/13-15 and didn't need any snow shoes or traction aides. There was only one part of the skyline trail right after the fork to go up to Baldy which required some minor route finding to navigate around the snow. Within the next week or so that section should melt out.

Tried to make it to the lake last weekend​, but was not able to due to the snow. I honestly wasn't expecting that much snow this late into the year. The hike was still awesome with lots of streams for water and there is plenty of meadows to set up camp at a lower elevation, but don't expect to make it to Lake Katherine without snow shoes this time of year.

Beautiful trail! The rivers are high & fast and they require some creative crossing skills--and will result in wet boots/pants. The West Fork trail is still icy headed up to the skyline trail, making this a difficult backpack through option right now.

11 months ago

Do not take this trail early in the year. I recently attempted the hike into the lake, and there was far too much snow. The trail seems really nice and fairly easy, but it's near impassable in the snow. I'd recommend waiting until June or later.

11 months ago

Perfect for a beginner backpacking trip.

trail running
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

By far my favorite hike/trail run in the Santa Fe area!! I hiked Baldy and then trekked down to Lake Katherine. Some steep exposed areas but overall fairly moderate. Can't wait to try it in the winter.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

This is a beautiful train with some tricky and steep parts, but overall, not that bad. The lake is incredible, surrounded by rocky peaks. We did a three day backpacking trip and stopping sometimes to do some rock climbing and rappelling.

gorgeous. no other words. absolutely beautiful!
start early :)

It was a great trail. Slightly above my skill level, but great scenery.

I feel like it was longer than 6.6 miles one way. I could be wrong but my Fitbit tracked it at over 11 miles just on the journey to the lake.

Only downside other than it being a longer trail than expected was the lack of firewood when getting to Lake Katherine. There were 4 other groups of campers at the lake when we went and everyone was having a hard time finding any wood for fires. Definitely being a burner if you intend on doing some cooking.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Beautiful hike. It was a bit challenging, but enjoyed it thoroughly.

Monday, March 21, 2016

This is a review for those looking at a spring hike/backpack. We set out to backpack the loop on 3/19, starting with 254, and ending with 271. Trail 254 is 100% impassable if you don't have snowshoes (3-5 foot snowdrifts). Our group did not have them, and we were put into a survival situation. 271 however is fantastic, being on the sunny side of the mountain. With that said, you will lose trail 271 about 3/4 way from Stewart lake when you encounter the bad snow. There are no indicators, or clear paths. Just go due NW from the sign though if you are brave enough. Trail 271 took us 2hrs 45min to descend from Stewart. We foolishly pushed through 254 up to Stewart and it took us 8 hours. The lake was frozen over, but the views were incredible none the less. The views from 271 were also incredible on many areas and made 254 a very unnecessary experience. Lake Katherine is 2.75 miles past Stewart. That was our goal, we did not make it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hiked to Lake Katherine at the beginning of October. We made a loop by going up the Windsor Ridge Trail past Stewart Lake (our bail-out option around mile 5), south on the Skyline Trail to the Windsor Trail up to Katherine. The last 1.5 miles are a bit of a climb, and remember that you're SE of the peaks so light starts to disappear about an hour before sunset. We headed down the Windsor Trail the next morning, which is about a 9 miles, or 1 mile more than up.

Lake Katherine is beautiful save for all of the guerrilla fire pits and garbage previous people have left in said fire pits around the lake. It's pretty well marked (and a common thing) to not camp or have a fire within 200 ft of the lake, but some people don't seem to "get it". I guess they can't read or something. There are plenty of campsites outside 200ft of the lake. The garbage they've left behind in their fire pits doesn't always stay there. It's a bit sad to see the area used up to that extent.

Aside from that, the lake and basin are gorgeous. It was a bit windy (an understatement) which made it cold but not unbearable if you've packed properly.

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