Looking for a great trail in Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico? AllTrails has 41 great hiking trails, running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 24 hard trails in Pecos Wilderness ranging from 8.1 to 35.5 miles and from 8,139 to 13,093 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

views

forest

wildlife

backpacking

wild flowers

camping

dog friendly

running

nature trips

lake

bird watching

dogs on leash

river

walking

fishing

horseback riding

This wilderness area in the Santa Fe national forest has a great variety of high peaks and ridges, pocketed lakes, and cascading creeks. Access points on all sides provide ample recreation opportunities, while the large size of the area makes solitude possible.

This trail hits most of the high points in the Pecos Wilderness. Peaks: Santa Fe Baldy, Redondo (above Lake Johnson), Pecos Baldy, and the Truchas Peaks. Lakes: Katherine, Stewart, Johnson, Pecos Baldy, Truchas, Lost Bear Lake is a short side trail. Other: Trail Riders Ridge, Pecos Falls, Beatty Flats. Best to start on Tuesday or Wednesday due to high usage at Lake Katherine (if you want to camp there). An especially spectacular trip when the aspens are turning

Didn’t make the full loop so can’t speak to reviews that say it’s not doable. But with littles in tow, we did in and out for about 2 mi round trip. A beautiful hike. Not too steep—just a nice gradual incline with fun root and rock steps and a nice creek running beside the path. We all loved it. One of the busiest paths I’ve been on in SF

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful hike, but missed the caves! Followed the map all the way to the end. How did I miss them? I only saw one to the right, just a tad bit higher than the trail.

I took the Winsor trail to Lake Katherine, then hiked up to the saddle of the Santa Fe Baldy ridge and took that over to the summit and down from there. The first few hours of the hike are through the woods and kind of unremarkable. It doesn't really get good until you get to the junction where you can hike up to Santa Fe Baldy on the trail or go down to the Lake. Then it was more interesting and well worth it.

hiking
16 days ago

Nice easy hike. Mellow incline. Windy on the ridge. My phone clocked this at 11.4. Views of the Truchas are incredible. Also, not clear in description of road below.....But any standard 2wd vehicle would be fine. All different vehicle types at the TH.

This is my favorite Santa Fe area hike. The views from the Mesa are amazing. I take this trail to Pecos Falls. I use iPhone 7 and the app. On most hikes AllTrails is accurate for me but on this trail it is noticeably incorrect. Maybe it is just my phone??? The actual Hamilton Mesa Trail is up to 2000 feet to the east of where it is shown especially as you get closer to intersection with Gascon Trail. This is an easy to follow trail without GPS provided no snow is in the area. I tried to do this trail in May of this year, when there were still snow packs, and because the trail is so far off it was impossible to stay on the trail. In October, with no snow, this was no problem. Don’t trust the GPS ... trust your EYES and the SIGNS. Or follow my map to the Pecos Falls. It is worth it! We did this as a day hike but we move fast. It’s 19.8 miles from Iron Gate to Pecos Falls and back the same way. I would not try the drive to Iron Gate without a 4x4. Once you get off the main road through Pecos this is an extremely dicey road.

hiking
20 days ago

Wonderful hike! Aspen turning golden and the creek was full. Walked a ways into the first cave, then turned around. Definitely worth a return trip.

Nice hike and great views.

hiking
28 days ago

Great trail. The caves were at 2.4 miles according to our gps. We came to a clearing where there was a pile of rocks and the caves were to the left. Crossed the creek one time so we were glad to have the extra shoes when we were finished.

Beautiful hike. Well worth the effort it takes to get there. I did it as a day hike. Took me about 8 hours total. I was a little unsure once I got to the Baldy summit / Lake Katherine split (no signage to say which was which) Luckily my instinct to keep right was correct. The rock cairns were extremely helpful getting through the boulder fields and leading right to the lake.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Pretty good. Takes a while. Views are great.

This trail started at the Santa Fe Ski Area. The first mile or so until the Pecos Wilderness was probably the toughest. It gets easier after that. This trail should be rated moderate. I think it’s just the distance which makes it hard. This trail, according to my GPS watch was closer to 16 miles to the lake and back. The lake is absolutely gorgeous right now and makes the hike totally worth the long trek in. Make sure you take the skyline trail when you get to the opening near baldly. It will be to the left. There were lots of bees, but they didn’t bother me at all. I also saw some mountain goats on top of baldy when I was at the lake.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Beautiful hike with great views. Look for caves on your right not too long after the trail leaves the larger creek.

I’ve been wanting to do this hike for years having seen the lake from Santa Fe Baldy, and it’s definitely one of my new favorites. The description is incorrect...you do not start this hike in Cowles, unless you want to come up and over and extend your trip a few miles. Start at Ski Santa Fe, make sure to take Skyline trail towards Baldy and then keep right at the saddle. I had the whole trail to myself on a September week day. Saw big horn sheep. Make sure to follow the cairns! Camp at Puerto Nambe or the lake if you can, but this is a doable day hike for the fit. The lake is much bluer than other alpine lakes I’ve seen in NM. Enjoy! Should be great for the next month. Pack layers.

hiking
1 month ago

My dad and I are not in great shape, and we were carrying way too much weight. We did about 3 hours one day and 4 the next, took LOTS of breaks. If we made it, anyone in half decent shape should be able to. Beautiful trail, it very good condition this September.

camping
1 month ago

Great hike, definitely a tough one if you're not used to the altitude. Like Sheena said, start at Ski Santa Fe. The first part of the trail is pretty steep but it gets a little easier pretty soon. We camped at the lake, then met up with a different trail and passed by Spirit Lake on the way back to the parking lot. If camping, bring cold weather gear. It got into the low 40's at night and was very windy at times. Some lady was brave enough to swim in the frigid, crystal clear water, good on her. There's a few streams/creeks on the way where you can fill up on cold, clean water. Beware of random cattle.

hiking
1 month ago

The North Azul trail had bad markings. Be careful there

We completed this loop in a clockwise fashion over 4 days. Our first night was spent in the first meadow on the East Fork trail. Contrary to another reviewer’s assessment of this trail, we did not encounter any difficulty navigating our way. Cairns adequately mark the trail. Bring a GPS for added safety. If you are lucky like us, you will have a clear and moonless night to enjoy the display of stars. Day 2 was spent hiking up to the Divide Trail which connects to the Skyline trail. We encountered a herd of Bighorn sheep on this section. The hike levels off at around 12,000 ft. and was grueling for a group of guys not use to the rare air. Beautiful views from the top. We were exhausted by the time we reached our campsite at Truchas Lakes. Day 3 was a welcome change of downhill switchbacks on the West Fork trail. We camped in the first meadow after the many switchbacks. Aside from the cows, the campsite was great. The cows moved away by late afternoon. There is plenty of wood for a fire if you cross the stream. Again, the meadow afforded us great views of the night sky. Day 4 was about a 5 mile hike out to Santa Barbara CG. A cakewalk compared to the last 3 days. In all, we covered about 28 miles. Although the trail is strenuous, the scenery makes it worth the effort. Highly recommended.

THERE IS NO TRAIL BETWEEN LAKE PEAK AND THE RADIO TOWERS! I got lost for 13 hrs and almost died trying to make this loop. I fell off a cliff Chris Farley style, almost broke my leg 20 times, lost my dog, and crawled back to my car in the dark. My advice is to turn back the way you came after reaching Lake Peak, don’t try to make the loop. There is a trail that continues after you reach the Lake Peak sign, but it takes you to the east side of the watershed and fades/disappears. When I tried to back track and find the trail again, I got turned around and lost.

Did this loop counter-clockwise over three days, West Fork first. If we did it again, we would try to figure out campsites to allow for a clockwise trip because views of the Truchas Mountains would be constantly before us on the Skyline Trail, gradually getting closer and closer. Nonetheless, a splendid trip, perfect weather in spite of several days previously with late afternoon and evening thunderstorms. From the time we left our No Fish Lake campsite, we did not see another person until 30 hours later, at the intersection of the West Fork and Middle Fork trails. For almost all of this time, we were above 11,200 feet. We left packs at the saddle between North Truchas and Chimayosas peaks and took water and snacks to visit the Truchas Lakes... a gorgeous area to spend a couple of hours. Stock up on water at the Truchas Lakes area, as there was none on the Skyline Trail. The trail from the saddle over to the Skyline Trail, skirting Chimayosas had fantastic views of the Truchas Mountains over to Pecos Baldy, although we generally had to stop and turn back to see them. Make sure to note that the Middle Fork Trail leaves the Skyline Trail at a saddle between two unnamed peaks, as shown on the National Geographic Pecos Wilderness map, not at the point shown on the USGS and AllTrails maps. Follow the two cairns down the open hillside at this saddle and you'll come upon the trail heading back to the west into the forest. It was relatively easy finding water from crossing streams but hard finding camping on our descent of the upper half of the Middle Fork Trail. The edge of a small meadow at about 11,200 ft elevation sufficed. Much better sites were at the crossing of the Rio Santa Barbara Middle Fork and at the intersection of the West and Middle Fork trails, but we had already covered a lot of high elevation miles in a day and settled for the small meadow.

backpacking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. We took it backpacking with three kids leaving out of Cowles. Take Windsor Ridge trail 5.5 mi to small ponds and turn hard left onto skyline. Do not take Windsor Creek trail. Pack more than enough water as it does not cross a creek. Don’t forget your fishing pole/rod.

hiking
1 month ago

At about 4.4 mi, turn right on skyline trail rather than vearing left on Windsor trail (recommendation from previous reviewer)! I almost stuck with the trail on the map, but a trail angel pushed me in the right direction. What a great and challenging hike! I was just sweaty enough to make a quick,?cold plunge mildly appealing. Then, I put on my dry clothes just in time for the gray clouds to scurry me back down the mountain. I saw bluejays, woodpeckers, wild pheasants, deer, Long horn sheep, and even a MOUNTAIN LION!!! Luckily it was on the opposite side of the creek and was running away from me.... My first big cat sighting

My wife, 6 yr. old, 9 yr. old, and myself started in Santa Fe and camped over night at Lake Katherine. Great views! We started late and after crossing the crest line at dusk, the tight switchbacks were difficult in the fading light.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

8/15/19 Saw a mountain lion a mile and a half from the trailhead at about 7:30 pm, where the horse trail meets the hiking trail. It was standing in the middle of the trail about 200 feet from me. After about 10 seconds staring at me, it took off running in the opposite direction. What an amazing experience.

We parked near trailhead and main road then backpacked up to Lake Johnson. Ascent up fits the description of HARD and took about five hours to hike about 9 miles. According to this app it was 1.8 miles from the Lake Johnson to the lake. Beautiful hike great trail on way up, took South loop down and had several trees over trail to navigate.

backpacking
1 month ago

Started out at panchulea trailhead. I hiked to horsethief meadows for an overnight camp. Headed up to Johnson Lake the next day for a night. The lake is awesome, lots of fish!! Ended my trek at Stewart Lake for two nights. Been hiking to this classic lake for 25 years. If you want solitude head to Johnson. I didnt see a sole there or horsethief meadows.

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