Explore the most popular birding trails in Santa Fe National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
13 hours ago

Mostly uphill on the way out, easy hike on the way back. After seeing a couple other hot springs in the area, I vote this my favorite. Beautiful views the whole way with crystal clear springs at the end. Plus the upper pond has minnows that will nibble on your toes if you don't move. I wouldn't call it a hot spring as much as a warmish spring as people have said, but well worth the hike.

hiking
13 hours ago

Nice down then back up trail, but despite the pleasant scenery, the springs are not worth the trip at all. Gray water and warnings of biological hazards before you leave the parking lot.

on Stewart Lake Trail

19 hours ago

Great trail with the lake as a reward at the end.

The trail is well maintained and easy to find with the app. The length is short but it’s an uphill climb almost the whole hike. There are three major viewpoints along the trail that offer some nice views of the city. A worthy hike if you’re in the city as it’s located downtown.

Great trail. Short. Beautiful falls.

I absolutely love this place!!!!

hiking
20 days ago

Great short trail.

backpacking
20 days ago

Park at cowles camp and walk down the main road to the right a bit to find the trailhead. Elevation was a bit challenging for a Texan coming from sea level with a 40lb bag. Not too bad if you can take your time though. Some great valley views along the way. Camping on lake Stewart was secluded and amazing. Had an accessible water creek right next to camp. Day hike to lake katherine the next day was amazing, but even steeper (6 mile round trip). Beautiful ridge! We did it as a loop and took Windsor trail back down the mountain on 3rd day. Beware if you do there are 2 trails, Windsor creek (shorter, but sign said closed) and Windsor to the right (a few miles longer, epic aspens, but you’ll get to a different parking lot and have +1 mile back to cowels). Great trip.

Great Short trail just outside Santa Fe. took me about 2 hours with stopping for pics. When dry it's easy for any 4x4 and most high clearance 2wd should be able to make it. AT&T has phone service through out most of the trail, so it's a safer one to go alone.

Hiked this last week. Perfect hike for a sunny day as altitude and shade were in abundance. We extended the hike north on the Windsor trail to make it a total of 8.5 miles. Would do this one again.

This a a great hike with lots of up. As folks have noted trail can be hard to follow at times after the turnoff to Nambe Lake trail 400. It took us about 4 hours including about 20 minutes at the lake. There was still ice on the stream which made for some cool pics.

Nice trail, heavy traffic. The springs worth the 4 miles.

Spence Hot Springs is a beautiful trail. I live in the area. Yeah, it is pretty sad when people trash the place treating it like some commodity provided by nature that they heard about on line. My partner and I visit when we can to clean up plastic water bottles, debris and baby diapers (child-friendly) that people seem to like abandoning there. Underneath all that is an amazing landscape apart from the hot water coming out of the hillside that people like to bathe in. Wild peppermint and arugula growing there too.

hiking
26 days ago

Great views at the top. We come from low elevation so we took our time with the climb. Worth it though.

Trail starts with the Dale Ball trail head.

Great hike. Up most the way and then down coming back. Fairly hot today but decided to have lunch at the springs.

Hiked on 5/21, trail is clear of snow but as others have said the trail is hard to follow at points with numerous spur trails leading seemingly nowhere. Once you turn off trail 254, just make sure to keep hugging the creek on either side, and the trail will come back into focus. Otherwise, pleasant hike with some beautiful meadows en route to an awesome payoff. The lake is framed by a giant granite bowl and is a perfect place for a lunch. Trailhead is over 9000 feet and they trail climbs another 2000 so, even after three days in and around Santa Fe, we still had to take the big climb slowly. The air up there is thin.

We got hailed on during our hike down, which is way better than being rained on because my shoes stayed dry.

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.

Very rewarding hike-worth the effort to get to the springs!

Hadn't been on that trail in about 10 years. Use to mountain bike that regularly. Still a great trail. Lots of people anymore but still worth it. Keep your ears out once you hit Windsor. Bikers come up faster then you run, unless you're Usain Bolt.

on Picacho Peak Trail

hiking
1 month ago

This trail offers many options for an out and back day hike as part of the Dale Ball trail system. It IS a climb to the top of Picacho Peak and along the way the views are endless. Take every oportunity to stop, sun bathe, meditate, think, or just allow those spaces between thoughts to be just the sounds of a crackling trail beneath your feet - and breathe...Santa Fe, it's no wonder why so many people love it here.

We didn’t read the comments so when we finally went into the Four Seasons for directions both the doorman and the Concierge denied all knowledge of the trail! We gave up and did the Rio En Medio instead.

Beautiful hike. We went at the end of April. A lot of snow and ice near the top. It even started snowing very heavily for about 15 minutes. The trail is hard to follow at times. Always find the river! If you stay with it you will be fine. The lake is beautiful and worth the work. Beginning and end are fairly steep. Don’t give up!

The trail is clear of snow, hard to follow at times because there are many off-shoots. Alltrails app was intermittent with Verizon service so I was able to use it with some success to get to the lake.

Great hike! Not too long or hard. Your not going to get lost on the trail. The springs are real warm. Great for a nighttime dip. I love these springs!

Awesome trail ! Just hiked this with my husband today (mid may). A little snow but nothing we couldn't do in waterproof hiking boots ! It was steep at the beginning and at the end, relatively flat for the mid mile and a half. Took us about 4.5 hours including sitting and having lunch at the lake, and getting lost ! It wasn't well marked but following the map on all trails and talking to a few other hikers we figured it out. Well worth the time ! Start at Winsor trail sign follow 254 (other side of Parking lot - a little further down from the ski basin)

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Bring plenty of water and snacks. Also, trekking poles if you feel you need extra support as there is a a steep area with loose rock, but the view is so worth it!

off road driving
1 month ago

Great view of the Rio Grande Valley rewards you at the end of the trail. A couple small washouts but nothing too difficult, took a 4WD Tacoma, used 2WD 95% of the time.

i liked this trail. Don't listen to the people saying it was not clearly marked or hard to find - it was actually one of the easiest trails to follow once I found it. not hard to find, starts at Battleship Rock. the trail starts along a stream, and goes up into the beautiful Jemez forest until you hit the springs. I went in in late April - the springs were not hot, not cold, very pleasant and provided a good recharge for the 2 miles back. There are guppies in there too. the firsy spring (the higher one) is warmer than the lower one. There were a lot of dogs on the trail.

This place is incredibly beautiful and serene but has been abused by people who leave trash behind. My daughter and I picked up 3 full trash bags worth of garbage off of this trail the other day so please keep it clean. Don't leave trash behind and if you see trash, pick it up!

Without a large amount of effort, you'll get a nice view of the Chama River Valley (especially beautiful in autumn), and the 500-year-old Tewa pueblo ruins on the plateau below. Plus, expansive views of the surrounding mountains, including Georgia O'Keeffe's favorite, the flat-topped Pedernal. A nice hike if you don't have a lot of time, or want to appreciate the landscape from an elevated vantage point.

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