Explore the most popular camping 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.

off road driving
11 days ago

It was a beautiful run to get to the trail head but a barbwire fence has been constructed across the trail going up into the mountain. If you want to get past that obstacle bring wire cutters with you. There is no sign on the fence or any warnings. Looks like a fun trail though.

off road driving
1 month ago

We came to a barbed wire fence with no sign on it and decided to turn around. Bummer, it was pretty fun before that.

Road is rough to get there, but amazing.

on Diablo Canyon

hiking
1 month ago

Walking in soft sand at the beginning was a bit challenging, but worth it once you get to the river. Keep going past the fence and try to go during a cooler part of the year since there is limited shade.

hiking
2 months ago

We took trail #261 for a 8.5 mile there and back from the second trail head. Actually you start on #254 then turn right on #261. That trail is not officially maintained and not on trail maps. It is beautiful and not overly challenging. You do have to clamor over downed trees but it doesn’t slow you down too much. After following #261 for several miles you rejoin with #254. After half a mile you juncture with Skyline trail. Go right and reach the lake after about half a mile. Lake is beautiful and worth the effort. We did this first day at altitude and didn’t find it to be too much. It was a beautiful warm day with no clouds and the wild flowers were lovely. Highly recommend.

M daughter and I went out out there yesterday with her Ridgeback dog. Got there at about 11:00am, beautiful sunny day, 77 degrees. Hiked the 4.3 miles in pure beach sand. Never found the river and turned back at the blue fence. Coming back was difficult as the temp rose to over 90 degrees. Do not under estimate this walk, and keep in mind the time of year. We thought plenty of water but because of the heat and lack of shade, we went through it fast. There is NO SHADE so be prepared. Definitely wouldn’t do it again in July, and not so sure I would bring a dog!! The canyon is beautiful, really would have liked to have found the river.

on Stewart Lake Trail

3 months ago

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

backpacking
3 months 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.

Stunning views!!! nice climb! really enjoyed it and will be back soon!

backpacking
4 months ago

The lake area was totally free of snow this past weekend. The hike length in was just right for my seven-year-old daughter. (She was beginning to complain in the last mile before we got there, but she still had the energy to explore the lake.) We spent the night and headed back the next morning. Note that signs along the trail do not direct you to Stewart lake. Instead they tell you the trail name and/or the trail number. If you know the trail numbers to get to Stewart Lake from the Cowles parking lot (Trail #271 and #251), you should be able to find your way. Also, you come to a small pond on trail #251 right before you reach Stewart lake. You need to go another, say, 0.25 miles to reach Stewart Lake.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Sure was a lot o rocks.

mountain biking
5 months ago

This is, hands down, some of the best downhill biking I've done! (Maybe I should get out more?) We did make the mistake of starting at the Ski Basin only to walk our bikes uphill to the Norski TH. (Hint: Just start there!) The trail is well maintained and was such a fun ride! My 11 & 13 year old loved it, too!

backpacking
5 months ago

trail condition is good in early April.

5 months ago

Beautiful and challenging hike. There wasn't any snow when we went this weekend. Last 1.5 mile climb is tough but the views are worth it.

5 months ago

Great canyon, walk in creek bottom, sandy. Ends at Rio Grand R. Easy hike

off road driving
6 months ago

Tried to get to the trail and both ways the map said to get here were closed. Total waste of a day.

6 months ago

Beautiful scenery walked to the river, but went on a day when it was in the 90s. Very hot barely any shade, it’s an easy trail but not in warm temps. Bring lots of water. Brought my dogs and kept them on a leash to be courteous to other hikers and their dogs. Bring a hat! I was sorry I forgot mine.

Amazing view, a bit rocky but worth it.

hiking
7 months ago

Canyon was neat, the rest of the trail was unnecessary.

Not a bad hike, lots of sand..was like 4 miles of beach walk. Beginning was cool in the canyon

hiking
7 months ago

Spectacular walk through canyon viewing rock walls and climbers. Then into broad open arroyo till reaching thr Rio Grande. Beautiful the entire way.

Didn't feel like a moderate difficulty but more like an easy difficulty.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

Wonderful scenery throughout the entire hike. We spent some time at the top, where you can see for miles! Be sure to bring good shoes, as it is quite rocky for quite a distance. Bring a camera to take pictures. It will make for a fantastic desktop picture.

hiking
10 months ago

The trail was rocky as others have noted. Other than that it was a nice walk of several hours. The view from the top was amazing. The crucifixes along the end of the trail are reminiscent of the Blair Witch.

10 months ago

My beagles and I visit the canyon at least twice a month, all seasons. Exiting the canyon, crossing the boulder fields opens to a sandy arroyo which ends at the river. Dogs run free. Take a break in the junipers. Stop, look, and explore. Four easy hours in and out.

hiking
11 months ago

Perfect hike for my dog and I! Super easy and flat, great to run sprints or meander along - my dog loves to swim so getting to the river was big fun! This would be a great hike to take visiting friends who aren’t big hikers or used to the elevation - I don’t mind the drive in at all, drive fast and it’s a lot of fun!

This is such a beautiful trail! We did this hike, and many others, during our time in NM. If you have the time be sure to turn off on some of the trails along the way, as there are some beautiful surprises. We followed a tip by another hiker and went down a trail (I believe it was called "Trail #160) to the left shortly the wooden walk-way over a creek and ended up going through a bunch of aspen trees and out into a huge open valley, which our dogs LOVED! Awesome area, enjoy!

hiking
11 months ago

The first 2.0 miles is rocky but you make pretty good time. The last 2 miles is pretty rough. My wife and I made the trek. Took us 7.5 hours to make the round trip. This trail is definitely not for a beginner. And make sure you have very good shoes. The rocks will kill your feet. Good luck to all of you! This has been on my bucket list for a long time. Glad my wife and I could make it and complete the hike.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The first section of this hike is the best. I wouldn't bother going to the end unless you actually have to see the water. the rest of it is really only good for rock hunting because there isn't anywhere to sit and relax at the water unless you get in it.

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