Explore the most popular walking 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.

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!

Very nice trail with a good incline. Well maintained and easy to follow. Pretty views.

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.

This was a very nice hike. Other hikers were friendly and considerate. Dog were leashed for the most part and kept under control.

We are fairly new to hiking and found the trail quite strenuous towards the top. Was able to make it to the summit in about 2.5 hours with many short breaks along the way. GPS Said 8 miles so if you are new to hiking and looking for an easy hike this may not be the trail for you.

on Picacho Peak Trail

hiking
3 days 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.

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

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
10 days 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!

hiking
10 days ago

This is a great 6 mile out and back trail close to Santa Fe. It is strenuous so be aware of altitude (if visiting) and incline and be sure to bring plenty of water. It is popular therefore fairly busy but most hikers are courteous. There is a junction where you can by pass a steep grade and go around via an easier path. It is clearly marked “Steeper Way” and “Easier Way.” I suggest taking the “Easier Way” on the way up to conserve energy and taking the steeper route back down.
There is also a side jaunt called Atalaya Lookout Trail that is a loop shooting out to the south/southwest. It will add maybe .5-.75 miles to the journey if you want to take in that view.
Depending on your level of fitness or ability, it can take anywhere from 3.0-4.5 hours. Some are running it while others take multiple breaks and enjoy the gorgeous views of Santa Fe.

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.

backpacking
17 days 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.

We hiked Picacho peak the other day while in Santa Fe, and really loved that trail. This hike is in the same area, not exactly part of the Dale Ball trail system, but it is still in very good condition. We started at the upper trailhead, where it guides you to mark post #43. This saved us about 1.5 miles total since we didn't start at the college parking trailhead. The beginning half is not too steep, though it is a constant steady climb. The last half is steeper, more rocky and consists of many switchbacks. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the top, with a couple of stops to break and drink water(bring a good amount if it is a warm and sunny day).

The views from the top are quite beautiful, you don't get a great 360 panoramic view of everything, and there are a decent amount of trees at the top that block many views, but overall it was worth the 2.5 miles up. I would actually recommend doing the Picacho peak over this hike if you had to choose one over the other.

hiking
17 days ago

The drive up to this trail was gorgeous, but there is quite a long stretch of dirt road that may take smaller cars a little longer to traverse (though it shouldn't keep you from going). This trail is a little difficult to find, but if you follow the instructions given, you should be able to find it . This trail starts off very easy and relaxing, right next to the river, but the farther you go, the harder it gets. There's a short very steep, very rocky part right at the end. Incredible views and overall great hike! It took me almost two hours to get to the top of the mesa.

hiking
17 days ago

Good hike, about 1.7 miles one way. You’re treated to some great views along the way. The hike is moderately difficult just because it’s mostly uphill but it’s short enough that most folks won’t have too much trouble. The pools are gorgeous and filled with minnows that will swim up to tickle you when you’re still. Two large pools that could probably fit 6-8 people each, but it’d be kind of weird with that many people. Tip: go in the evening when most others have disappeared. Great little spot.

hiking
19 days ago

A great trail for seeing an overlook of Santa Fe, what has to be at least 50-100 miles west, and some of the santa fe mountains to the north/north-east. It is a continuous climb up, but very manageable if you are in decent shape. Bring at least a half gallon of water per person if you go on a day at least 60 degrees or warmer. You are mostly in the sun the entire time too, so wear sunscreen. It took us a total of 2.5 hours up and down, with a 15-20 min break at the top. You will not be disappointed.

10 miles round trip gate is closed, road can be accessed with bikes or 4 wheeler, downhill all the way in ... up hill back, hiking boots should be used various terrain, the warm springs are off trail, but was really nice! Take water food... long hike.

hiking
22 days ago

Very nice hike. Only took about 3.5 hours moving time with another hour devoted to taking photos. Views from the top were incredible. A little ice and snow still on the trail, post holed a few times.

Hiked this trail last week. It is a beautiful hike but still pretty icy in a few spots. The lake is also still frozen but that was probably my favorite part. I highly recommend it!

Nice hike. A bit of a challenge for us at 65 years old but not undoable by any means. Hiking sticks help for those with worn out knees. Altitude made it a bit hard for us since we are from Michigan.

on Nambe Lake Trail

24 days ago

A nice trail to do but at this point it’s still very icy. Proper equipment is a must. The trail itself is also not very well marked.

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