Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Starting with the good: this trail was awesome. Very scenic with stream, mountains, meadows, etc. Not too hard, not too long. We also made some fun friends with fellow hikers along the trail.

Then the bad (and it was very bad): the trail is not well marked, at all. Our roughly 3 mile planned hike turned into a 5 mile hike, which we would’ve been fine with, except it dumped us out at the wrong trailhead. We then had to walk nearly another 4 miles back up the mountain on the highway to get to our car. Luckily we brought plenty of water, because there is no shade on the highway and the asphalt reflects the heat. Definitely print a map and follow it very closely. We still don’t know where we got off course, and we are fairly experienced hikers with multiple Eagle Scouts in our party.

Great hike! Fantastic views. A few more people on the trail than I had expected based on the trail description - though it was Sunday. In the late summer, you want to start this hike early so that you don't get caught in early afternoon storms that sweep in - we barely missed the thunderstorm that rolled in quickly around 1 pm. The last mile is very exposed, so plan to be off the peak by noon or so.

Great hike! This was my first hike I did alone. It’s definitely tiring but the views are awesome. A lot of the trail is shaded (until the top) and that’s helpful. All was well until I came face to face with a bear, be careful.

Fantastic hike along the creek up to a small meadow. Numerous shallow stream crossings and shady spots to take breaks. Wild flowers everywhere.

As of 8/12 the road leading up to the camp ground was closed, due to unfinished road repair. It is a 3 mile hike to the camp ground and then another 1/2 mile to the group site and the trail head, where the hike begins.

The waterfall was beautiful. I couldn’t find away down that was safe for my dog but other than that it was an amazing hike

hiking
10 days ago

not enough signage to actually find the triangle. lost with kids was no bueno, gracias new mexico

hiking
12 days ago

First of all what a Trek!! I got 4.8 miles on my Apple Watch, but I’m pretty sure it was more. If it wasn’t for my husband being there before I think we would have lost the map due to poor cell service. This hike is incredibly difficult at certain points. It’s a straight up incline up the ski basin slopes. We hit almost 12,000 feet in elevation just to give you an idea. You go to the top of the towers where you would normally ski the big tesuque trail from the top. I recommend snacks and extra water in a backpack. It took us 4 hours there and back. And just remember what goes up must came down. The hike down was more awkward on your knees. But overall the view is worth it! All I’m saying is being prepared for a long hike. Enjoy the views!! We saw herd of cattle and lots of deer!!! Enjoy <3

Nice trail, well shaded. Leash requirement for dogs rarely followed/enforced.

Very nice easy hike through meadows and Aspen.

hiking
13 days ago

I loved this trail! Lots of interesting terrain and shade, lots of birds too. Beautiful view of canyon at end of trail, right before you loop back. We messed up and accidentally took Gonzales rd. and Barranza and looped back to Bezos Bench instead of Bezos Canyon, but still worthwhile. Took about 2 hrs with lots of pausing for pictures and two little dogs bent on sniffing everything.

hiking
13 days ago

Loved the uphill trail! The views were fantastic! Upon arrival 3 gorgeous springs were seen with Crystal clear water and little minnows that nibble at you, it was quite relaxing and a nice place to have lunch and hang a hammock. Further down I wasn't able to locate any additional springs but beautiful small waterfalls here and there.

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful hike. I headed up mid morning and got back early afternoon. More foot traffic as I was heading out. All the up was worth it! The lake and surrounding area was beautiful. Additional notes: ran into a cow herd on the way up. Peaceful forest. Trail is rocky. Download the map to help with the section after the switch in trails; trail was easily lost.

Road is rough to get there, but amazing.

Nice in summer because it is under full canopy. Many dogs off leash which is annoying.

hiking
15 days ago

Nice trail with great views. Very peaceful; I began at 7:30 a.m. and only saw a few other people while hiking. It's definitely a rocky climb, and the downhill is slippery in places. Took less than two hours from the trailhead.

(Drove in from Houston last night, hiked Baldy today.)

Beautiful, long, reasonably hard hike.

The 3 creek (very small, more like “criks”) crossings were beautiful. At 3.5 (half way to top), there is a nice creek to rest or cool off your feet.

The terrain is (mostly) loose rock. I just wore tennis shoes (mistake).

It is an “up” then long ramp “down”, then “up” until you reach baldy.

The last mile is tough. I had to walk 100 steps, then rest. Of course, my heart was racing the entire time due altitude (and fat belly...ha).

Once you get to top, keep walking to the next ridge (maybe 40 yards) and you look down on a beautiful lake (Lake Catherine...I think.)

The locals love this one. If you aren’t used to the altitude, just take breaks so you don’t blow yourself up. It’ll still be tough.

I was committed to walking slowly enough for this hike to take all day. It did. 5 hours out. 4 hours back.

All in all, beautiful hike. As I was about making my way to summit, a man said to me “your almost there, it’s worth it.” He was right. Wow. 360 degrees of Gods beautiful creation.

(One note: as I was leaving the state police where setting up to search for a lost hiker. It’s a beautiful, well marked hike, but just be careful.)

Great views along the trail and at the peak. Rocky trail with debris on steep sections that make footing difficult—I slipped and fell once.

ahh ok. I am glad to see this trail is rated difficult! I thought I was just in bad shape! seriously this trail definitely has some really steep stretches that makes it quite exhausting but really worth it! beautiful waterfall along the way and the lake is crystal clear! my twelve year old made it too and I am nearly 50 and not in the best shape so it's not that difficult! I also heard a hermit thrush along the way. beautiful bird with a flute voice!! overall a great hike!!

Beautiful trail. First section is quiet and inside an Aspen grove, with several little streams along the way. Not a ton of wildflowers, but definitely enough to add color. It took me about an hour to get to the first outlook point; hiking up to the ski lift area took another hour and a half after that. Enjoy!

19 days ago

Nice trail through a grove of Aspens. Would be super in October. I question the level of difficulty. Hard climb. 18% incline for 1 1/4 miles. View at the top is worth the climb.

hiking
19 days ago

July 29 2018. Gorgeous day to be hiking considering all the recent heavy rain around Santa Fe. Today clear skies and nothing but beauty every where you look. This hike out and back was right at 7 miles. I too took a few wrong turns and had to back track out. I do agree the trail is a bit hard to follow after the Windsor /Nambe fork. There is a high and a low trail, I suggest following the lower trail near the creek. After crossing the creek continue on - from here the remaining portion of the trail is frickin' hard. Upon arriving at the Lake, all the sweat was more than worth it. The Lake was crystal clear and just sparkled with the sun's reflection. Amazingly beautiful. Enjoy.

hiking
20 days ago

I have to agree with everyone else’s reviews. This was a challenge and I am in decent shape. Loved the breathtaking views . Ran out of time to get to the top so I will be definitely be coming back . Its a weekend so it was busy but everyone was friendly and sweet furbabies all around. The all trails kept us on track and we got to scramble up a few rocks too !

Awesome! Steady decline for the first half, the second half is uphill. Lots of shade and breeze. Would definitely recommend!

One of my fave day hikes

hiking
25 days ago

It was absolutely beautiful but we lost the trail and were wondering around for a while. The lake was amazing and cold !
Hiking took us around 6 hours total including our stop by the lake for 2 hours. We are not expert hikers..

hiking
26 days 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.

on Aspen Vista Trail

26 days ago

Some shade on the lower half in summer, which is nice. Go up early on summer and fall weekends if you want to beat the crowds. The aspen and pine are showing drought stress this year, but it’s still a fabulous hike. The width makes for a more sociable trail. It’s also fun in winter for snowshoes or xcountry skis.

One of the greatest assets especially for being 25 minutes from town. Hike in & out day trip style or backpack it for an awesome scenic two day adventure

Will travel another 100 miles to take this hike again! loved it, and strongly suggest to take the fork to the right, the incline is easier. Lots of shade, and water.

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