Aspen Ranch Loop

HARD 6 reviews
#46 of 74 trails in

Aspen Ranch Loop is a 6.4 mile loop trail located near Santa Fe, New Mexico that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.4 miles
1,630 feet

dog friendly



2 months ago

Gorgeous fall-time hike. Starting at Norski parking lot toward Ski Basin (north). Make sure you do not step up to the Norski trail. The Windsor trail leaves from the north end of the parking lot. After 30 minutes and crossing the creek, turn left on to the Rio En Medio trail, heading down-hill along the creek. Beautimous and easy. If you later reach a fence line blocking the trail, you will have a steep up-hill portion before reaching the Aspen Ranch trail head (that means you did not turn left at an un-marked fork) Following the Ranch Road south is an easy passage and took one hour. We encountered nothing but two ranch trucks hauling cows. Turn left onto Windsor Trail for the last 2 miles. That's a bit of huffin' and puffin' up-hill to get back to the 10,000 foot level and parking lot. All together: 7.5 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes including picture taking and lunch picnic. A few nice panoramic views and plenty of colorful Aspen trees.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

So, the upper Rio en Medio and upper Windsor trail portions of this hike are fantastic. The lower Windsor trail portion of the hike is beautiful, but heavily trafficked by mountain bikers - not really an problem, but it's good to be aware of the fact.

The 1/3 of this hike that's on CR 102 is basically what it sounds like - walking up a narrow dirt road that you have to share with vehicles heading to and from campsites. It's not horrible, but it's not really any fun, either. I'd personally rather just do an out and back further on the Windsor or explore the entire upper/lower Rio en Medio if time permits.

FWIW, the Windsor leg is very well maintained and well marked. It's an easy stroll. The upper Rio en Medio portion is much more difficult, with several sloped areas full of loose rock. Totally doable, even for people in less than tip-top shape, but worth knowing about ahead of time. It wouldn't be a bad idea to pack a splint or ace bandage and some band aids just in case.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Great hike! Steady climb, but not strenuous. Just high altitude for this sea level gal!

3 months ago

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Friday, October 05, 2012