Lake Katherine via Winsor Trail is a 13.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Tererro, New Mexico that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,090 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

backpacking
1 month ago

Be prepared for this trail. It is not moderate, it is hard for a 50-years old person who does not hike much but pretty fit. There are couple of suggestions: get acclimatized before you go; be prepared for long steep hike. There were hikers on Windsor trail up to Skyline trail, but we have not seen anybody from Baldy turnoff to lake Katherine and back (we used Skyline trail that goes east and meets Windsor trail to come back) the other day. So, be prepared if you get lost. We camped before we reached the lake and hike to the lake in the morning. On the way back, "east" Skyline trail from Katherine lake to Windsor Trail conjunction is not properly marked. There is a trail there, it is not far from Skyline trail and comes to that junction, so, do not worry if your GPS will show that you are off Skyline trail on your way back. Take a piece of paper and a pen to leave your names at the trail head, just in case you get lost and rangers look for you. The distance is not 13 miles, it is over 15 miles. It took us about 8 hours to get to camping before we reached the lake, we stopped three times for 30 min, and many times to catch our breath. No phone coverage.

backpacking
1 month ago

Made an overnight loop going past Lake Katherine to Spirit Lake then merged back with the main trail. Forested section to Spirit Lake was boring, but not difficult at all. Going up Santa Fe Baldy is worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful Hike! Very steep. This is on the hard side of moderate, so make sure you're mentally prepared for it. Very worth the effort. Lake Katherine has amazing camp sites and a gorgeous view. We got somewhat lost towards the end, but were able to find our way eventually. Make sure to follow the piles of rocks laid out, as the trail isn't mark well beyond that. Very active trail, with tons of experienced hikers. If you get lost you'll always have someone to help!

Happy trailing!

backpacking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike! Steep and a little rocky toward the top and the switchbacks going down from Baldy to Katherine are very narrow. For someone afraid of heights (me) it seems scary at first but is manageable and the views out are incredible. We backpacked out to Katerine, camped over night, and hiked out on Sunday. The lake was busy but everyone was spread out enough that you didn't notice. We did the hike in in about 4 hours and out in 3 with little or no stopping. Definitely recommend!

backpacking
3 months ago

We took our dog and slept at Lake Katherine. Started out on the Windsor Trail and then took 254 past Spirit Lake and up to Lake Katherine. The trail from SL to LK was a little tricky to find (quick left after the stream and straight up). This section was much less maintained than the rest of the trail but we were still able to navigate it. LK is very pretty and the trail down (251) was an easy downhill. We recommend!

hiking
3 months ago

This is a wonderful hike! It’s actually 15.2 miles, not 13.1, so plan on taking the entire day.

3 months ago

Beautiful hike! We did it round trip in one day via the skyline route. This was a hard route, straight up w/lots of rock climbing and the trail was hard to find. But using the app helped us a lot. My Apple Watch recorded the distance at 17 round trip. The lake was so amazing and worth it!

5 months ago

Great hike or a backpacking trip! No snow and some decent wind at the top of the Mount Baldy turn off

hiking
6 months ago

Definitely worth the miles for some great views along the way and especially at the top. The elevation got us a little as we’re used to life at 500’. Had to stop at the Baldy Santa Fe turn off as there was still a heavy coating of snow heading to Lake Katherine.

camping
Monday, September 25, 2017

Amazing hike to Lake Katherine camped at elv. 11,776 ft.: seven other brave enthusiast braved the heavy rain/snow and lodged in the mystic beauty on slopes of Santa Fe Baldy...

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Incredible lake. Hiked first to Santa Fe Baldy and then on to Lake Katherine with my husband and dog yesterday. 16.6 total miles roundtrip in 8.5 hours. Lake Katherine is much larger than nearby Nambe and Spirit Lakes. The water is so clear! Only one other group there while were there. Trail is fairly easy to follow. No place to camp nearby (and don't camp within 200 feet of the lake!), but lots of nice rocks to eat lunch. Plenty of parking at the Ski Basin parking lot across the road from the trailhead. For those with dogs, there were several stream crossings that were running well for our dog to drink from. Highly recommend!

hiking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Beautiful high mountain lake. Tae a mask, as the National Forest signs do not identify destinations (lie Baldy or Lake Katherine. The signs only list the trail numbers. My Apple Watch showed a total distance of 15.25 miles, although I took a couple short detours. The first 0.75 miles is reasonably steep, then it levels out for about 4 miles. You hike up to the saddle below Baldy, go over the saddle and down several switchbacks to the final stretch into Lake Katherine. Watch for the rock piles, as the trail sometimes becomes indistinct. The lake is beautiful and in a gorgeous setting. I did this as a day hike in approximately eight hours.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Tough, but awesome trail. Can't wait to go again!

backpacking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My wife and I just backpacked for a couple day at lake Katherine for the first time. We really enjoyed ourselves but this was also the hardest trail we have ever backpacked. Make sure you give yourself lots of extra time, it took us about 7-8 hours. My wife also took a small fall on the loose rocks. That being said the views were amazing and we will definitely be back!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Decent hike in, nothing too crazy. Went during the week and only a couple other people camping there. Heard it can get busy on the weekends! Loads of marmots though!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

excellent hike, great scenery although quite strenuous...take mosquito repellent...

backpacking
Friday, June 16, 2017

Went there 3/13-15 and didn't need any snow shoes or traction aides. There was only one part of the skyline trail right after the fork to go up to Baldy which required some minor route finding to navigate around the snow. Within the next week or so that section should melt out.

backpacking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

Tried to make it to the lake last weekend​, but was not able to due to the snow. I honestly wasn't expecting that much snow this late into the year. The hike was still awesome with lots of streams for water and there is plenty of meadows to set up camp at a lower elevation, but don't expect to make it to Lake Katherine without snow shoes this time of year.

backpacking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Do not take this trail early in the year. I recently attempted the hike into the lake, and there was far too much snow. The trail seems really nice and fairly easy, but it's near impassable in the snow. I'd recommend waiting until June or later.

trail running
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

By far my favorite hike/trail run in the Santa Fe area!! I hiked Baldy and then trekked down to Lake Katherine. Some steep exposed areas but overall fairly moderate. Can't wait to try it in the winter.

backpacking
Thursday, October 13, 2016

This is a beautiful train with some tricky and steep parts, but overall, not that bad. The lake is incredible, surrounded by rocky peaks. We did a three day backpacking trip and stopping sometimes to do some rock climbing and rappelling.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

gorgeous. no other words. absolutely beautiful!
start early :)

Monday, October 03, 2016

It was a great trail. Slightly above my skill level, but great scenery.

I feel like it was longer than 6.6 miles one way. I could be wrong but my Fitbit tracked it at over 11 miles just on the journey to the lake.

Only downside other than it being a longer trail than expected was the lack of firewood when getting to Lake Katherine. There were 4 other groups of campers at the lake when we went and everyone was having a hard time finding any wood for fires. Definitely being a burner if you intend on doing some cooking.

hiking
Monday, October 03, 2016

Beautiful hike. It was a bit challenging, but enjoyed it thoroughly.

hiking
Monday, March 21, 2016

This is a review for those looking at a spring hike/backpack. We set out to backpack the loop on 3/19, starting with 254, and ending with 271. Trail 254 is 100% impassable if you don't have snowshoes (3-5 foot snowdrifts). Our group did not have them, and we were put into a survival situation. 271 however is fantastic, being on the sunny side of the mountain. With that said, you will lose trail 271 about 3/4 way from Stewart lake when you encounter the bad snow. There are no indicators, or clear paths. Just go due NW from the sign though if you are brave enough. Trail 271 took us 2hrs 45min to descend from Stewart. We foolishly pushed through 254 up to Stewart and it took us 8 hours. The lake was frozen over, but the views were incredible none the less. The views from 271 were also incredible on many areas and made 254 a very unnecessary experience. Lake Katherine is 2.75 miles past Stewart. That was our goal, we did not make it.

camping
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hiked to Lake Katherine at the beginning of October. We made a loop by going up the Windsor Ridge Trail past Stewart Lake (our bail-out option around mile 5), south on the Skyline Trail to the Windsor Trail up to Katherine. The last 1.5 miles are a bit of a climb, and remember that you're SE of the peaks so light starts to disappear about an hour before sunset. We headed down the Windsor Trail the next morning, which is about a 9 miles, or 1 mile more than up.

Lake Katherine is beautiful save for all of the guerrilla fire pits and garbage previous people have left in said fire pits around the lake. It's pretty well marked (and a common thing) to not camp or have a fire within 200 ft of the lake, but some people don't seem to "get it". I guess they can't read or something. There are plenty of campsites outside 200ft of the lake. The garbage they've left behind in their fire pits doesn't always stay there. It's a bit sad to see the area used up to that extent.

Aside from that, the lake and basin are gorgeous. It was a bit windy (an understatement) which made it cold but not unbearable if you've packed properly.

camping
Monday, September 07, 2015

This is the first trail that I have ever completed and I had a blast. I went in a group of 3 and we were very inexperienced but still able to complete the trail in a decent time. It does get a little chilly at night during this time of year but my sleeping bag kept me warm and we were able to make a campfire pretty easily. Lake Katherine was pretty crowded when we went but I'm assuming that is because we went during labor day weekend.

hiking
Thursday, September 03, 2015

This is a beautiful lake sitting right underneath Baldy Mountain. Its a 4 star because it is can be crowded at times

camping
Monday, August 31, 2015

Lake Katherine is a beautiful spot in Mew Mexico, but no longer a destination, in my opinion. The governmental agency that is in charge of the Pecos Wilderness has decided that all lakes in the "WIlderness" are off limits to camping. They don't officially say no camping, but they have placed a 200 foot moratorium around all the lakes designated as a no camping zone. Any area 200 feet away from Lake Katherine is unsuitable for camping (too rocky, too steep). So effectively, no camping at Lake Katherine anymore. Also no camping at Beatty's Cabin or Pecos Falls. We camped at the only place along the lake (08/2015) about 75 feet from the edge of the lake (already an obvious established camp site) and was accosted by a "volunteer forest ranger" who never introduced himself to us personally or identified himself to us. ( We over heard him tell another hiker from New Hampshire that was what he was.) He said "You know you are camping illegally, but I guess you you don't give a shit" . He then stomped off and said he was going to "call it in". Twenty minutes later he re-entered our camp site and started throwing rotten wood that was charred from previous campers' camp fires into Lake Katherine. I suppose he thought it was our fire wood and by making it wet, we couldn't use it to make a fire. We thought....knock yourself out chump. Not our fire wood. We were using butane stoves. He then left after taking a photograph of our tents. (our tents are light green and very inobtrusive to the environment). Anyway, our encounter with that jackass completely soured our trip and I would not recommend backpacking into the Pecos Wilderness as any "destination" is off limits. If you want to day hike a round trip of 17 miles to take a picture of the lake and eat a sandwich........enjoy. The whole way back to our vehicle, we kept thinking we might be stopped by a Forest Service swat team. I won't be going back!

hiking
Thursday, September 04, 2014

This trip was difficult as it was my first backpacking trip. Aside from the hike, the view at Lake Katherine was amazing and beautiful and worth every step it took it get there. I would recommend this hike to anyone who has extra time to spend either the day before or the day after getting to Lake Katherine. The water is super clear and peaceful to look at. I would say if you only have the day to spend there, pack a nice lunch and take advantage of the views all around.

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