Nambe Lake Trail

HARD 139 reviews
#2 of 74 trails in

Nambe Lake Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Fe, New Mexico that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2089 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

13 days ago

Great trail. Short. Beautiful falls.

23 days ago

This a a great hike with lots of up. As folks have noted trail can be hard to follow at times after the turnoff to Nambe Lake trail 400. It took us about 4 hours including about 20 minutes at the lake. There was still ice on the stream which made for some cool pics.

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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)

1 month ago

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!

1 month 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.

1 month ago

Lake wasn’t much to see, but the hike up was beautiful and exhilarating.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is so beautiful! It’s pretty easy going with the steepest inclines at the start and at the end. If you go this weekend I would recommend micro spikes as the second half is pretty icy. The lake is still frozen but so beautiful. Maybe my favorite hike in NM so far

hiking
2 months ago

completed the trail in late March. Very slippy at the beginning due to the ice. The snow is very deep at several sections near the lake. Proper equipment (gaiters and waterproof hiking boots) is recommended at this time of year . I won't rate it hard in the warmer seasons when there is no snow. Approximate 6 hours for the in-and-out hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Just did this trail today (February), and there was a ton of snow. Unfortunately we didn’t make it all the way to the lake since we weren’t in the proper gear (snow shoes and trekking poles). We got as far as we could and then the trail got too steep and the snow got too deep. I will definitely be coming back in the spring/summer!!

hiking
4 months ago

We hiked the Nambe Trail in June 2017 with 6 adults, 5 teens and an Australian Shepherd. It was one of our favorite hikes ever. A lot of the trail in the last mile or so is not well marked and hard to follow but we read enough online ahead of time to be able to find the lake at the end. Highly recommend to seasoned hikers.

hiking
4 months ago

We hiked this last September, which was the perfect time to go with the aspens starting to turn. First and last parts of the trail are steep but not bad, and the middle is flat, so I would rate this as moderate instead of hard. The last section isn't well marked, but keep heading upwards and you'll find the lake.

backpacking
5 months ago

This trail was great! The start of the trail (at Windsor trail head) was a steep climb getting you ready for what was in store when you got to the last 1 - 3/4 mile. As previously stated in the other reviews, the last bit of the hike wasn’t well marked, but through the ice we were able to navigate the correct path, leading to breathtaking views. We were able to stand on the frozen lake. Hiking the trail in December definitely added difficulty with the steep slippery climbs. Definitely wanting to hike this again in the summer!!! Must do!

hiking
5 months ago

Tough trail but well worth your trouble!

backpacking
5 months ago

Super fun and the dogs loved swimming in the lake while we ate lunch!

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike. Afternoon, no-one was on the trail. It was awesome having the place to myself. A little steep and slippery at the end as I was there after a rare significant rain shower. Worth going to the falls, view is fantastic.

hiking
6 months ago

Amazing trail! The climb was rather challenging, but well worth it. However, the final 3/4-1 mile the trail is very difficult to follow as it seemingly appears and disappears at random. I ran into several people trying to get back on trail. I would love to hike this in the summer and see if the lack of snow/ice made the trail any easier to follow.

7 months ago

The last bit is quite difficult but the view at the lake is definitely worth it.

hiking
7 months ago

Sitting on the edge of the lake as I type this... what a beautiful trail. It exceeded all of our expectations. Sadly, we missed the turning of the aspens but we soon forgot about that as there is so much more scenery to take it. It is mostly uphill on the way to the lake, definitely not for the faint of heart or the out of shape. Will definitely come back. 100% recommend to anyone looking for a challenging climb and breathtaking views.

hiking
7 months ago

Challenging, but rewarding hike!

hiking
8 months ago

This was the first difficult trail I did during my time in NM. It was very challenging for me due to the steep incline (that at seems to never end) and my lack of acclimation to the altitude at the time I completed it. That being said, the creek along much of the trail and surrounding trees and flowers are very pretty. The lake is small and shallow but still very pretty. It was really cool to me, coming from SC, to see how much the surroundings changed along the trail throughout the hike (most trails in the Santa Fe National Forest are this way). I was most impressed with myself for being able to make it to the lake, despite being passed by a guy who was trail running up it! Pretty cool hike to do if you are in the area. To say the trail is "rocky" is an understatement as parts of the trails are nothing but rocks... be sure to wear your hiking boots!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a great hike! Once you turn off the Windsor trail it gets quite steep, and you think we must be close at least 3x before you are actually close. But it’s worth the effort! There are lots of paths up to the lake, they all go the same place, just stay close to the creek and you’ll be fine. My gps said it was just under 8 miles, so a bit more than it’s listed as.

hiking
9 months ago

9/16 Nambe Lake hike starts at the Santa Fe Ski Area parking lot. There are bathrooms at the trailhead (stinky but adequate). The trail starts off fairly steep, then levels off at a ridge line with a fence. Evergreens give way to Aspens, some just starting to turn. You can glimpse through the trees the opposite ridge and peaks. You lose elevation and then hit a stream where the next tough assent starts. It has been stated in a few reviews but I’ll confirm that the path is not well marked. If you are heading up the valley with the stream you are probably doing okay. My Alltrails map with my location tracker was handy to reassure us since neither me nor my companion had done this trail before. Lots of roots and rocks so take care and stop as needed.
The lake is at the base of a rock slide where the two ridges meet. People were on the ridge ~1000 feet above us. The lake is a nice peaceful reward for a strenuous climb. I walked around the lake and took pictures. We took some time to have lunch and then headed back.

hiking
9 months ago

The last mile is pretty exhausting, but the lake was worth the effort.

9 months ago

Wow! Hard but worth the walk! Trail is not well marked so pay attention! It took us about 3 hrs to get there and 2 hours home! First section is a pretty good climb with the second section a bit flatter but rocky terrain! Third section is a big climb, keep going it's worth it! Be sure to walk around the lake once you get there as every view is spectacular!

hiking
9 months ago

Tough incline, but beautiful lake at the top. Stream flows with trail for peaceful bonus. Not well marked, so bring a map. Bring snacks and plenty of water. Recommend hiking boots and camelbacks. Don't bring your dogs unless that can handle the incline and stream crossings. We saw too many dogs on the trail that were struggling. Several hikers were complaining at the top because they were wearing sneakers, ran out of water and didn't bring food. Be prepared.

hiking
9 months ago

It was a great Hike! We are beginners and probably were not ready. We took our time though and it was definitely with the work. Lots of uphill and pretty rocky but I loved it!

9 months ago

Fantastic trail. Just beautiful !

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