Nambe Lake Trail

HARD 126 reviews
#2 of 73 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

hiking
1 day 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
29 days 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
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 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
3 months ago

Tough trail but well worth your trouble!

backpacking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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
4 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.

5 months ago

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

hiking
5 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
5 months ago

Challenging, but rewarding hike!

hiking
6 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
6 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
7 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
7 months ago

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

7 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
7 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
7 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!

7 months ago

Fantastic trail. Just beautiful !

7 months ago

Lost the trail a few times but overall a very pretty hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Overall a nice trail, but the trail is a little hard to follow as you get closer to the lake. On a weekday there were a few other groups, but it wasn't crowded. On a sunny day it was still nice and cool at the lake with beautiful views.

hiking
8 months ago

Trail is somewhat poorly marked after the split off to Nambe, the trail is easier on the left side of the river going up. However if you do go off trail onthewayup you are rewarded with perhaps the best view of the whole hike when you hit the big boulder field and rock cliff off to the right of the actual trail. You can see this area's elevation change clearly on the topographical map of the trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Did Nambe Lake with my husband and dog on Sunday 8/13. Started around 10:30 AM. The hike is a little over 3 miles each way. The first mile is fairly steep but not too rocky. The second mile gets a little rockier but is mostly level/downhill. At a little over 2 miles, the trail splits; stay to the right for Nambe Lake and left to continue to Lake Katherine. The last mile is rather difficult, as it is rocky and steep. The trail gets a bit hard to follow. The lake is small but very pretty. There are a few nice places to have lunch. Unfortunately, some people were not following the signs (and common sense guidelines) not to camp within 200 feet of the lake. There are a few river crossings, but they weren't challenging. It took us about 1:40 to get to the lake and 1:30 to come back. The unfortunate thing about this trail is that it is heavily traveled. On the way back to the car, we had to stop many times for large groups, and some slower groups in front of us refused to let us pass. There is plenty of parking in a large lot across the road from the trailhead. I don't think I'll do this trail again. If I do, I'll start earlier to avoid some of the crowds. Overall, I would rate it as more moderate than hard.

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely a hike of consistent elevation change with some pretty steep climbs, but this trail is beautiful and the lake is a great place to wind down, have a drink, and eat some lunch in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Though it's a difficult hike it's well worth it.

8 months ago

Wear your water shoes! Weekends are busy.

8 months ago

Great views of aspens and meadows about a five hour out and back hike at a leisurely pace

hiking
9 months ago

It's hard. It's worth it.

9 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike! From wandering through the aspen groves to following the mountain stream to the well-earned reward of Nambe Lake after a challenging uphill trek - this was every thing I look for in a hike!

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