Serpent Lake Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Penasco, New Mexico that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.8 miles
1,624 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



3 months ago

Very nice lake hike trail. Worth noting that hike to lake is a steady uphill grind -- nothing difficult, but no flats to rest your legs. As of late June 2018, most steams were just a trickle, but enough for dogs to get a little drink. Well maintained trail and well worth the hike!

3 months ago

Hiked up to Serpent Lake on July 23rd with intent of hiking over the Jicarita and dropping down into the Santa Barbara CG on a two night excursion. Got dropped off at the Serpent Lake Trail Head around 11AM on a one-way trip. Made it up to Serpent Lake around 2:30PM. Around 6PM we got hit by a lightning, thunder, rain and wind storm that lasted till about midnight. We were equipped so it all became part of the adventure. With more rain in the forecast we decided not to trek over the mountain. Fortunately if you walk NE from the lake as you can look out to the East (~1500ft) you can get cell service (Verizon). I called my wife to pick us up at the drop off point later that morning.
Didn’t get the satisfaction of climbing over the mountain, but got a renewed appreciation for lighting and thunder at these elevations. Heed weather, especially if it has potential for lighting and thunder. We will plan another trip around a better weather forecast.

3 months ago

My husband and I hiked Serpent Lake and Jicarita Peak on Saturday 7/28 with our dog. From 518, take FR 161. There is a large parking area at the end of the road. The road is very rough in spots; I wouldn't want to drive anything without a decent amount of ground clearance on it.

The trail was very muddy when we hiked it due to monsoons. There is also a lot of horse poop. It is well traveled and easy to follow, though rocky. The turnoff to Serpent Lake is well marked. The lake was much smaller than expected.. we didn't think it was as nice as other lakes we have been to in the area.

We ended up with just over 12 miles roundtrip with Serpent Lake and Jicarita Peak. This is a nice hike to get away from crowds; we only saw a few other groups all day.

10 months ago

Monday, September 18, 2017

Well maintained trail

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nice trail, wide and easily hiked, Definitely not a difficult trail, my watch clocked it at 8 miles total round trip. I think a lot of horse traffic goes on trail.
A bit muddy but not too bad, very well maintained considering where it is. A bit of a drive from 518 but fun.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beautiful trail. I found Porcinis and wild strawberries multiple places along the trail. The view of Jicarita at the end was very nice. Plenty of water along the way for dogs. I went on a Monday and didn't see anyone else the entire hike. More of a moderate than a difficult but the elevation is high so maybe difficult if you're from lower elevation. It was very muddy due to monsoon.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Amazing hike! It wasn't too bad or hard. There's only like two switch backs, but the view is amazing once you're there. Saw lots of marmots and sheep!

Friday, June 30, 2017

My wife and I hiked this trail on 06-28-17. We passed the cutoff to Serpent lake and followed the trail up onto the ridge line and onto Jicarita Peak, 12,800 ft. From the trailhead it was about 12 miles round trip, climbing 2500ft to the peak. It's a pretty strenuous hike up to the ridge line from the serpent lake cutoff. Once on top it smooths out for awhile until you reach the base of the peak. But beware, the final stretch to reach the top is a fairly steep climb of about 250ft. You're never really that close to an edge and although strenuous, it is a fairly safe climb. We saw a few marmots, and herd of bighorn sheep, who by the way are not afraid of people and will approach very close to you.

There were a few small sections of the trail covered in snow, but were easily traversed around. We went at a slow pace, taking several breaks. It took us 5 hours to reach the peak and 4 hours to get down.

It's a beautiful hike, the views from the peak are incredible!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Be aware that there is a cut off road in order to get to the trail head! Very scenic and beautiful trail. Lots of wild life, be aware if traveling with a dog theres a lot of interesting smells and animals that could spike there interest. Very green and wet this time of year! Once you get to the top it's quite the view to take in!

Friday, May 26, 2017

The trail is currently under snow and navigation can be a problem. However, the trail is well blazed and in most places forms a prominent corridor through the trees. (The corridor is less obvious at the top, where you near the tree line. Also, there is a hazard to navigation where the trail makes an unexpected and sharp turn in the woods that is easy to miss on descent). Gorgeous spot! Lots more details at

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beautiful trail. The meadow and small pond (serpent lake) are well worth the hike which is actually around 8 miles round trip.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Loved this trail! It's around 3.6 miles one way to the lake. You gain around 1500ft from trailhead to the Serpent Lake sign, then drop down quite a bit to go to the lake. The lake area is beautiful! Lots of great camp sites around the trees, between the lake and a meadow. There is a stream you cross coming into the lake area which is the best place to refill on water. The lake water can be used but the stream is much clearer. We didn't hike to Jicarita Peak this time, but will be back soon to do it as a day hike.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The hike seemed tough but mostly from the altitude, our cell phone app listed the beginning altitude at 10,400'. The trail was difficult, as stated in previous reviews, heavy trail use by horses have made the trail rocky and muddy in places but easy to follow. Once up to the lake and you get a glimpse of the surrounding landscape you forget about the hike up, it is beautiful. A guide book we used for this hike listed the distance to the lake at 3.3 miles one way which I tend to believe. You should hike the trail past the Serpent Lake turn off to the ridge, it is not that far and has a spectacular view. Excellent sites around the lake for camping.

Monday, March 14, 2016

We did this trail in August of 2015. Got to the trailhead from Texas at about midnight or so and slept in the truck. Challenging hike especially loaded down with gear. Absolutely beautiful aside from the erosion on the trail due to heavy horse use. We lucked out and went on a weekend that the weather was less than ideal for day hikers. We packed out about 10 lbs of trash. 3 liter soda bottles, full cans of food that had sat for awhile and assorted trash.
We plan on going back this summer a few times and maybe checking out some other spots in the area too.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This lake seems to be a favorite spot for many, and can get crowded sometimes on weekends. Angostura trail 493 accesses the Alamitos Trailhead off of Forest Road 89 and is well marked all the way to Serpent Lake.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I called the Carson National Forest Ranger Station for a hearty hike for a girl alone with no gear. The incline was tough, but worth the effort. The sign pointing down to Serpent Lake is only visible coming down the trail, so be on the lookout. The descent down to the lake isn't technical, but challenging. I was the only person there and saw tons of wildlife. I was even spied on by a curious Marmot.

The trail is poorly marked and there were plenty of downed trees. I followed hoof prints in the snow on the way up and got lost on deer trails on the way back. Luckily, I followed the river and got back on trail just before I started to seriously worry. I don't think that would be a problem deep in the season, but this is not a hike I would do alone again.

3 months ago

3 months ago

4 months ago

6 months ago

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017