Stewart Lake Trail

MODERATE 33 reviews
#10 of 74 trails in

Stewart Lake Trail is a 11.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Fe, New Mexico that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2296 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Head north out of Pecos on 63, through Tererro, to Cowles. Park at the Cowles parking area on the Pecos River.

backpacking
19 days ago

Park at cowles camp and walk down the main road to the right a bit to find the trailhead. Elevation was a bit challenging for a Texan coming from sea level with a 40lb bag. Not too bad if you can take your time though. Some great valley views along the way. Camping on lake Stewart was secluded and amazing. Had an accessible water creek right next to camp. Day hike to lake katherine the next day was amazing, but even steeper (6 mile round trip). Beautiful ridge! We did it as a loop and took Windsor trail back down the mountain on 3rd day. Beware if you do there are 2 trails, Windsor creek (shorter, but sign said closed) and Windsor to the right (a few miles longer, epic aspens, but you’ll get to a different parking lot and have +1 mile back to cowels). Great trip.

backpacking
1 month ago

The lake area was totally free of snow this past weekend. The hike length in was just right for my seven-year-old daughter. (She was beginning to complain in the last mile before we got there, but she still had the energy to explore the lake.) We spent the night and headed back the next morning. Note that signs along the trail do not direct you to Stewart lake. Instead they tell you the trail name and/or the trail number. If you know the trail numbers to get to Stewart Lake from the Cowles parking lot (Trail #271 and #251), you should be able to find your way. Also, you come to a small pond on trail #251 right before you reach Stewart lake. You need to go another, say, 0.25 miles to reach Stewart Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

trail condition is good in early April.

backpacking
10 months ago

One of the few trails that open early in the Pecos Wilderness due to the southern exposure on Winsor Ridge. Beautiful aspen stands and some Gambel's oak for fall colors, and I've seen coyotes, deer, elk, and grouse, so it's a great trail for wildlife viewing. I've also heard turkey's in the trees. Stewart lake is beautiful, but not many places to camp because of the F.S. regulation of not being able to camp in the lake basin.

backpacking
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yooooooo why did none of you reviewers warn me about how there's not actual signage for Stewart's? You have to follow the sign for Johnson, apparently. I'm not sure, because we never made it to Stewart's. Us passing the sign and heading several miles in the wrong direction turned this into more of a failed suicide attempt than a one-nighter, and since Stewart's is apparantley a bit beyond Johnson we just collapsed at the first lake we got to.

That being said, my review should reflect the actual trail. Which is lovely. Very gradual incline the entire way, several beautiful aspen stands, and multiple water sources along the way. The information calls this "heavily trafficked," and I would agree if you're going on a weekend. We hiked in on a Sunday and passed many groups on their way , but had the whole lake to ourselves that night. Don't trust the distance estimates of people hiking out - they've been hiking downhill the whole time!!

hiking
Friday, June 09, 2017

Anyone know if the trail is passable at the moment. Snow and trees down?

backpacking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

This was my first ever back packing trip, and this was an excellent trail for it. The signs aren't marked along the trail for Stewart, but the map at the trail head tells you which trail to take. The trail is very well maintained at least, and when I got to Stewart Lake itself, I basically had the whole thing all to myself. It was a gorgeous hike, and I appreciated the return trip being almost entirely downhill. That 2000 foot elevation climb is pretty rough.

backpacking
Saturday, June 03, 2017

Gorgeous hike and very gradual incline the entire route; however, the route is more like 7.4 miles from the marked trailhead to Stewart Lake for a total of about 15 miles round trip, for your planning purposes.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Very easy trail for beginners to learn the ropes of backpacking! Also very gorgeous and perfect weather. I recommend late spring-summer-early fall.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

I hiked this last weekend. the first I have hiked in the Pecos and I was left speechless and breathless.
its moderate difficulty and long if just going in and back out. so worth it though. amazing views. aspens. creek. lakes. if you have not hiked this trail...fix that and soon!

backpacking
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My ten year old son and I had a great time on this trail and up by Stewart Lake (we did easily find a spot 200 feet away).

The trail is not super difficult and offers amazing foliage and a couple great views along the way, not to mention great shade.

fishing
Thursday, September 03, 2015

Beautiful lake, great fishing

hiking
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I went camping for the weekend and was unexpectedly asked to go on a day hiking adventure which ended up to be Stewart Lake. The views hiking on the trail leading up to Stewart Lake was beautiful in every direction. Not many hikers on the trail so I imagine we went at a great time. The Lake was peaceful, a great place to relax and read for a bit before descending back to our campsite. Beautiful place to see!

hiking
Friday, January 31, 2014

I hike a lot and I have to say this was one of the toughest hikes I have done. It was harder for me than a few 14er's I have done. My dogs were with me and we did it on Jan 30th. What made it hard was hiking in the snow the last few miles. Be prepared once you start at the Pecos River you need to hike up. You will see a sign to Windsor Trail. Know that you will not see a sign again for about six miles. Go left and it will take you to Stewart Lake.
Once I got up to the top with my dogs I was exhausted and I'm in incredible shape. We sat down on this bridge to have some snacks and take pictures. Well right away I saw to coyotes (might have been wolves) walking on the lake towards the other side. One stopped dead in its tracks and looked at us for a while. Then I saw another one cross the lake. From experience when I have my dogs the coyotes like to circle back around and come up from behind you. Because of these times I do hike with a 9mm. We got our stuff and headed back down the mountain. Did not see anymore wildlife but there was fresh Elk droppings all along the trail.
It's a pretty hike but you can see a lot of damage from the fires. Also many big trees are down on the trail.

hiking
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nice to get away fr crowds. Avg 2 mi/HR

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Friday, June 16, 2017

backpacking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

hiking
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Monday, December 19, 2016

backpacking
Friday, October 14, 2016

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