Explore the most popular forest trails near Antonito with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I’ve hiked this trail three times, all in August. Its biggest difficulty is that the first part is heavily used by cattle, so as you are struggling up the early steeper part of the trail you must also contend with wall to wall slop. After a mile or so this is not such a problem. Overall not a difficult trail with pretty scenery. The lake is lovely, maintained by beavers. I’d give this trail 4 stars if it weren’t for the muck.

I’ve hiked this trail 3 times, all in August. It is a religious experience to me, to be up under the sky on those miles of grassland. No bugs, but even in August there’s still a bit of a detour around that one marshy area. Not difficult except the first 3/4 mile if you’re not used to the elevation (10,000 feet). I’ve never met anyone in the trail except a sheep herder named Rego from Oaxaca and his horse.

scenic driving
6 months ago

We just did this drive this past June (2017) and it was well worth the extra miles to get back to Santa Fe and eventually I-25. Starting in Antonito, CO, the road travels west and follows the Conejos river for about half the distance of this trip. Lots of places to stop and wet a line if you enjoy fishing. Then it climbs up towards Cumbres Pass and goes past many more creeks and streams. You will begin to see the Toltec railroad tracks start to follow this last section now too. That is a popular train trip between the same two towns on a narrow gauge railway, and steam locomotives. This road would be awesome in the fall as there are many large stands of aspens along it. Once over the passes, then it descends to Chama, NM. Really nice country side all along here, and if you're lucky, you may catch the train leaving Chama and chugging uphill out of town. We were lucky enough to have this happen that day. Just look for the smoke from the train and find a place to pull over and watch!! If ever in south central Colorado, this is a nice easy drive covering some nice terrain in southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

Wonderful hike. Moderate, not too hard. Does require some stream crossing. We go sun, rain and hail all in late July AND there was still snow on the ground at 10,600 feet. Beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers and gorgeous views!

hiking
9 months ago

Recommend going with someone who has done the hike before. Just a few spots near the top where you can go in the wrong direction. This is a very challenging hike but still do-able. Kids included.

hiking
10 months ago

Wow! We made it! What an experience to see a lake named by one of our ancestors. The hike was really tough - after the 26+ switchbacks, there's still a ways to go. But the lake is worth it! It's even been stocked with fish!

hiking
10 months ago

Made it 2.25 miles before being chased away by thunderstorm.

hiking
10 months ago

Probably one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! I felt kind of like singing songs from The Sound of Music as I walked along. The various little lakes are beautiful, with frogs croaking away, so many different textures of beautiful different green colors, like a carpet! Red Lake was placid and beautiful, and we saw quite a few people fishing. I do have to add, however, the mosquitoes were fierce. If you have a hard time with mosquitoes or do not cover yourself completely this can be a very unfun hike in the lower areas. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

fishing
10 months ago

This was a tough one. I didn't think I would make it. Pace yourself. The views are EPIC! Also, don't get your hopes up once you pass that 26th switchback, there's more up ahead. Prepare for mosquitoes from hell and even worse weather. We made the hike only to stand for 3 hrs in the hail! Good luck.

10 months ago

Beautiful trail, very few people on it, magnificent views. One of my favorite so far in Colorado. Plus, the hike is rather leisurely. Bring some snacks for a picnic...you won't get better surroundings!

11 months ago

The hike ended up being 8 miles and that included going to the falls which is off to the side of the main trail. There are some fallen trees in the middle of the trail, a horse wouldn't be able to get around. If you're looking for your prince there's tons of frogs to choose from at the lake. Watch out for wood ticks along the way, I found 2 on my clothes on my way up. The GPS doesn't take you to the trail, if you look to the right just before turning on old bridge road there's a sign that points you in the right direction.

backpacking
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beautiful, magnificent trail. Being from Texas, I don't get to experience any mountainous trails such as this one, so I tagged along with a friend from Colorado and backpacked here for a few days. I recommend picking a time during the summer where the snow has melted to a manageable level, as it was quite difficult last year in early June.

backpacking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Just wanted give everyone a heads up that there have been a few vehicle break-ins at the Red Lake Trailhead recently. My truck was broken into the night of Aug 18-19, 2016. Talking to the Conejos County SO this seems to be happening to vehicles parked overnight. In our case, the rear window glass and driver's side window were broken and a few items were stolen out of the back. We were planning on staying 4-5 days up in the South San Juan Wilderness but thankfully we ran into a group on horseback who alerted us to what happened so we cut the trip short and headed back down to meet the SO Deputy and deal with the mess.

It's a shame we have to be paranoid about leaving a vehicle overnight at trailheads in Colorado now. I've been hiking and climbing and doing rescue work in Colorado for 35 years and have never encountered a problem. I've also traveled to South America driving a vehicle to climb remote mountains, left it for 10 days and never had an issue. I don't know if this is the new normal in Colorado or an isolated incident. According to the SO and other locals there is group of young "men" breaking into vehicles and homes across the county.

So, just a forewarning and beware if you leave your vehicle overnight at Red Lake Trailhead or other trailheads in the surrounding area. Take precautions and maybe drive a junk vehicle if you are going to stay for more than a day.

backpacking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

The lake is amazing. It is peaceful and unbelievably beautiful. The water from it tastes sweeter than any water I've ever tasted.
The trail is sometimes difficult to follow and isn't very well maintained. Watch closely for small cairns and be cautious you don't follow a false trail.

backpacking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

This is a fun trail with about 2500 ft of elevation gain at the front. It's beautiful and Ruybalid lake is well worth the hike. However, if you're looking to follow the trail past the lake and hook up with "No Name Lake" trail be prepared. The trail after the lake is non-existent. Even with a good map, compass, and GPS we weren't able to find the trail. We ended up bush wacking our way through marshes and thick forest to get to No Name Lake.

bonus: less than a mile up there is a detour to some of the most amazing falls I've ever seen. Definitely take it.

fishing
Saturday, August 20, 2016

I've been here before about 15 years ago about 3 miles from the Chama basin via a trail near to Trujillo Meadows. Did it again yesterday from the Red Lake trail and it was a beautiful climb from the scree on the North side of La Manga Creek, past all the cattle and the cow s_it on the trail and the few small creek crossings. The view of Red Lake and the mountains to the West and the flats to the North of the Los Pinos Creek and the Chama Basin were absolutely beautiful - God's Country. Caught a couple of small rainbow and a nice cutthroat in Red Lake even through the hail and rain and am planning to go back. I'm an older lady (60) and made it to the lake in about 90 minutes. Youngsters should do WAY better.

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

This trail is in Southern Colorado. I visited in July and we didn't get far in because we lost the trail. Trail is muddy and wet and when we lost the trail the area was essentially a marshland. It was gorgeous for what we did see just disappointing that we didn't make it all the way. There were A LOT of mosquitos and there was also A LOT of animal poop. To reach the trail take HWY 17 from Antonito, pass thru Horca and go thru La Manga pass. The signs for Red Lake Trail will be on the right and you'll take a dirt road quite a ways back to the parking area.

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I'm reviewing to provide some up-to-date information. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to hit the entire trail but I'll definitely be back for the whole thing. The trail is pretty easy to find. From Antonito take HWY 17 to Horca and turn right onto FDR 50, a dirt road. This will take you past Rainbow Trout Ranch. Take FDR 50 to Record Bridge Road. *Note if you turn left to take Old Bridge Road following GPS you will not be able to reach the other side of the Conejos so go up one street. Pass over the bridge and there's a little parking area with a sign for the trail, #855, the San Juan Wilderness, and a couple of lakes. The trail head is just slightly to the left of the parking area. 1.3 miles into the hike are The Falls. There is a sign that marks where you can follow the trail to the falls. We took this and ended up heading all the way back over the rocks to see the falls up-close and personal. They're beautiful. The hike up to this spot is not terribly challenging, just watch your footing on the rocks and take it slow. The trail has pretty good coverage with the trees at these early spots so you're not constantly in the sun. The trail had some people on it but it was certainly not crowded.

camping
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I visited in July. Lots of mosquitos but beautiful. Be sure to check out the small falls at the end of the lake. I also saw Elk and heard lots of sheep over the crest of a near by ridge.

hiking
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Great views of waterfalls, nice trail and beautiful scenery, some areas of the trail were steep, but overall it's a very rewarding and amazing area to see anytime of the year!

hiking
Friday, July 05, 2013

The first section of the trail is a little steep from the trailhead but Red Lake is beautiful, bountiful of possible good fishing. Rolling meadows on top, amazing views of distance mountians, plenty of small lakes on the trail way to Red Lake.

hiking
Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nice lake, trail was hard to follow due to the lack of use and trail markers were all torn down. We replaced them. Great meadows and flowers. No sign of fish in the lake someone even wrote no fish on the lake sign. Lots of Mosquitos.

hiking
Sunday, June 30, 2013

Absolutely loved this hike, very rewarding. The first two miles feel like your going straight up. Lots of steep switch backs but the views of the valley is amazing. Take the time to go see the waterfall on the way up it's great and only about 300 yards off the main trail. Take your fishing gear the Rainbow trout are huge. This is one of those spots you want to just hang your hammock in the tree and enjoy the amazing scenery.

trail running
25 days ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

fishing
10 months ago