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

Starting with the good: this trail was awesome. Very scenic with stream, mountains, meadows, etc. Not too hard, not too long. We also made some fun friends with fellow hikers along the trail.

Then the bad (and it was very bad): the trail is not well marked, at all. Our roughly 3 mile planned hike turned into a 5 mile hike, which we would’ve been fine with, except it dumped us out at the wrong trailhead. We then had to walk nearly another 4 miles back up the mountain on the highway to get to our car. Luckily we brought plenty of water, because there is no shade on the highway and the asphalt reflects the heat. Definitely print a map and follow it very closely. We still don’t know where we got off course, and we are fairly experienced hikers with multiple Eagle Scouts in our party.

Great hike! Fantastic views. A few more people on the trail than I had expected based on the trail description - though it was Sunday. In the late summer, you want to start this hike early so that you don't get caught in early afternoon storms that sweep in - we barely missed the thunderstorm that rolled in quickly around 1 pm. The last mile is very exposed, so plan to be off the peak by noon or so.

Great hike! This was my first hike I did alone. It’s definitely tiring but the views are awesome. A lot of the trail is shaded (until the top) and that’s helpful. All was well until I came face to face with a bear, be careful.

Wonderful short, heavily wooded trail that’s great for kids. There are some sections with a steep drop off next to the trail so we ended up holding the hand of our 4 year old just for added security during these, but overall a beautiful family friendly hike.

There’s free parking on the left right after you turn into the entrance of Blake Canyon camping area. You then need to hike to the back of the camp where the trail starts. It’s probably a 1/4 mile hike to the TH. There aren’t a lot of views through the trees, but the trees themselves are so amazing. If you go right at the trail fork the incline isn’t as steep, but the descent down the left fork can be a bit unnerving.

not enough signage to actually find the triangle. lost with kids was no bueno, gracias new mexico

Nice trail, well shaded. Leash requirement for dogs rarely followed/enforced.

Nice in summer because it is under full canopy. Many dogs off leash which is annoying.

14 days ago

Nice trail with great views. Very peaceful; I began at 7:30 a.m. and only saw a few other people while hiking. It's definitely a rocky climb, and the downhill is slippery in places. Took less than two hours from the trailhead.

(Drove in from Houston last night, hiked Baldy today.)

Beautiful, long, reasonably hard hike.

The 3 creek (very small, more like “criks”) crossings were beautiful. At 3.5 (half way to top), there is a nice creek to rest or cool off your feet.

The terrain is (mostly) loose rock. I just wore tennis shoes (mistake).

It is an “up” then long ramp “down”, then “up” until you reach baldy.

The last mile is tough. I had to walk 100 steps, then rest. Of course, my heart was racing the entire time due altitude (and fat belly...ha).

Once you get to top, keep walking to the next ridge (maybe 40 yards) and you look down on a beautiful lake (Lake Catherine...I think.)

The locals love this one. If you aren’t used to the altitude, just take breaks so you don’t blow yourself up. It’ll still be tough.

I was committed to walking slowly enough for this hike to take all day. It did. 5 hours out. 4 hours back.

All in all, beautiful hike. As I was about making my way to summit, a man said to me “your almost there, it’s worth it.” He was right. Wow. 360 degrees of Gods beautiful creation.

(One note: as I was leaving the state police where setting up to search for a lost hiker. It’s a beautiful, well marked hike, but just be careful.)

Great views along the trail and at the peak. Rocky trail with debris on steep sections that make footing difficult—I slipped and fell once.

18 days ago

I did the “‘more difficult” route up. Because you’re hiking through a riverbed, the terrain is uneven and challenging, but I enjoyed it. Took the easier route down, which was lovely. However it was Saturday morning and TONS of people on the narrow trail. Was annoying the keep having to stop and step to the side.

Awesome! Steady decline for the first half, the second half is uphill. Lots of shade and breeze. Would definitely recommend!

25 days ago

We took trail #261 for a 8.5 mile there and back from the second trail head. Actually you start on #254 then turn right on #261. That trail is not officially maintained and not on trail maps. It is beautiful and not overly challenging. You do have to clamor over downed trees but it doesn’t slow you down too much. After following #261 for several miles you rejoin with #254. After half a mile you juncture with Skyline trail. Go right and reach the lake after about half a mile. Lake is beautiful and worth the effort. We did this first day at altitude and didn’t find it to be too much. It was a beautiful warm day with no clouds and the wild flowers were lovely. Highly recommend.

on Aspen Vista Trail

25 days ago

Some shade on the lower half in summer, which is nice. Go up early on summer and fall weekends if you want to beat the crowds. The aspen and pine are showing drought stress this year, but it’s still a fabulous hike. The width makes for a more sociable trail. It’s also fun in winter for snowshoes or xcountry skis.

One of the greatest assets especially for being 25 minutes from town. Hike in & out day trip style or backpack it for an awesome scenic two day adventure

26 days ago

This trail for me was what I would consider "easy". I took the main route out to the turn around, and chose to hike the alternate route (by the dry creek) - heading back. Definitely did not like the alternate route as much.
If I were to choose this trail again, think I'll choose to mountain bike it and connect with several other trails at the top.

Will travel another 100 miles to take this hike again! loved it, and strongly suggest to take the fork to the right, the incline is easier. Lots of shade, and water.

Yesterday I hiked four miles in to the vista overlook. Today I went up to the radio towers and Deception Peak, for a 13.6 - mile hike. Views from the peak were spectacular. This is a popular trail for runners, mtnbikers, dogwalkers, hikers and families with small children. The grade is mellow. This is a great training hike for taller peaks. Come early as the parking lot fills up fast even during the week. This morning a herd of cattle were in the middle of the road.

Weather changes fast during the monsoon season. I started with clear skies and ended with storm clouds.

A fun and moderate trail, was less rocky and more humid than we all expected. We went on July 19, 2018 and found the area to be mossy and aromatic, less dry, and teaming with flora. We heard birds along the trail but didn’t see any wildlife.

Only saw a few other hikers and one mountain biker. I’d definitely go again.


1 month ago

Note that this trail has been reopened. However, when we were headed to the trailhead via Wilderness Gate this morning at 7, neighbors driving by told us they had seen a large bear at the base of the mountain along the road, so we played it safe and hiked Picacho instead.

Only thing it lacks is a view - but a lovely stream and trail - a few big trees down but just reopened this morning after 5 weeks closed due to fire hazard - so no complaints!

We drove all the way here today and it is closed and has been since June 1st very disappointing

Trail closed due to fire danger.

on Stewart Lake Trail

1 month ago

Great trail with the lake as a reward at the end.

We have hiked this trail a few times with kids. Lots of fun. But it is now closed (since June 1, 2018) until further notice.

2 months ago

The trail is well maintained and easy to find with the app. The length is short but it’s an uphill climb almost the whole hike. There are three major viewpoints along the trail that offer some nice views of the city. A worthy hike if you’re in the city as it’s located downtown.

2 months ago

Was moderate for the first mile and a half. the last mile was steep and somewhat difficult. view from the summit was spectacular.

2 months ago

Great short trail.

2 months 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.

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