Santa Fe National Forest


The Truchas Peaks in Santa Fe National Forest
The Truchas Peaks in Santa Fe National Forest
Looking downstream on the Pecos River

Santa Fe National Forest is one of the five National Forests in New Mexico. Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in these 1.6 million acres. Elevations vary from 6,000' to 13,103' at the summit of Truchas Peak, located on the edge of the Pecos Wilderness.

Wilderness is federal land designated by Congress as a place where "Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" (Wilderness Act of 1964). Designated Wilderness Areas are managed as places where natural biological processes are allowed to occur unhindered by human interference. With this non-intrusive manner for maintaining designated wilderness, recreation in these areas provides the opportunity to see nature in its purest form. There are more than 300,000 acres of designated wilderness within the boundaries of Santa Fe National Forest.

The climate on the Santa Fe National Forest is rated as "mild," but winter snow depths can easily reach 8' to 10'. Summer and fall can be quite warm but nights will see temperatures drop close to freezing, depending on your altitude. Monsoon season usually begins in mid-July and can run into mid-September. This is a time of almost daily thunderstorms, sometimes heavy enough to cause local flash flooding.

Aspen in color
Aspens in color high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Sign as you enter Pecos Wilderness

Santa Fe National Forest has more than 620 miles of streams and lakes, most stocked annually with Rainbow trout and native Cutthroat trout. The Forest also supports a large population of elk, mule deer, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, and Bighorn sheep. There are also many species of smaller mammals, songbirds and raptors.

The Forest offers about 1,002 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. Some of the trails allow mountain bikes, too, but not in the wildernesses. Many of these trails are frequented by snowshoers and cross-country skiers in season.

Hiking on a trail in Santa Fe National Forest
Hiking a trail in Santa Fe National Forest
Map of Santa Fe National Forest
Santa Fe National Forest map

Campgrounds

Campground Name District Location Open Amenities
Aspen Basin Espanola 15 miles from downtown Santa Fe via NM 475 Year-round Picnic AreaRestroomsCamping Trailer
Barranquena Spring Area Coyote La Grulla Plateau along FR 99 in the Cerro Valdez Area Spring-Fall Picnic Area
Big Tesuque Espanola 12 miles from downtown Santa Fe via NM 475 Year-round Picnic AreaRestrooms
Black Canyon Espanola 8 miles from downtown Santa Fe via NM 475 April-Nov. Picnic AreaTrailer campingRestroomsDrinking WaterFees
Borrego Mesa Espanola 20 miles east of Espanola Year-round Picnic AreaTrailer camping
Clear Creek Cuba 11 miles east of Cuba on NM 126 Year-round BikingFishingHikingPicnic AreaRestroomsFees
Canada del Guardia Coyote Area is located at the junction of FR 103 and FR 316 Spring-Fall Picnic Area
Cecilia Creek Coyote South Cecilia Area along the creek off of FR 171 Spring-Fall Picnic AreaHunting
Cowles Pecos/Las Vegas 20 miles north of Pecos on NM 63 Spring-Fall FishingHikingTrash collectionPicnic AreaEquestrian trailRestroomsDrinking WaterFees
Coyote Canyon Coyote At the junction of FR 316 and FR 317 Spring - Fall Picnic AreaHiking
El Porvenir Pecos/Las Vegas 15 miles from Las Vegas via NM 65 and FR 261 Spring-Fall FishingHikingTrash collectionPicnic AreaRestroomsTrailer campingDrinking WaterFees
E.V. Long Pecos/Las Vegas 14 miles from Las Vegas via NM 65 and FR 263 Spring-Fall FishingTrash collectionPicnic AreaRestroomsTrailer campingDrinking WaterFees
Field Tract Pecos/Las Vegas 10 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 Spring-Fall FishingTrash collectionPicnic AreaRestroomsDrinking WaterFees
Golf Course Coyote Encino Area Spring-Fall Picnic Area
Guadalupita Area Coyote French Mesa on the Guadalupita Tank Spring-Fall Picnic Area
Holy Ghost Pecos/Las Vegas 16 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 and FR 122 Spring-Fall FishingHikingTrash collectionPicnic AreaHandicapped accessibilityDrinking WaterFees
Iron Gate Pecos/Las Vegas 23 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 and FR 122 Spring-Fall FishingHikingTrash collectionPicnic AreaRestroomsFees
Jack's Creek Pecos/Las Vegas 21 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 Spring-Fall HikingTrash collectionEquestrian trailPicnic AreaRestroomsTrailer campingHandicapped accessibilityDrinking WaterFees
Jemez Falls Jemez 6 miles east of La Cueva via NM 4 Spring-Fall AmpitheaterFishingHikingFees
Paliza Jemez 3 miles north of Ponderosa at the junction of FR 10 and FR 266 Spring-Fall CampingFishingHikingFees
Panchuela Pecos/Las Vegas 22 miles north of Pecos via NM 63 Spring-Fall FishingHikingTrash collectionEquestrian trailPicnic AreaRestroomsDrinking WaterFees
Resumidero Coyote Resumidero opening off FR 93 Spring-Fall Picnic Area
Rio de las Vacas Cuba 12 miles east of Cuba on NM 126 Spring-Fall BikingFishingHikingPicnic AreaRestroomsFees
Rio Gallina Coyote On the Gallina River along FR 76 Spring-Fall HikingPicnic Area
Rio Puerco Coyote On FR 103 Spring-Fall FishingPicnic AreaRestrooms
Redondo Jemez Two miles east of La Cueva on NM 4 Spring-Fall AmpitheaterFishingHikingFees
San Antonio Jemez Two miles north of La Cueva via NM 126 Spring-Fall FishingHikingPicnic AreaFees
Vista Linda Jemez 5.6 miles south of the Jemez Ranger Station on NM 4 Spring-Fall FishingHikingHandicapped accessibilityFees
 

Trails

Trail Name & No. District Length Difficulty Description Allowed Uses
Agua Fria and North Fork - #233 & 269 Pecos 8 miles Moderate The trail climbs to the Wilderness boundary and North Fork Lake. HikingEquestrian trail
Anastacio Trail - #435 Cuba 3 miles Difficult This interior trail along Anastacio Creek connects the Los Pinos Trail with the Vacas Trail at about 2.6 miles. HikingEquestrian trail
Apache and Baldy Trail Loop - #175 & 176 Pecos 6 miles Moderate This trail descends into and out of Apache Canyon. HikingEquestrian trailbiking
Baldy - #175 Pecos 6 miles Easy-Difficult This trail descends into and out of Apache Canyon. HikingEquestrian trailbiking
Beatty's Trail-Part 1 - #25 Pecos 8 miles Moderate The trail climbs almost 1,000 feet in elevation over the first 1.5 miles. HikingEquestrian trail
Beatty's Trail-Part 2 - #25 Pecos 5 miles Difficult This trail follows the Rito del Padre northwest along the bottom of the river drainage. HikingEquestrian trail
Berry's Road - #474 Coyote 5.5 miles Easy This road is difficult in rainy season. The area has many scenic views of the red cliffs and the Rio Chama. HikingEquestrian trail
Black Canyon - #181 Espanola 3 miles Easy The first half-mile of this loop trail is through the Black Canyon Campground to camp site #4 in the upper loop, where the trail leaves the campground and rises slowly through a beautiful mixed conifer and aspen grove. Hiking
Blue Bell Ridge - #212 Pecos 4 miles Difficult This trail climbs Blue Bell Ridge and follows the ridgeline to intersects with other trails. HikingEquestrian trail
Bob Grounds Trail - #270 Pecos 5 miles Difficult This trail follows the Rito del Padre northwest along the bottom of the river drainage. HikingEquestrian trail
Bordo del Medio - #252 Pecos 7 miles Moderate This trail travels on the ridge with the Rio Valdez on the west and the Rio Mora on the east. HikingEquestrian trail
Borrego Mesa-Part 1 - #150 Espanola 17 miles Difficult This trail will work its way around some private land, then drop down and cross the Rio en Medio. HikingEquestrian trail
Borrego Mesa-Part 2 - #150 Espanola 13 miles Difficult From Rancho Viejo, cross to the northwest side of the Rio Capulin and look for the trail heading up Canada Vaca. Then the trail begins the descent down Canon del Oso to the Rio Frijoles. HikingEquestrian trail
Borrego/Bear Wallow Loop - #150, 254, 182 Espanola 4 miles Easy From the parking lot, the Borrego Trail drops down through a lovely shady valley filled with pine, fir, aspen, shrubs, and flowers. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
Cabra Loop - #279 Espanola 2.7 miles Moderate This trail climbs a couple of switchbacks as it rises out of Rendija Canyon, and continues steadily up a side canyon until it tops out on a mesa known locally as Beanfield Mesa. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
Canones Creek - #82 Coyote 8 miles Difficult This is the longest trail in the Coyote District. The elevation ranges from 9,940 feet at Cerro Pavo down to 7,510 feet and then back upto 8,840 feet at the end of the trail at Mesa Escoba. HikingEquestrian trail
Capulin - #158 Espanola 10 miles Moderate The Capulin Trail follows the Rio Capulin upstream from its merger with the Rio Nambe and Trail 160 at the trail's western end. HikingEquestrian trail
Capulin Cienega - #162 Espanola 7 miles Difficult Trail 162 climbs out of the Rio Nambe drainage by following a side canyon to the north. HikingEquestrian trail
Cave Creek - #288 Pecos 5 miles Moderate This trail follows Cave Creek to the confluence of Cave Creek and Panchuela Creek. HikingEquestrian trail
Cienega Redonda - #6 Espanola 2 miles Difficult This trail starts in Frijoles Canyon and ends at Cienega Redonda. HikingEquestrian trail
Chamisa - #183 Espanola 2.5 miles Easy The main Chamisa Trail heads heads up the hill and east through the trees, while the alternate route runs north through the canyon. HikingHiking
Chimayosos - #246 Pecos 3.5 miles Difficult The Chimayosos Trail is a good route for those seeking a more challenging experience. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
Corralitos Creek - #452 Coyote 3 miles Difficult This trail follows Corralitos Creek into the Wilderness. The trail crosses a few solid stands of spruce, fir and aspen interpsersed with small meadows. HikingEquestrian trail
Damian Trail Cuba 2.4 miles Easy-Difficult This trail ranges in elevation from 9,600 feet to 9,900 feet. The trail starts near the large meadow called Vallecito Damian (northeast of San Gregorio Reservoir) and ends at the junction of the Palomas and Perchas Trails, all within San Pedro Parks Wilderness. HikingEquestrian trail
Dockweiler - #259 Pecos 9 miles Difficult This trail begins with a steep climb up several switchbacks to the top of Mystery Ridge. HikingEquestrian trail
East Pecos Baldy - #275 Pecos 0.5 miles Difficult This trail switchbacks up the north facing slope to the south of Pecos Baldy Lake, then continues to the top of the ridge. Hiking
El Porvenir - #247 Pecos 13 miles Moderate For the first 5 miles, the trail follows El Porvenir Creek through the bottom of the spectacular canyon below Hermit's Peak and El Cielo Mountain. HikingEquestrian trail
Evergreen - #205 Pecos 3 miles Moderate This trail climbs a moderate grade steadily from Gallinas Canyon to Johnson Mesa. HikingEquestrian trail
Frijoles - #154 Espanola 9 miles Moderate This trail criss-crosses the Rio Frijoles. HikingEquestrian trail
Gascon - #239 Pecos 11.5 miles Easy-Difficult The Gascon Trail is a long east-west trail that intersects most of the major north-south trails in this part of the Pecos Wilderness. HikingEquestrian trail
Glorieta Center - #272 Pecos 5 miles Difficult Large open meadows offer spectacular views of the aspen stand to the west as well as panoramic view of the Sangre de Cristo's west of Glorieta. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
Guaje Canyon - #282 Espanola 2 miles Easy This is an old forest road in excellent condition, now closed to motorized vehicles. HikingHikingCross-country skiing
Guaje Ridge - #285 Espanola 5 miles Moderate The trail follows Guaje Ridge just south of and parallel to Guaje Canyon, a major canyon draining the Pajarito Plateau HikingEquestrian trail
Hamilton Mesa-Part 1 - #249 Pecos 10 miles Easy-Moderate Spectacular views of the aspen stand to the west as well as panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo's to the west. HikingEquestrian trail
Hamilton Mesa-Part 2 - #249 Pecos 3 miles Moderate After crossing the meadow, the trail briefly enters forest and then re-emerges on the dry, south-facing slope of Round Mountain above the Pecos River. HikingEquestrian trail
Hart Canyon - #293 Coyote 13 miles Difficult This trail starts at the edge of the canyon and drops 400 feet within 1/2 mile through several switchbacks. HikingEquestrian trail
Holy Ghost - #283 Pecos 5 miles Moderate This trail follows the canyon of Holy Ghost Creek for several miles. Hiking
Horsethief Meadows - #243 Espanola 3 miles Difficult The trail follows a tributary of Horsethief Creek up a drainage HikingEquestrian trail
Jack's Creek - #257 Pecos 14.5 miles Moderate-Difficult This trail goes north around the west side of Round Mountain. HikingEquestrian trail
Joe Vigil - #351 Espanola 1 mile Difficult This trail offers the most direct route from the western slope of the Pecos to the high country areas of the Trailrider's Wall and the base of Truchas Peaks. HikingEquestrian trail
Lake Johnson - #267 Pecos 2 miles Easy The rise is steady as the trail climbs almost 700 feet to the lake basin just below Redondo Peak. HikingEquestrian trail
Larkspur - #260 Pecos 2 miles Moderate This trail drops steadily to the Pecos River. HikingEquestrian trail
Las Trampas - #240 Pecos 1/2 mile Difficult This trail starts at the far end of Mora Campground and follows the Rio Mora to the junction with Bear Creek. HikingEquestrian trail
Lone Pine Mesa - #214 Pecos 2.5 miles Difficult The trail switchbacks up the hill leveling out now and then before entering the open meadows of Lone Pine Mesa. HikingEquestrian trail
Los Esteros - #226 Pecos 10 miles Moderate-Difficult Trail 226 climbs a series of switchbacks out of the Mora Valley, then parallels the Rito los Esteros toward the east. HikingEquestrian trail
Los Pinos Trail - #46 Cuba 5 miles Difficult This trail makes its way through the spruce, heading for the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. HikingEquestrian trail
Lost Bear Lake - #456A Pecos 1 mile Difficult The turn-off to Lost Bear Lake is located about two miles upstream from Pecos Falls. Hiking
Lucero Trail Cuba 3.8 miles Easy-Difficult On the north half, this trail is halfway up a hill. It parallels the Rio Puerco flowing at the bottom of the hill. HikingEquestrian trail
Mesa Laguna Route - #317 to 100 Coyote 12 miles Difficult This portion of FR 100 is steep and rocky. FR 317 is also steep. It follows Coyote Canyon Creek to the junction with FR 316. HikingEquestrian trail
Middle Fork - #266 Pecos 5 miles Difficult The trail drops down to the bank of the Rio la Casa and works its way around the large ridge between the Rio la Casa and the Middle Fork. HikingEquestrian trail
Mitchell Trail - #69 Espanola 4.4 miles Difficult The trail wanders across a low ridge until it descends to and crosses Rendija Canyon. Hiking
Monte Vista - #262 Pecos 1.5 miles Easy This trail drops down to the Rio Mora and then up to Valle Largo HikingEquestrian trail
Nambe - #160 Espanola 12 miles Moderate The trail starts at the north end of the dam at Nambe Reservoir and follows the Rio Nambe upstream. HikingEquestrian trail
Nambe Lake - #400 Espanola 1 mile Difficult The trail climbs steeply up the canyon along a major fork of the Rio Nambe. HikingEquestrian trail
North Azul - #264 Pecos 4 miles Moderate This trail crosses the west side of the Rito de los Chimayosos before climbing up and along a ridge between the Rito Azul and the Rito de los Chimayosos. HikingEquestrian trail
NORSKI - #255 Espanola 2.5 miles Easy There are several ways to cut the length this trail by using one of several cutoffs and/or skipping some of the loops, or repeating others. HikingCross-country skiing
OjitosCanyon - #298 Coyote 13 miles Difficult This trail starts on the south side of the Rio Chama. HikingEquestrian trail
Pajarito Canyon - #280 Espanola 1.5 miles Moderate This trail was rehabilitated with sections re-routed after the Cerro Grande Fire. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
Palomas - #50 Cuba 3.6 miles Difficulty The trail is steep for a short distance in the beginning before leveling off and heading for the San Pedro Parks via the Vacas Trail, about 7 miles from the trailhead. HikingEquestrian trail
Pecos-Part 1 - #24 Pecos 4 miles Easy-Difficult This trail climbs steeply to the top of a bench above the Pecos River and then maintains a moderate grade, travelling through open grassy meadows lined with mixed conifers and aspens. HikingEquestrian trail
Pecos-Part 2 - #24 Pecos 4.5 miles Difficult This part of the trail stays high on the ridge west of the Pecos River HikingEquestrian trail
Pecos River - #456 Pecos 4 miles Difficult This trail follows the Pecos River to its headwaters, then climbs the ridge to the Santa Barbara Divide. HikingEquestrian trail
Penas Negras - #32 Cuba 8 miles Easy This gradually rising trail is the longest trail on the Cuba District. The destinationis the San Pedro Parks, about p miles from the trailhead. HikingEquestrian trail
Peralta Ridge - #126 Jemez 3.5 miles Difficult Once you get to Peralta Ridge the trail drops into the steep Peralta Canyon. HikingEquestrian trail
Perchas - #218 Cuba 2 miles Easy This trail connects the Penas Negras and Palomas Trails by travelling along the Rito de las Perchas. HikingEquestrian trail
Ponderosa Ridge - #170 Espanola 12.5 miles Moderate This trail on Atalaya Mountain offers excellent views from the top and is popular due to its close proximity to Santa Fe. HikingHiking
Quemazon - #287 Espanola 3 miles Moderate This was once an old wagon road and the ruts can still be seen along the trail. HikingHiking
Redondo Peak - #231 Espanola 3 miles Difficult This trail ascends steeply up the Rito Frijoles, eventually gaining a ridgetop with great views and good campsites. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Capulin - #31 Coyote 6 miles Difficult This trail passes through heavy stands of mixed conifer, spruce, fir and aspen with some interspersed open, wet meadows along the way. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Chama Canyon Road - #151 Coyote 13 miles Easy This seldom used road travels through a wide valley with spectacular red cliffs on both sides. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio En Medio - #163 Espanola 7 miles Moderate The trail drops to the canyon floor and crosses the stream several times before entering the mixed conifer forest. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Gallina Trail - #30 Coyote 4 miles Difficult This trail climbs a moderately steep hill before flattening out near the eastern end. It travels through mixed conifer and aspen forest with a few interspersed scenic meadows. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Medio - #155 Espanola 10 miles Moderate This trail switchbacks quickly down to the canyon bottom and then follows the Rio Medio upstream. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Puerco - Forest Road 385 Coyote 5 miles Difficult The Rio Puerco Trail provides steep access into the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. HikingEquestrian trail
Rio Quemado - #153 Espanola 10 miles Difficult This trail climbs steeply before dropping over the ridgetop into the canyons of the Rio Quemado. HikingEquestrian trail
Rito Gallina - #228 Espanola 8 miles Difficult Go north from Cundiyo on NM 503 to FR 306, then follow that for 7 miles to the turn-off for Borrego Trail 150. HikingEquestrian trail
Rito Perro - #256 Pecos 1.5 miles Moderate The trail goes northwest across a meadow before entering the forest and climbing up a ridge via a series of switchbacks. HikingEquestrian trail
Rociada - #250 Pecos 10 miles Moderate This trail drops slowly 2 miles down the hill through mixed confer forests to the meadows of the Rio Mora. HikingEquestrian trail
San Jose - #33 Cuba 5.5 miles Difficult The trail climbs a moderate to steep 1,300' in two miles, to crest a ridge before moderating for the next 4 miles into San Pedro Parks. HikingEquestrian trail
Sebadillosos - #245 Pecos 2.75 miles Difficult The Sebadillosos Trail starts from Beatty's Trail #25 at Beatty's Flats and ends at the junction with Jack's Creek Trail #257. HikingEquestrian trail
Scout Trail - #234 Espanola 5 miles Moderate This trail is unmarked and unmaintained. Parts of it are steep, too. HikingEquestrian trail
Skyline-Part 1 - #251 Pecos 14 miles Difficult Pick this trail up at the top of Tesuque Peak by following FR 150 from Aspen Vista to the top of Tesuque Peak and then following the trail along the ridge to Lake Peak. HikingEquestrian trail
Skyline-Part 2 - #251 Pecos 12 miles Difficult From Horsethief Meadow, follow the trail east along Horsethief Creek. HikingEquestrian trail
Skyline-Part 3 - #251 Pecos 10 miles Difficult This east-west section of trail is up on the ridge and runs the length of the Santa Barbara Divide. HikingEquestrian trail
Skyline-Part 4 - #251 Pecos 14.5 miles Difficult This portion of the trail continues south through a large grassland on the eastern side of the Santa Barbara Divide. There is a cairned route along the east side of Cebolla Mountain as well as a climber's trail on the west side. HikingEquestrian trail
Skyline-Part 5 - #251 Pecos 10 miles Moderate From Elk Mountain, the trail enters the recently burned forest on the southern slope and shortly parallels a fence. The trail follows the fenceline for quite a ways straight down the slope. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail
South Azul - #255 Pecos 5 miles Difficult After crossing the Rito Azul, the trail passes through dense forest and occasional large meadows along the northside of the Azul's south fork. HikingEquestrian trail
St. John's - #174 Espanola 1.5 miles Easy Another easy trail on Atalaya Mountain with great views over Santa Fe. HikingHiking
Tesuque Peak Road - Forest Road 150 Espanola 2.5 miles Easy This road climbs through one of the largest stands of aspen in New Mexico HikingEquestrian trail
Turkey Spring - #119 Jemez 1.4 miles Moderate This trail is fairly easy grade with great views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Cochiti Lake. HikingEquestrian trail
Upper Nambe - #101 Espanola 1/2 mile Light The Upper Nambe Trail is a shortcut from the popular Winsor Trail #254 to the Rio Nambe. HikingEquestrian trail
Upper Rio Puerco Road - #93 Coyote 4.5 miles Difficult This route is a native dirt road at the end of FR 93 that can be hazardous when wet. The road travels through heavy spruce and fir with a few aspen groves in spots. HikingEquestrian trail
Vacas Trail - #51 Cuba 10.7 miles Easy The trail crosses San Pedro Parks Wilderness. About a mile in from the trailhead you'll come to the San Gregorio Reservoir. HikingEquestrian trail
Valle Largo - #248 Pecos 6.75 miles Moderate This trail crestes the ridge and drops steeply to the Rio Mora. HikingEquestrian trail
Valle - #289 Espanola 2.5 miles Moderate This trail was an old wagon road, then a jeep trail leading up the Canon de Valle. HikingEquestrian trail
Valdez - #224 Pecos 9 miles Moderate This trail climbs slowly to the top of the Santa Barbara Divide with the elevation gain being spread evenly over 9 miles of trail. HikingEquestrian trail
Winsor - #254 Pecos 7 miles Moderate This trail turns uphill from the stream and climbs through heavy forest to Carpenter Ridge. HikingEquestrian trail
Winsor Trail-Part 1 - #254 Espanola 5 miles Moderate Shortly after entering the National Forest the trail forks with the main trail bearing left. HikingHiking
Winsor Trail-Part 2 - #254 Espanola 5 miles Moderate The downhill trail goes to Tesuque and the uphill trail toward the Pecos Wilderness. HikingEquestrian trail
Winsor Ridge-Part 1 - #271 Pecos 6 miles Moderate The Winsor Ridge Trail continues along the north side of the ridge above Winsor Creek and the Winsor Creek Road HikingEquestrian trail
Winsor Ridge-Part 2 - #271 Pecos 1.5 miles Easy At the first trail junction, bear right (north) and follow this nearly level path to Panchuela. HikingEquestrian trailBiking trail