Santa Fe National Forest

Looking downstream on the Pecos River
The Pecos River north of Pecos

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.

A grove of aspens in full autumn 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
Battleship Rock sticking up out of the forest, well up a hillside in the Jemez Mountains
Battleship Rock in the Jemez Mountains
Map of Santa Fe National Forest
Map courtesy of the US Forest Service
Photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License