The hike up Santa Fe Baldy passes through several high alpine biomes, which are especially delightful in the fall when the Aspens change colors. Summit Santa Fe's highest peak (~12,600). Spectacular 360 views of the Pecos Wilderness, the Jemez Mountains, and the colorful Rio Grande valley. 14 miles roundtrip (out-and-back). 2322 foot elevation gain.

Starting at an elevation of 10,000 feet at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, a right turn at the Winsor trail starts a steep climb for .5 miles until the wilderness boundary gate. From there, the trail descends slightly, taking a path along the ridge through mossy pines and emerald stones. A mile later, you find yourself amid the regal Aspens with views of Baldy towering above. After two stream crossings, you walk for four miles before the real strenuous work begins above the treeline. Take a break to breathe and enjoy the spectacular views of Deception Peak when you reach the saddle, a flat open area before the rocky steep section starts. It's another 40-60 minutes to the top depending on your fitness level. Walk all the way to the end and enjoy lunch looking over the elegant Lake Katherine.

We went in late October, and we had the entire trail to ourselves. The Aspen leaves had fallen, creating a golden carpet over parts of the trail. A mist covered us when we reached the saddle, but the clouds dissipated just in time for as we started our summit. We walked at a leisurely pace and completed the ~14 mile round-trip hike in 8 hours. There are spots for camping if you wish to do other day hikes below, like the spectacular Nambe Lake offshoot.

Getting there:
From Santa Fe, drive up Hyde Park Road to the Ski basin and find Winsor Trail at the left part of the lower lot. In summer, start early and be prepared for afternoon storms. Do NOT attempt to summit if weather approaches.

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Lunch
  • 2 liters of water
  • Rain gear in summer
  • Layers in fall
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Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great place for day trip or multi-day backpack

My girlfriend and I did this trip in Spring. We intended on staying 2 nights, hiking out on the third day. We camped at Lake Katherine which is at the base of the big mountain Baldy. This side trip adds on 4 miles roundtrip, but it gives you a good starting and ending point to summit the mountain. Once you get up to the saddle before you start the trail to the peak you simply keep walking straight down the other side of the saddle and down to the lake, To summit you walk back up the trail to the saddle and hit the trail up the mountain. It can be a little windy at the lake but for the most part it was sunny and warm.


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