Hike the South Pasture Loop Trail

Pecos, New Mexico

Details

Distance

3.8 miles

Elevation Gain

196 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Jared Blitz

An easy stroll through the a pasture in the high desert of Pecos National Historical Park with views of big skies

The South Pasture Loop trail, while part of the Pecos NHP, isn't in the main park. Currently, this trail is only open on the weekends and the road gate closes at 1pm. The trail itself closes at 3pm, and takes about 2-3 hours unless you plan on hiking for speed. No pets allowed.

0.7 miles down the south on highway NM-63 from the main park, you will turn left at, as the Park Ranger described it, a "painful, pepto-bismol pink building." Once in front of the building, take the right fork. Even though it won't feel like it, this road will take you straight to the blue gate (pictured) where the Pecos NHP begins again. There is a parking lot in front of the gate to place your car.

Once you enter the park area by foot, you will follow a dirt road in a loop for 3.8 miles. The trail takes you through the high desert of Pecos, NM. It is easy because there isn't much elevation loss or gain, but if you struggle with distance under full exposure to the sun I'd recommend bringing plenty of water.

Along the way you'll come across red rock similar to other high deserts along the southwest, but covered in various greenery. You'll see big skies with iconic southwest clouds and views that feel like they go on forever. You'll see those same clouds floating just above the hills, casting shadows sporadically across the valley and hillsides. You'll see common desert bushes and big trees in areas that have water running underneath them.

My hike took place in November when the weather was cooler so sun exposure wasn't a big deal. It was windy, however (upwards of 58mph), and from what I was told the winds pick up significantly in the area between November - January. Being the whole trail mostly consists of loose dirt, winds can be brutal on your experience, so dress appropriately and wear eye protection.

No matter which way you take the trail when you reach the sign (pictured, B&W), you will eventually come across the Pecos River. Fishing is available by special permit.

Keep your eye out for massive ant hills. There were dozens of them along the sides of the trail. My guess would be if you are hiking this during the late spring and summer months it is a hotbed for rattlesnakes.

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