Skyline Trail #251
ElevationAscent: 10,142' 3,091 m
Descent: -13,761' -4,194 m
High: 12,491' 3,807 m
Low: 8,273' 2,522 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)
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“A rugged and extremely rocky traverse.”— Peter Olson
From Penitente Peak, follow the trail down the gentle northeast ridge by following the rock cairns, and watch for the spot where the trail again enters the timber. After a descent with several switchbacks you'll find a junction with the Winsor Trail #254. Turn left here and follow the combined Skyline and Winsor Trails to the grassy meadows of Puerto Nambe. Look for the post and sign marking the junction, where the Skyline Trail again parts company with the Winsor, and turns to the north, climbing steeply up the shoulders of Santa Fe Baldy. After several switchbacks you'll arrive at a high saddle below the summit of Santa Fe Baldy. From here one can follow the ridge to the west, where there is a well-worn route to access the peak, or continue along the Skyline Trail to Lake Katherine, which sits in a high glacial cirque.
The trail down the north side of this saddle is normally snow packed until the end of June and often into July, even when the rest of the trail is clear. This section has some very steep switchbacks, and travel with stock is not recommended. Continue on the Skyline Trail to Lake Katherine.
Trail 251, the Skyline Trail, is the longest trail in the Pecos Wilderness.
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
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Land Manager: USFS - Santa Fe National Forest Office