“An exquisite network of singletrack trails winding through the foothills above Santa Fe.”
— Peter Olson
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Good trails with excellent maps and intersection markers making navigation easy.
An awesome system of trails running up and down through the pinon/juniper forest up to the ponderosa higher up the mountains. Follow the maps at each intersection for a custom made route up to the top of mountains or contouring around their shoulders. There is something for everyone here. These trails connect to the two other sections of the Dale Ball Trail System.
The most popular access point is at the end of Cerro Gordo Road. From this parking lot head through the gate east. The trail turns right (straight goes to the Audubon Center) and dips down into the headwaters of the Santa Fe River which doesn't always flow. Climb the bank to the road. Cross the road like a chicken would then start climbing. The trail is hard packed and makes many switchbacks as you climb to a large berm used to divert water into an irrigation acequia that has been out of service for many years. After traipsing along the top of this berm, you turn into a narrow canyon with a rocky floor and start to weave through big ponderosa pines.
These trails generally go up or down and not much level travel but the tread is good mostly hard-packed dirt, pine duff and some rocky sections. Around about a mile in you'll come to the first intersection, left continues to climb and right descends a bit but don't be fooled for what goes down must come up again...or so they say. Taking all lefts will bring you to the top of Picacho Peak. These trails are challenging but very fun with just enough up and down to remind you that you are in the mountains.