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Dale Ball to Big T Campground



24.0 mile 38.7 kilometer out and back
88% Runnable


Ascent: 4,380' 1,335 m
Descent: -4,380' -1,335 m
High: 9,658' 2,944 m
Low: 7,240' 2,207 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)


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Trail shared by Peter Olson

An out and back run that climbs and climbs...

Peter Olson

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


La Piedra Trail is very steep in sections, the last 1/2 mile to Little Tesuque has 30 switchbacks to make it interesting. The Winsor National Recreation Trail follows the Tesuque Creek and offers many interesting crossing options as the trail cuts back and forth over the flowing stream.

Runner Notes

In the spring, the Tesuque Creek can flow over some sections of the trail. There are many stream crossings, some with bridges, but most do not have anything but rocks or logs.


This route starts on the Dale Ball North trail before connecting to La Piedra and Little Tesuque Trail. From there, it is up and over on the Burn Trail to the Winsor National Recreation Trail. Follow that all the way to the Big Tesuque Trail to the Big Tesuque campground, turn around and make your way back down.

From the Sierra del Norte Trailhead parking lot, head up the trail to intersection 2, turn right. Run up the nice hard-packed smooth trail to the intersection with La Piedra Trail. The trail is a great but steep connector from the Dale Ball trail system to the Santa Fe National Forest trails.

This is a connector trail from the Dale Ball system to the trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. The steepest section has 30 switchbacks for your enjoyment. Follow La Piedra to Little Tesuque Trail, which is a sweet little trail along a seasonal stream through a lush riparian zone.

Turn right and run upstream along the trail that has been recently improved to by-pass swampy areas.

Follow the easy-to-find trail along the stream bed and give in to the temptation to take the trail climbing up the hill to the left. Follow this trail through the trees on a trail well-used by horseback and mountain bike riders.

As this trail crests the ridge pass through the gate in the fence and descend on smooth singletrack to the Winsor National Recreation Trail. Turn right and head uphill. Follow this trail for a long time, not forever but it might seem like it as you cross the stream and wind around giant ponderosa trees. You'll even be treated to some dense underbrush as the trail criss-crosses the stream.

At about 10 miles into this run you'll come to a Y intersection. The Winsor National Recreation Trail bears left and the Big Tesuque trail heads to the right. Follow this nice trail with smooth tread over pine duff, some exposed bedrock as it climbs gently and contours up to the campground on NM475 (Ski Basin Road). Filter some water from the stream and turn around to scamper all the way back the way you came.

History & Background

La Piedra was completed in 2012 to allow access from Dale Ball to the National Forest so this run could be possible.

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in New Mexico


12 Views Last Month
1,255 Since Jun 8, 2015



Minding my meadow business
May 8, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Lots of fun bridges on the Winsor Trail
May 8, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Working up to the top of one of two ridges on La Piedra
May 8, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Negotiating one of 30 switchbacks on La Piedra trail
May 8, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Keith cruising.
Apr 3, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Cruising to higher ground on the Juan Trail
May 8, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM


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