Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This trail is marked as Forest Service Trail #282. The trailhead is easy to find on the north side of Camp May Road a short distance from the west end of the Pajarito Mountain Ski area parking lot and ends remotely at the intersection with Pajarito Trail. Return to Los Alamos by traveling south on Pararito Trail to the Rendija Canyon Trailhead.
The initial portion of the Guaje Canyon Trail is part of the nordic trail system and climbs in a gentle grade that is family and bike friendly. The trail leads north and west to the appropriately named Canada Bonito which is a very large and beautiful open meadow surrounded by forests of Quaking Aspens that are spectacular colorful in the Autumn. The trail climbs up the north side of Canada Bonito and closely parallels the eastern boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
The trail soon crosses Pipeline Road
and then continues north to the southern edge of Guaje Canyon near its head. The trail becomes difficult as it steeply descends into the bottom of Guaje Canyon and then continues eastward through the canyon bottom until it nominally ends at the intersection with Pajarito Trail.
Along the canyon bottom, it crosses several popular trails (Caballo/Agua Piedra, the old Mitchell Trail, etc). The trail north of the intersection with Pipleline Road traverses the burn scar created by the May 2000 Cerro Grande fire and was re-burned in the June 2011 Las Conchas fire. The fires resulted in repeated flooding and damage of the canyon bottom. Hence this portion of the trail is still heavily damaged and very difficult to follow in some areas. The canyon bottom is also dangerous during thunderstorms due to the potential for flash flooding.