A major north-south artery trail that normally must be taken as a round trip making it a long, strenuous journey. Start at the Rendija Canyon Trailhead off of Rendija Road in Los Alamos County just west of the Los Alamos Sportsman's Club. Park in the large paved lot and start by heading north down the hill.
Cross Rendija Canyon and Forest Road 181
and immediately head uphill following the forest service trail sign for Pajarito Trail #286. Shortly, enter the wide meadow of Cabra Canyon. It is full of wildflowers during the spring through fall. This area is part of the 2001 Cerro Grande fire burn scar and is devoid of virtually all trees, except for the remains of what were stately Ponderosa pines.
Soon, the Cabra Loop Trail enters on the left, heading west. This trail provides access to the Guaje Ridge Trail #285
. Climb up to the saddle to Guaje Ridge and enjoy panoramic vistas all around. Continue straight if you're not planning a detour. A side trail enters from the right (south) and leads a short distance to the summit of Guaje Mountain. Proceed down off the saddle to the north into Guaje Canyon and cross Guaje Canyon Trail #282
at the bottom. There is usually water flowing year-round in the Guaje River. However, during the summer monsoon season be aware of the hazards of flash flooding in this canyon due to the lack of vegetation in this watershed.
Proceed up a steep draw and onto the mesa. The trail continues about 1 mile to Pine Springs and crosses Chupaderos Canyon, Alamitos Canyon, and ends at the Pine Springs Cabin on Forest Service Road 445. Return along the same route.