This trail can be done either clockwise or counterclockwise with no real difference in difficulty.
Dogs are allowed in Los Alamos County Open Space but must be leashed within a 100 yards of any trailhead. Dogs must be under voice control and within sight at all times.
Named in 2012 in memoriam of Helen "Satch" Dunham Cowan
-- a philanthropist, retired Los Alamos National Lab physical chemist -- the trail hugs the rims of Los Alamos Canyon on the south side and Pueblo Canyon on the north side.
Start from the newly revamped (spring 2020) Quemazon Trail
trailhead and head up the gated two track road for a couple hundred feet or so. Bear left onto the singletrack trail. This is the start of the Satch Cowan Trail. Follow the trail as it crosses another dirt road, turn left on this road just briefly and then turn right on the signed Satch Cowan singletrack trail.
You'll head up a rocky section to where the Satch Cowan Trail briefly joins the Quemazon Nature Trail on some slabs of rock. Take a left at the signed turn to stay on the Satch Cowan Trail as it hugs the edge of Los Alamos Canyon. Enjoy great views up towards Pajarito Mountain to the west and looking back east towards the Omega Bridge over Los Alamos Canyon and beyond to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Cruise the rocky trail as it levels out on the mesa, briefly rejoins the Quemazon Nature Trail and turns right (north) to cross the Quemazon Trail
. After crossing the Quemazon Trail
, the trail hugs the edge of Pueblo Canyon and descends along the rim of the canyon to rejoin the wide two-track Quemazon Trail
at a large wooden "Satch Cowan Trail" sign. Continue descending the Quemazon Trail
back to the trailhead.
Loads of mule deer, maybe a bear if you're lucky.