- 8 miles
- 6 - 7 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8000 feet
- Elevation Range:
- 8000 feet to 11200 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 3200 feet
- Year Round
Trail begins at about 8,000 feet above sea level. The trail follows Columbine Creek, crossing back and forth. Four wooden foot bridges are provided for the first two miles of the trail. The first three miles of the trail are easy to moderate. About four miles up the trail a steeper ascent to the ridgeline begins, with switchbacks to control the grade. The trail finally reaches the ridgeline at 11,200 feet, and a total, one-way trip distance of almost 6 miles. The upper section is more difficult.
Columbine Trail also provides access to Deer Creek, Placer Creek, and Willow Fork trails, all routes to Gold Hill. The Deer Creek Trail is part of a designated National Recreation Trail system. At the top of the Columbine Trail on the ridgeline, it intersects the Gavilan Trail (Trail 60) which descends to the Hondo Canyon in about 1.5 miles, to Amizette.
Many stream crossings in Columbine may have high, swift water as the winter snow pack melts. Hiking with a partner is recommended. Snow drifts are common at higher elevations through June.
In the summer months trail can be used for hiking, and horseback riding. Trail is used in the winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Map + Directions
From Taos, take SR 522 to Questa, turn right on State Road 38 at the traffic light. After about six miles, turn right at Columbine Campground. Drive through the campground to the trailhead parking at the south end of the campground. Drinking water and toilets are available at that end of campground, near the trailhead parking. Please use the designated parking for the trailhead. Parking in a campsite will result in a camping fee.