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Guaje Ridge Trail No. 185

Contact Info
Santa Fe National Forest
1710 N. Riverside Drive
Española, NM 87532

Phone:
505-753-7331
Basics
Length:
5 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
3.5 - 4.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
7700 feet
Elevation Range:
7700 feet to 9700 feet
Elevation Change:
2000 feet
Usage:
Light
Season:
Spring to Fall

Description

The trailhead, marked by a sign along the side of the Pipeline Road, heads east along the ridge. The upper end of the trail escaped the Cerro Grande Fire, and remains thickly treed and heavily wooded. The trail soon enters the burn as it continues east. The trail is fairly well-maintained up to the two junctions with the Mitchell Trail 69. At the first Mitchell Trail junction, the Mitchell Trail drops off the ridge to the north and leads down to Guaje Canyon. This junction may not be readily apparent. Continuing east on the Guaje Ridge Trail, quickly you will meet the second Mitchell Trail junction which leads south and down the the city of Los Alamos. At this site there is a memorial for David Mitchell, who established the Mitchell Trail as an Eagle Scout project and then died a few years later.

The Guaje Ridge Trail follows the ridge east for another two and a half miles, finally meeting up with the Upper Guaje Road. This section of the trail east of the Mitchell junction burned very hot in the Cerro Grande Fire, and is very rocky with much fire killed and weakened standing timber. The trail is generally all downhill, but there is very little shade, and lots of exposure to wind and weather.

Tour Companies

  • Santa Fe Area
  • Snowshoeing, Hiking
  • 505-660-0394

Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing From alpine to desert, Outspire guides enrich your experience by giving context to your hike. So that your destination is not only what you see, but a sense of where the area fits in New Mexico's history, geology and natural world. Our hiking guides are experienced, enthusiastic, and motivated to share the joy of being outside! Day hikes and winter snowshoe outings are planned to suit your interests and fitness.

Details

Length:
5 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
3.5 - 4.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
7700
Elevation Range:
7700 feet to 9700
Elevation Change:
2000
Usage:
Light
Season:
Spring to Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS: Guaje Mountain
Additional Details:

This trail, like many in the Los Alamos area, is partially within the area burned by the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000. Some of the area burned very hot, with timber stand replacing intensities. The trail has suffered damage in some places, and trail rehabilitation efforts have not fully restored the trail to pre-fire conditions. There has been erosion of soils and trail tread since the fire, and there are burned and weakened trees that are in constant danger of falling.

Visitors should be aware of dangers and hazards in the burned area. In particular, recreation in the burned area should be avoided during windy days and during rainstorms due to the danger of flash floods and falling trees.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

The Guaje Ridge Trail 285 can be accessed from either the west end, at the Pipeline Road, or from the east end at the old Upper Guaje Road (FR 442). Both these roads are closed to motorized use. The trail follows Guaje Ridge, which is just south of and parrallel to Guaje Canyon, a major canyon draining the Pajarito Plateau. Follow the Pipeline Road about five miles to a sign marking the trail junction, and follow the trail to the east along the ridge. Alternately, you can follow the old Upper Guaje Road to the trail junction, but this one is a bit harder to find.


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