- 11.2 miles
- 8 - 9 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8800 feet
- Elevation Range:
- 8800 feet to 12000 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 3200 feet
- Year Round
The trail continues up the canyon on the east side of the middle fork drainage through an open meadow. From the top of the meadow the trail crosses to the west side of the drainage, passing through occasional tributaries flowing down the hillside. These river crossings may make traveling slow. Be sure to stay on the trail and please do not cut switchbacks which create erosion and damage to the surrounding landscape.
Near the base of the Divide the trail branches, with both trails appearing to be equally well traveled. Either trail will bring you to the top of the Santa Barbara Divide and will end at the same point along Skyline Trail 36. To the west is Barbara Peak and Chimayosos Peak. To the east, Trail 36 climbs to the top of a high ridge overlooking Rincon Bonito and continues to the northeast toward the Jicarita Peak Ridge. Trail 24 continues down the other side of the Divide toward Pecos Falls(4 miles).
Cross-country travel into the Pecos Wilderness is becoming more popular with many taking day hikes through the Middle Fork Trail. The terrain will vary along these trails with the most gentle gradient located in the first four to five miles, becoming progressively steeper. Snow depth also increases. South slopes will sometimes have bare spots. Be prepared for adverse weather in the wilderness. Always beware of avalanche!
In the summer months the trail is used for hiking, and horseback riding. In the Winter he trails are used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Santa Fe Area
- Snowshoeing, Hiking
Map + Directions
This trail is the access for trails 19, 25, and 26 within the wilderness. It takes you 12 miles up the center of the Santa Barbara drainage to a point midway along the Divide and offers the most direct access to the Pecos Falls area from the north. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
From the Santa Barbara Campground, follow the trail up the canyon. After entering the wilderness, the canyon narrows with dramatic rock cliffs forming a wall on either side. About three miles upstream, you will encounter the turnoff for the West Fork Trail. Trail 24 climbs up the hillside to the east.
After traveling three miles more through aspen groves, the trail comes down to the river into a large open meadow. A trail sign marks the turnoff to the East Fork Trail. Trail 24 crosses the East Fork of the Santa Barbara and turns upstream.