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Pajarito Canyon Trail No. 180

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

Phone:
505-753-7331
Basics
Length:
1.5 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
2.5 - 3.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
7000 feet
Elevation Range:
7000 feet to 10000 feet
Elevation Change:
3000 feet
Usage:
Moderate
Season:
Spring to Fall

Description

The Pajarito Canyon Trail has had extensive trail rehabilitation work done to recover from the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 (see below). This trail once again makes for a fun hike or bike ride, and has many interesting features along the way.

The lower section in the canyon bottom has been rerouted from the original location; rather than following the canyon upstream, the newly relocated section leaves the parking area and angles gradually uphill to the southwest, gains the top of a low ridge, and turns to the north, eventually meeting up with the original trail in the canyon bottom just before the popular climbing wall. This wall has been used for years by climbers, and the canyon bottom route still seems to be the preferred route for climbers just wanting to access the climbing site. There are many scenic rock walls and formations in this narrows. Continuing up the canyon, the trail crosses the stream a couple times and eventually climbs up out of the bottom and parrallels the stream for a bit before intersecting the popular Nail Trail to the northeast.

The Nail Trail junctions with Forest Road 2998 leading to the Camp May Road, or can be followed all the way back to Highway 501, and is a very popular mountain biking loop. The original Pajarito Canyon Trail continued up the drainage all the way to the top of Pajarito Moutntain near the top of the ski area at 10,000’. This upper portion of the trail is nearly obliterated by the Cerro Grande Fire, but portions of the old route may still be visible.

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:
1.5 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
2.5 - 3.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
7000
Elevation Range:
7000 feet to 10000
Elevation Change:
3000
Usage:
Moderate
Season:
Spring to Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS: Frijoles
Additional Details:

This trail, like many in the Los Alamos area, is at least partially within the area burned by the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000. The trail has suffered severe damage in some places, and trail rehabilitation efforts have failed to fully restore the trail to pre-fire conditions.

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

Follow Highway 501 south from Los Alamos for 1.9 miles to a small turn off to the right, onto Forest Road 2995. Park on the small flat just off the highway.


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