One of the largest Alpine lakes in the wilderness Pecos Baldy Lake rests at the foot of the impressive Pecos Baldy (12,600) This area is rich in biodiversity providing a much loved habitat for the majestic big horned sheep. This area is well known and receives frequent visitation from outdoor enthusiasts however, the hike requires determination as this rich riparian zone is a destination deep in the backcountry of these beautiful mountains of New Mexico. As with all adventures one must be equipped and prepared for the physical and mental challenges that are inevitable in wilderness settings.
This spectacular section of the wilderness requires about an hour and a half drive from Santa Fe to access it’s starting point. We will pass through the village of Pecos, taking us up canyon along the wild Pecos river. After passing the small village of Terrero at 13 miles the road narrows and climbs high above the river. We will continue on this road to the Jack’s Creek trailhead. On the we will pass a series of large creeks and rivers that make up the Pecos river system. This is a popular destination for car camping and fishing during the Summer months. From our trailhead we will climb through the dense and well shaded pine forest to a ridge that splits the Pecos river and Jack’s creek drainages. After about 2.5 miles the ridge crests at a series of large meadows and lovely aspen groves. Cattle are commonly seen here during the Summer months as it is a popular area for grazing. The ascent mellows out a bit for the next couple of miles and pleasant walking through meadows and patches of forest bring us to Jack’s creek. Our climbing will begin again as we ascend the creek’s drainage to it’s source (Pecos Baldy Lake). A half mile of hiking will keep us alongside the welcoming waters and will bring us to the junction with the Dockweiler trail. At this point the trail continues to follow the drainage but the creek is not seen again until we near the lake. The terrain changes as we find ourselves hiking through a burn scar. New growth dominate the area and the quick to sprout Aspens give hope to a healthy stretch of forest to be had once again. A couple miles of hiking, following the forested canyon upstream will bring us to the impressive lake basin. The forest gives way to the towering Pecos Baldy mountain and the serene alpine lake, a true place of respite awaits those who made the arduous trek. This is one of the most stunning areas of the Pecos. Enjoy! We will return via the same way we came.
Out and Back Hike
Total Hiking Distance: 15 miles
Estimated Hiking Time: 8-10 hrs
Santa Fe door to door: 10-12 hrs
Recommended Seasons: Mid June – October
Off Season hiking: Snowshoe treks available in May (Gate closure inhibits access Nov – April)