Stewart Lake

The wilderness at it’s best! Stewart Lake is a sub-alpine lake located in a large meadow area on the Eastern side of Santa Fe Baldy. Accessing this area requires an hour or so drive from Santa Fe. Along the way we will follow the wild and scenic Pecos River to a series of tributaries that make up the river system. This particular section of the wilderness is very special and doesn’t get the crowds of the ski basin. There are two options for this hike. Option A is a 14.1 mile loop (highly recommended). Option B is a 11.4 mile out and back on mostly south facing slopes. We will begin our trek from an area known as the Cowles ponds. From here we will begin our gradual ascent on south facing slopes, traversing in and out through multiple drainages. After a few miles of moderately difficult hiking through stands of spruce, boxelder, and pine our senses will truly engage with the unresisting energy of this beautifully quiet place. We will be hiking on the North ridge of Winsor creek. At times we will have views through the forest of the creek far below and the south ridge which we will be returning on. Wildlife is typically abundant in this area. Rocky Mountain Elk, Black Bear, Red tail hawks, coyote, mule deer, and Big Horned sheep make this wild canyon home. After approximately 5 miles of hiking we will come to Winsor creek. The trail will lead us to the outlet of this serene New Mexico gem. When we are ready to head back. We will trek back on the South ridge (North facing side). This side holds snow longer in the Winter and Spring months therefore creating a perfect habitat for the flora that thrives at these high altitudes. At times it may seem like a jungle in comparison to the other side. A new Mexico jungle that is. Our trek will eventually lead us down to the mountain stream of winsor creek. A short hike along the creek will bring us to a campground and back to the front country. To complete the trek we will need to road walk one mile back to our vehicle. Option B will be an out and back hike including the first part of this description.

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