Nestled among the pines Spirit Lake is another pristine subalpine mountain lake that replenishes the natural diversity of the serene Pecos Wilderness. I love this place! The lake basin is just deep enough into the backcountry to really feel a sense disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. There is nothing to worry about or stress over out here. Just raw wilderness embracing our presence.
Our trek will begin at the Santa fe Ski basin (10,250 ft). From here we will begin our climb. The well used and well maintained trail switchbacks up about 600 ft in less than a mile before it enters the Pecos Wilderness. Dramatically everything changes, as it usually does when you enter preserved lands. This is the backcountry! From the wilderness boundary the trail gradually descends through spruce, lodgepole pine and beautiful aspen groves. Glimpses of Blady are at times seen through the dense forest. After about 2 or so miles of easy hiking we will come to our first water source (Nambe creek). Also, the junction with the steep Nambe Lake trail. From here more casual walking will bring us past more streams that feed into the Nambe. At 4 and a half miles we will come to the spectacular Puerto Nambe. Meadows and vistas of the nearby mountains are what this area is known for. From this point, another half mile of easy hiking will bring us to the junction with the Southern portion of the skyline trail which leads to the nearby peaks we just viewed from Puerto nambe. We will continue straight on the Winsor to Spirit Lake which lies on the Eastern flank of forested alpine peaks. Another mile or so of gradual descending through this pristine ecosystem and we will arrive at our final destination. When we are ready to make our way back to the trailhead we will return via the same way we came.
Out and Back Hike
Total hiking distance: 11.8 miles
Estimated hiking time: 6-8 hours
Santa Fe door to door: 7.5 – 9 hours
Recommended months: Mid June – October
Off Season Hiking: Snowshoe treks available Nov – May