San Pedro Parks Wilderness, Santa Fe National Forest – New Mexico
Description: The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail climbs to the beautiful San Pedro Parks Wilderness area from Cuba, NM and then heads northeast to the Chama River and Carson National Forest. The CDT route follows the Los Pinos, Las Vacas, Penas Negras and Rio Capulin trails through the Wilderness. In addition to the CDT, the 41,132 acre San Pedro Parks Wilderness contains many miles of other trails allowing for loop hikes of diverse lengths. For a moderate hike, follow the Las Vacas or Penas Negras Trails deep in to the core of this verdant wilderness area. An excellent, eight-mile loop is completed by hiking a triangle on the Las Vacas, Los Pinos, and Anastacio trails. These trail segments are not frequently used and you can enjoy lush vegetation, rolling mountaintops, spectacular scenery, and abundant wildlife in remarkable solitude. Frequent rainstorms occur in July and August dotting the landscape with wildflowers. The streams also have numerous populations of trout, including the native Rio Grand Cutthroat. The best time to do this trip as a comfortable backpack or a day hike is in late spring and fall. The Wilderness is also accessible from NM 126 for winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Length: 8-mile loop
Family Friendly Option
For a short hike, you can drive to a trailhead on NM 126. You can access the San Gregorio Reservoir, a popular fishing spot on an easy one-mile walk on the Las Vacas Trail.
Directions: To get to the San Gregorio Reservoir and Las Vacas Trail, take State Highway 126 east from Cuba, NM for about ten miles. Turn north onto Forest Road 70 and go about three miles to the Las Vacas Trailhead. There will be ample parking and toilet facilities.
Maps: USGS 7.5 quadrangles: Gallina, Nacimiento Peak, San Pedro Parks Wilderness: Santa Fe National Forest
Santa Fe National Forest website
Santa Fe National Forest’s Cuba Ranger District: (575) 289-3264.