Monday, June 24, 2013

Santa Fe Forest Closed for Fire Season

Sunrise over the Sangres (6/22)
Closures will be lifted Friday 7/12

It has been in the papers and on the news the last few days, but the Santa Fe National Forests have been set to Stage III restrictions as of this morning (6/24), and will be closed to all access until further notice. The Pecos Wilderness was closed a couple weeks back to deal with the ongoing fires in the Pecos River Basin (Tres Lagunas Fire) and up on the higher ridge of East Pecos Baldy (Jaroso Fire). The Cibola national forests in Albuquerque have been in Stage III for several weeks, the Carson national forests up in Taos moved to Stage II recently. Bandelier National Monument and the Bandelier Wilderness are still open at Stage II restrictions.

The Santa Fe closure also affects the Caja del Rio area, which is unfortunate. City trails that will remain open include Dale Ball and the Dorothy Stewart extension, the Audubon/SF Canyon PreserveLa Tierra, the Rail Trail (including the Spur Trail), Arroyo Hondo, and Galisteo Basin. I believe Sun and Moon Mountains are still open since they're in City Open Space. Atalaya trails are open. likely closed though I can't confirm that. Picacho Peak is open remains a bit of a question as well. All of the City Urban Trails will of course remain open.

The ascent up Chamisa at daybreak
Right, well none of this was unexpected and several folks I know had plans to get up on the trails this weekend before closure went into effect. Some of the folks included me. Adam and I were first on Dale Ball, Chamisa, and Sidewinder Trails on Saturday. Tried to descend through Little Tesuque Trail but the County now has a fence up at La Piedra and the Yellow Dot trail, so we hiked the 33 switchbacks and returned via Dale Ball. Beautiful morning to be out.

We could smell smoke from the Jaroso fire on the higher parts of the ride. No bueno. We're all hoping the rains arrive sooner rather than later, and that the fires are held at bay until then.

Update:  Atalaya is open, but we found on Sunday 6/30 that at least one of the access trails was roped off because of work the NF crew were doing on that section of trail. We were told that the day before several hikers were ducking the rope and were ticketed $150 each. Be courteous, be smart, avoid tickets.

On the Chamisa Trail ridge. Adam's head obscured by first light.

The Rio Grande Valley - morning view from Sidewinder Trail ridge

Door to door: 2hrs 55min, ride time 2:45
Mileage: ~28mi
Highest Elev: 8,500ft

View Chamisa and Sidewinder Trails in a larger map

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