Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dorothy Stewart - Ridgeline

Picacho mountain and a friendly yucca
This warm winter weather sure sucks for skiing, but evenings on Dale Ball in December are better with less ice and snow anyway.  Can't do much better than the ridgeline above St. John's - I call it Dorothy Stewart Ridgeline even though the Dorothy Stewart Trail section is really only the last two miles.  I have no clue if the trail has a real name.  Awesome Hill Trail would work but it seems appropriate to have a woman's name attached to it - it's just a gorgeous track. 

From the Atalaya trailhead, it heads north down a wonderful twisting easement, then climbs a steep half mile past a few homes to the ridgeline.

The starting chute
The trail then twists north again on leg-stretching single track to the turn off to Picacho where you can loop back counter-clockwise.  The trail-markers are something like 40-32-30. Wide open views up here, and as it gets colder there is often a lot of snow hiding in the north facing ridges.

Sunset behind the overlook.  Tetilla manning the horizon as always

On the return to mark 32, drop into Dorothy Stewart towards marks 37 and 38 for miles four and five, climbing switchbacks onto the overlook hill which, after a steep climb, yields a mile-and-a-half of postcard views as you wind back to the trailhead just below Atalaya. Water flows through an arroyo here in the Spring.

Dropping into Dorothy Stewart with the ponderosas.
I use this trail for thinking since the aesthetics are top rate.  I also use this trail for a lot of hard training - steep climbing broken up by intervals on the flat winding ridges in addition to a lot of varied terrain.  Loops can be added, laps or repeats can be added, it's all there.  For marathon training, I feel I get more out of these strength runs in the hills than tempos on the RailTrail.  For trail racing, I feel I get more from the flat fast sections than just grinding up Atalaya or Winsor.  This day, I slow-cruised through on a rehabilitating hamstring and took photos.  A beautiful evening.

Approx. 5.5mi., a very easy 55min on a gamey leg. Recover with Fat Tire 2 Below.

The overlook climb

Upper Canyon Rd, and the snowless Sangres

Related Posts:
 - Picacho Peak Trail
 - Atalaya Mountain
 - Santa Fe Area Trails List

View Dorothy Stewart Ridgeline Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map


  1. I like this loop a lot. The opening chute is pretty neat; you're completely surrounded by huge coyote fences.

  2. Right, my map is drawn in no relation to scale, but the whole trail has neat little sections and chutes. Having the start lined by coyote fence is a really apt prelude for what follows.



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