Friday, June 20, 2014

Chamisa Trail - Santa Fe, NM

Schroeder and dog cruise the aspen meadow
Got up early and ran out Chamisa last weekend with Schroeder and Therese, plus dog. We were the first truck at the trailhead, there were more than a dozen when we returned yet we saw only two hikers the whole morning. Such is the enduring mystery of trailhead math.

Chamisa is the most convenient summer trail in these parts. It's the nearest trail to town that's forested, so it's cool and shady when the summer temps peg above 85. The trailhead is only two miles up the road from Dale Ball and Little Tesuque, but that's enough to jump bio-zones from high desert to alpine forest. Importantly this includes tree cover, flowing water (Big Tesuque creek), and birds chirping in the canopy above. Lovely stuff.

The running and biking up there is rewarding but not without a challenge. Climbs and descents the whole way with very few flats. It's an easier go than the steeps of Little Tesuque and La Piedra a mile down the road but you've got to bring your climbing legs. 600+ ft climb from the trailhead to the saddle with Sidewinder. A marvelous descent down to the Winsor meadows, then another 650+ft of climbing up to the Bear Wallow/Borrego triangle. Only one creek crossing compared with the dozen fifteen or so below Chamisa, and there's generally very few folks out in this mid-section of Winsor, sometimes only a bicyclist or backpacker. The run back is pleasant until the climb back up to Sidewinder ridge, but it's relatively short and sweet after the long rest.

Distance:  7.7mi
Min Elev:  ~7,700ft
Max Elev:  ~8,480ft
Net climbing:  ~1,700ft

Daybreak on Sidewinder ridge (courtesy Google images)

Climbing Winsor into the day's first sun
Related Posts:
 - Chamisa Trail Loop (mtb)
 - Little Tesuque Trail
 - Lower Winsor

View Chamisa to Winsor Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Elevation profile - roundtrip Chamisa to Borrego

1 comment:

  1. I love that trail! That classic SF soil where the trail gets so steep but yet the trail is in perfect condition with no hint of erosion.



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