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Bear Wallow to Lake Peak

Difficult
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A steep hike up to the clouds!


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Map Key

15.8

Miles

25.4

KM

Loop

12,383' 3,774 m

High

8,252' 2,515 m

Low

4,661' 1,421 m

Up

4,662' 1,421 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This hike uses many fun trails and has a very fun and exciting adventure aspect. This is highlighted by the steep climb above Aspen Vista Road and the mountainous traverse to the top of Lake Peak.

Description

This hike will give you plenty of uphill work and then the fun downhill action that makes you feel like a superhero!

Start at the Bear Wallow Borrego Trail parking lot and head downhill on the wide well-groomed trail over hard packed dirt and pine needles. Step off the many roots acting as water bars and take the left-hand trail about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. Follow this trail as it gets narrower and descend to the Tesuque Creek and the Winsor National Recreation Trail.

There is a new bridge across the creek so your feet will stay dry. Cross over and turn right (uphill) on the Winsor National Recreation Trail. Follow this up and up on side gravely singletrack through meadows, around big trees, and over the roots that hold them in place.

After about 3 miles, look for the Big Tesuque Trail that branches right. This is a nice narrow singletrack that climbs and contours up to the Big T Campground. You'll cross NM 475 (the ski basin road) at the campground but fear not, there is plenty more singletrack above.

Follow the trail through the walk-in tent sites as you continue to climb. Just past the last tent site there is another new bridge to keep your feet dry. Continue up on the well-maintained trail on hardpack dirt to Aspen Vista Road. You're not done yet, however. Veer to the right, and continue uphill(!) on the gravel road for about 50 meters.

Look for the dirt track that climbs from the roadway next to the stream. This is the upper section of the Big Tesuque Trail that has been recently opened by someone clearing hundreds of deadfall trees that had been blocking easy access. Not to say this trail is easy, however.

It climbs steeply through Aspen litter, rocks, and gravel pretty much straight up the drainage to the top of the ski area. Here, you connect for a short time to Aspen Vista again and follow it up to the top. From there, the trail connects to the Skyline Trail that runs off to the left along the ridgetop to a large open area that looks like the top of the mountain. This is Deception Peak. You'll see why when you get to the top.

At the top, Lake Peak is the highpoint along the rocky ridgeline. This is the really fun section where you have to scramble along a highly exposed ridge to the 12,000+ foot high peak. Now eight miles from where you started... turn around here and retrace your steps!

The only deviation is to turn stay on Borrego Trail where Winsor National Recreation Trail branches off to the right. If you're looking to get back to your car quickly, Borrego Trail is the fastest way. If you want more miles and you're crazy, take Winsor National Recreation Trail and retrace your steps :).

Contacts

Shared By:

Peter Olson

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3530

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#47

in New Mexico

#3,530

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48 Views Last Month
3,652 Since Jun 15, 2015
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Photos

Action Hop atop Lake Peak.
Aug 24, 2016 near Santa Fe, NM
A lake, some colorful leaves and a summit.  Three good things to make a run memorable.
Oct 5, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
The knife edge up to Lake Peak.
Mar 30, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Enjoying the view from Lake Peak.
Aug 4, 2018 near Santa Fe, NM
Follow the water!
Jun 15, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM
Dusky Grouse
Apr 2, 2015 near Santa Fe, NM

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May 25, 2018
Kristin Tuttle
Mar 3, 2018
Jaymes Kralicek