Bear Wallow to Lake Peak
ElevationAscent: 4,661' 1,421 m
Descent: -4,662' -1,421 m
High: 12,383' 3,774 m
Low: 8,252' 2,515 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 46% (25°)
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“A steep hike up to the clouds!”— Peter Olson
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 :).
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Santa Fe National Forest Office
Aug 21, 2019: Slight Increase in Fire Behavior on Cueva Fire
Aug 15, 2019: Cueva Fire Completes Firing Operations, Meets Objectives