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Guaje Canyon Trail #282

Intermediate
 3.0 (1)

A main feeder trail that connects many other trails on the northern circumference of Los Alamos, NM.


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Map Key

11.0

Miles

17.8

KM

Point to Point

9,641' 2,939 m

High

7,041' 2,146 m

Low

646' 197 m

Up

2,840' 866 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

This trail is marked as Forest Service Trail #282. The trailhead is easy to find on the north side of Camp May Road a short distance from the west end of the Pajarito Mountain Ski area parking lot and ends remotely at the intersection with Pajarito Trail. Return to Los Alamos by traveling south on Pararito Trail to the Rendija Canyon Trailhead.

The initial portion of the Guaje Canyon Trail is part of the nordic trail system and climbs in a gentle grade that is family and bike friendly. The trail leads north and west to the appropriately named Canada Bonito which is a very large and beautiful open meadow surrounded by forests of Quaking Aspens that are spectacular colorful in the Autumn. The trail climbs up the north side of Canada Bonito and closely parallels the eastern boundary of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The trail soon crosses Pipeline Road and then continues north to the southern edge of Guaje Canyon near its head. The trail becomes difficult as it steeply descends into the bottom of Guaje Canyon and then continues eastward through the canyon bottom until it nominally ends at the intersection with Pajarito Trail.

Along the canyon bottom, it crosses several popular trails (Caballo/Agua Piedra, the old Mitchell Trail, etc). The trail north of the intersection with Pipleline Road traverses the burn scar created by the May 2000 Cerro Grande fire and was re-burned in the June 2011 Las Conchas fire. The fires resulted in repeated flooding and damage of the canyon bottom. Hence this portion of the trail is still heavily damaged and very difficult to follow in some areas. The canyon bottom is also dangerous during thunderstorms due to the potential for flash flooding.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bill Blumenthal

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#25345

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#375

in New Mexico

#25,345

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1,009 Since Aug 11, 2016
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Photos

Wild Iris in full bloom in the Canada Bonito.
Jul 10, 2016 near Los Alamos, NM
The old Guaje Reservoir in Guaje Canyon right near where North Mitchell Trail intersects the Guaje Canyon trail. Note the handline on the ledges to the left of the dam. This allows secure passage up and around the dam.
Aug 12, 2020 near Los Alamos, NM

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