Hiking Project Logo

blue East Fork Trail #56


5.1 mile 8.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,867' 569 m
Descent: -55' -17 m
High: 11,497' 3,504 m
Low: 9,685' 2,952 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by J. Bella


Getting forecast...

Current trail conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

A great trail through sub-alpine terrain in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

J. Bella

Features Views

Much of this trail is snowpacked from mid-October until mid-June.


From the intersection with SR 38 in Red River, drive 6 miles up 578 to the junction with the Middle Fork Road. Turn left and cross the bridge, then continue to the right up 58A about a mile to the East Fork trailhead. High clearance vehicles are recommended for the last section, passenger cars can park before the bridge at the junction with the Middle Fork road.

The trail is either all climbing or all descending depending on the direction you travel. From the northern point (as mapped) the trail starts off climbing on easy to moderate grades, winding up the mountainside until it passes the Sawmill Park Trail after a mile and reaches the Big Ditch, a 41-mile mining feature constructed in the 1800s to transport water to mines in the Moreno Valley. There is a sign here describing the history of the area

Bypass the tempting singletrack leading into the forest on the right side of the ditch and continue on the more worn trail to the left. The next 2.5 miles are a combination of smooth Sangre de Cristo mountain dirt and rocky and rooty climbs as the trail contours upwards through several drainage gullies and new-growth forests. Along this ascent the environment gradually but noticeably transitions to a more high alpine clime, and once you reach the wooden bridge across the Red River you'll be surrounded by older spruce and fir trees. After crossing the river, the trail climbs moderately with more rocky and rooty sections.

There are a few stream crossings leading to an exposed outcrop with some amazing views of Wheeler Peak's eastern slopes and the valleys to the northeast. Continue along the trail as it skirts the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary and crosses Horseshoe Creek, then comes to the junction with Trail 91. Here there are three options; turn right and continue towards Lost Lake, return on trail 56 back to the parking area or go left to Horseshoe Lake and some epic views.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In



Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes


in Red River


  3.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Red River


in New Mexico


57 Views Last Month
730 Since Sep 6, 2017
Intermediate Intermediate



Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking