Length: 5 miles
Seasons: Spring, summer, fall and early winter
Lowest and Highest Points: 10,300 feet to 11,070 feet
The Winsor Trail No. 254 is situated at the top of Hyde Park Road, where the road loops around the Santa Fe Ski area parking lot. The trailhead access is beside the National Forest Service information kiosk. While checking the kiosk for updates on fire danger and wildlife observed on the trail, check your pack for water and a backup jacket: safe, enjoyable hikes depend on your being informed and having appropriate gear. Water may not seem necessary in the winter, nor a jacket in the summer, but the elevation here lends itself to dehydration and rapid weather changes.
The Winsor Trail starts with a series of moderate grade switchbacks. They can be daunting, but they’re a fine way to get your heart rate up before reaching the Pecos Wilderness trailhead. On the trail, the two lovely benches supplied by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance are perfect spots for water breaks, silent reflection and scenic views. Once at the Pecos Wilderness, the trail branches out, with paths to Ravens Ridge, Nambe and Katherine Lakes, and Santa Fe Baldy.
Inviting year-round, the Winsor Trail still has snowpack in the early spring, making the hike cool and brisk. In summer, the heat brings out the smell of the pines. In fall, the waning crowds allow you a more peaceful, contemplative journey through the gloriously colorful aspens. In winter, enjoy the glistening white landscape and the stillness, but keep in mind that winter hiking requires knowledge — and snowshoes.
Those unfamiliar with the Winsor Trail hike will find that summer provides the best introduction to it. The trail will be well traveled and clearly evident for there-and-back exploration. Dogs are welcome any time of the year.
Avery Pearson loves hiking, photography, reading and nice writing implements. He seeks things of permanence from past times (e.g., fountain pens, typewriters and pocket watches). He enjoys discovering archaic words and exploring with his family, and he takes pride in growing his beard.