Length: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate – Hard
Seasons: Summer, Fall
Lowest and Highest Points: 9,997’ and 11,200’
The Alamos Vista trailhead is directly off the Aspen Vista parking lot. The Alamos Vista trailhead, directly to the left, is hidden by a treeline and is easy to miss since the Aspen Vista Trail is the main attraction here. Broad and inviting, Aspen Vista leads directly from the parking area to the top of the Ski Basin. For those with an adventurous spirit, look left after the metal gate. A clearly traveled and rather steep single-track trail will lead off into dense pine trees. This is the Alamos Vista Trail.
You may find hiking poles helpful. The steep grade will be continuous for the first leg of the hike, but the difficult ascent through the pines gives way to a moderately graded incline surrounded by nicely spaced aspens. A pronounced rock outcropping signals the end of the steep slope. Be sure to look left once the pines give way to the aspens. The view is breathtaking, and it will probably be time to rehydrate with some water.
After a relaxing journey through dappled shade, you’ll come to a group of three tall aspens that form an arched gateway over the trail. Past this is an open field. At the far end is a felled log that’s perfect for picnicking, reading or meditating on the beauty of the Santa Fe Valley. Going at a relaxed pace, you’ll find the total time to reach the log is about forty minutes. Turn around at the log for a there-and-back experience.
For those who want a full day of hiking, continue past the log on the well-marked single track behind it. This leads to the base of the Santa Fe ski area, close to the chair lifts. From there, travel up the slope towards the communications array at the top of the mountain, where it connects with the top of the Aspen Vista trail. Turn right and follow the broad trail down the mountain. This leads back to the trailhead parking lot. The total time to make this long loop is around three hours. There are several great places to picnic and rest along the way.
The trail is easily accessed from early summer to late fall. Alamos Vista is beautiful all year long, with the most vibrant color occurs in early fall when the rustling aspen leaves start to change in color. However, this is also when the trail is most heavily traveled. Winter and spring hikes are best left to experienced hikers with intimate knowledge of the trail. The steep grades and sharp rock outcroppings can be hazardous when hidden beneath the snowpack.
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.