Cerro de la Garita North Side Hike – 11/09/2023

We looked forward to returning to the hike up to Cerro de la Garita from the north. First, to try to find a route more direct than our hike last fall for future visits with friends, and second to again enjoy the amazing view into the north half of Valles Caldera.

The Drive In

We made the same route as for our previous visit – I-25, US 550 (and a stop at Chaco Grill in Cuba), NM 96 to Youngsville, then FR 100 and FR 96 to the intersection with FR 144. ‘Tis a 3 hour drive which makes for along day, but we enjoy the hike very much.

The Hike

Cerro de la Garita North Side Hike.Pat.2023-09-07

Notes about the Google Earth screenshot: the graph at the bottom shows elevation of the track (pink area) and speed (the blue line).

The mountainside from FR 144 up to the peak is laced with old logging trails, none of which offer much of a direct route. I viewed the area closely on GoogleEarth and sketched a route from one logging trail to another, as direct a route as I could devine. As we attempted to follow my sketch, and using the Satellite overlay on GAIA, there was just enough discrepancy between the image on GAIA and ‘ground truth’ (our track) to keep us uncertain about our position. As we gained experience (perspective), we began to recognize the openings and gained some skill in orienteering.

Anyhow, we were able to follow the openings/logging trails for a nice hike up, and back down (which didn’t diverge far from our track on the previous visit). And at the top, following along the edge of the south side of la Garita we again enjoyed the fabulous view from 2,000 feet above the ‘T’ in the road into northern area of Valles Caldera and Valle Santa Rosa  and Valle San Antonio, and in the distance Valle jaramillo and Valles Caldera.


Clearly, the view of Valles Caldera from 2,000 feet above the floor – it is spectacular.


Total Distance:   4.07 miles
Elevation: start  10,228 ft, maximum  10,601 ft,  minimum  10,198 ft
Gross gain:  403 ft.  Aggregate ascending  856 ft, descending  856 ft
Maximum slope: 6.2% ascending, 21.8% descending, 7.9% average
Duration: 3:35, Average Speed: 1.1 mph

GPS Track Files for Download
If you haven’t explored these hiking tracks with Google Earth, I urge you to try it. With the virtual 3-dimensional presentation, achieved by panning and tilting the view, you can get a much better idea of the hikes and terrain than you can get from the screenshot above. For some ideas, check out  Using Google Earth Track Files.

Related Posts

Cerro de la Garita North Side Hike – 09/27/2022
Other Hikes in Valles Caldera

References and Resources

AllTrails: Cerro La Garita
Peak Advisor: Cerro de la Garita
Discover Abiquiu: Abiquiu’s Neighbor – The Village of Youngsville
(Great stories and photos)

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