Chamisa-Saddleback Hike – 09/16/2018

Meeting in Santa Fe these days, we’re exploring trails in the southwestern Sangre de Cristos.  For this our first hike, we headed up Hyde Park Road, passing a couple of areas with cars parked alongside the road (but no trailhead evident), then stopping at the first turnout that appeared to be a trailhead.  This proved to be the Chamisa Trail, #183. 

The Hike

Chamisa-Saddleback Hike.Jay.2018-09-16

Just a short distance from the road we encountered a junction, where there was a sign: “Alternate Route More Difficult”.  Not ready for that, we headed up to the right.  Immediately we were going uphill, not steep but steady with a few switchbacks; certainly not “difficult”. Into the hike 1.5 miles, atop a ridge (the “Saddleback”?), we encountered another junction, a trail coming up the canyon from the left – we suspected that this was the other end of the “.. More Difficult” trail (confirmed later on our way down).  We continued on the ridge for another 3/4 mile where, with good views from northwest to south, we took our mid-hike break.  We returned to the “Saddleback” junction and decided to take the “.. More Difficult” route down through the bottom of the canyon; it was not so difficult (at least going down).

Statistics

Total Distance:  4.01 miles
Elevation: start  7,826 ft, maximum  8,545 ft,  minimum  7,826 ft
Gross gain:  719 ft.  Aggregate ascending  1,364 ft, descending  1,345 ft
Maximum slope: 40% ascending, 35% descending, 12% average
Duration: 3:07

GPS Track Files for Download
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I urge you to explore our hiking tracks with Google Earth. 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 2-dimensional screenshot above. For assistance: Using Google Earth Track Files.

References

USDA Forest Service: Chamisa Trail
AllTrails: Chamisa Trail
Trails.com: Chamisa Trail Loop
Santa Fe.com: Hike: the Chamisa Trail
The Hiking Project: Chamisa Trail (Lower)

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