2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – April 1999

New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness

In New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness, it's just you and the bighorn sheep looking down on the world.

by: Chris Hayhurst

PAGE 1 2

I'm always surprised at how many otherwise sensible people think the dramatic uplift of the southern Rockies ends at the Colorado-New Mexico line. The truth is, the high granite spines play on for 100 more miles to Santa Fe. Hiding thereabouts is the Pecos Wilderness, one of the premier backpacking destinations in New Mexico-and perhaps all of the West.

In the Pecos, more than 400 miles of trail climb in and out of canyons, run along the rugged ridges, and crest the sky-soaked summits within this 223,667-acre jewel of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Among the best of the paths, and the perfect way to reach the heart of this wilderness, is the 14-mile Winsor Trail (#254). After leaving the boggy meadows and aspen glades that crowd its namesake creek near the trailhead, the Winsor Trail climbs steadily through a dense conifer forest for about 6 miles before connecting with the aptly named Skyline Trail (#251), a 50-mile ridgeline jaunt that takes in many of the region's highlights.

Eventually, you'll find yourself between Stewart and Spirit Lakes, where you'll face a difficult choice.

Option 1: Continue west on the Winsor, and make camp amid the wildflower meadows of Puerto Nambe. Break camp early the next morning and devote the day to summiting the three 12,000-plus-foot mountains that surround you-Santa Fe Baldy, Penitente Peak, and Lake Peak.

Option 2: Head north on the Skyline for a beautiful two- to seven-day backcountry tour that carries you to 13,103-foot South Truchas Peak, the state's second-highest mountain. From the summit you'll enjoy 100-mile vistas clear to Colorado, and if you're lucky, you'll bump into the bighorn sheep that patrol the steep slopes.

Regardless of which option you choose, time spent in the Pecos will send you back to work with your head in the clouds.

PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Sep 15, 2009

The Pecos is a great place. It's somewhat unknown, so there are rarely any others on the trails with you. So much peace and quiet to enjoy.

MIke Zimmerman
Jan 19, 2009

Looking for information on Pecos Wilderness N.M for my Boy Scout Troop to go and hike. Please send me the information at Mike Zimmerman 508 Milford St. Port Royal,PA 17082
PS.Please send asap Thank you for your time.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Falling in the backcountry
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: toejam
Trailhead Register
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: buddero
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions