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Top 3 Night Hikes

These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California

Shining Rock Wilderness, NC | Ventana Wilderness, CA | Pecos Wilderness, NM

Pecos Wilderness, NM
See moon detail without a telescope.
At 12,622 feet, Mt. Baldy is the highest peak in the southern Sangre de Cristos, a mountain range stretching 242 miles from Poncha Pass, Colorado, to Glorieta Pass, New Mexico. Hike to its chrome dome summit on November 13th to watch the full moon rising over glass-calm Lake Katherine. Santa Fe’s dry desert air and scant light pollution make this location "clear and a million" (airline pilot lingo for "good visibility for about a million miles"). Take the Winsor Trail from the Santa Fe Ski Basin four miles to the Rio Nambe. Ascend 1.5 miles to the Nambe’s east fork; set up camp at one of the designated sites. Continue about .75 mile, then head left on Trail 251 to Lake Katherine. Veer north off-trail and climb 1,000 feet and one mile up the summit ridge. Tag the top by 4:30 p.m. to catch both sunset and moonrise. (505-438-7840,

Star Attraction Pick yourself up with a breakfast burrito from Tesuque Village Grocery. Ask for extra guacamole–it’s "slap-your-momma good." (505) 988-8848

The Way
From Santa Fe, take NM 475 15 miles north to Santa Fe Ski Basin.

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