New Mexico Trails

Get Two Alpine Tarns All to Yourself at Trampas Lakes

This 11-mile out-and-back climbs to two high-altitude lakes in New Mexico's Carson National Forest.

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See more perfect summer lake hikes to beat the heat.

  • Distance: 11 miles
  • Time: 1 day
  • Elevation gain: 2,520 feet

You won’t find sawtooth ridges like the gray headwalls that protect these twin tarns anywhere else this far south in the Rockies. You also won’t find footprints: A rough road and blowdowns on the trail keep it empty, but there are ample rewards for those with the vehicle and the determination to make the trek.

The Lakes

Find the twin Trampas Lakes nestled at 11,400 feet in Carson National Forest—one framed by a fence-post ridge and the other by a rock face that arcs south to 13,100-foot North Truchas Peak. Rio Grande cutthroat trout jump for bugs in both lakes every morning and evening, so pack a fishing rod if you want to catch your own dinner. If you’re feeling sporty, tackle the mile-long spur to Hidden Lake, where monkshood, bluebells, and wild geranium bloom in midsummer.

Distance 11 miles (out and back) Trailhead 36.0446, -105.6727  Season April to November