Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,180.00 ft (359.66 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Alamos Vista Trail is the perfect fall hike to photograph and enjoy the remarkable transformation of the aspen leaves. This moderate to difficult hike is only 2.3 miles out and back. However, within this short trail is a 1,180-foot elevation gain that can be difficult for the inexperienced and unprepared. But the views are the best the Santa Fe National Forest can offer. This colorful autumn trail takes you to some of the clearest aspen groves in the entire state. Hiking nearly entirely uphill, these clean, white young and old aspen growths fill the ground and sky with yellow, orange and gold leaves in early October. Once you begin hiking though these amazing trees, you'll reach an open meadow with a single large aspen in the middle. Finally reaching the top of the trail a short distance later, you'll be standing next to the Santa Fe ski lifts overlooking the mountainsides and the city of Santa Fe below.

Alamos Vista Trailhead is accessible through the Santa Fe Scenic Byway or Hyde Park Road, sometimes referred to as the Ski Basin Road, a gorgeous winding drive leaving west from the famous city of Santa Fe. This scenic drive stretches 30.7 miles from town to Hyde Memorial State Park, into the Santa Fe National Forest, and finally reaches the Santa Fe Ski Basin nearly 5,000 feet in elevation change from the start. With other amazing hikes and camping areas such as Big Tesque, Windsor and Norski, one could spend the entire weekend exploring this beautiful section of the Truchas Mountains. 

The drive from Santa Fe to the trailhead is a 24-minute, 13-mile scenic cruise. From town the scenic byway begins on Artist Road, which quickly becomes Hyde Park Road 475 once exiting the residential areas. Continue on this road for 13 miles and enjoy the amazing sites and wildlife. Parking for the trailhead is very easy to spot. The trail starts at Aspen Vista Picnic Grounds, a large overlook and picnic area with 30 to 40 parking spots. This picnic area also has a men's and women's bathroom as well as tables. The trailhead is just west of the parking area. The only truly difficult thing about this hike is finding its start. To the west you'll see a wide trail/service road with a chain or metal block to stop civilian traffic. This is not Alamos Vista Trail! This road/trail is part of the North Fork Big Tesuque Creek Trail. If at any point you start on a wide trial or downhill, you are not on Alamos Vista Trail. The start of this hike is next to the wide trail by the parking lot. Just after the information sign, look for the fence going uphill. This is where you'll see a wooden post marking Alamos Vista Trail. 

For more Information and road conditions as well as fire safety conditions, please check the Santa Fe National Forest website.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

One of the best fall hikes in New Mexico to witness the aspen colors.

Cons

Limited parking. Easy to miss the trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

9,997.00 ft (3,047.09 m)

Highest point

11,200.00 ft (3,413.76 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,250.00 ft (381.00 m)

Features

Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Family friendly
Big Game Watching
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico
Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico
Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.