Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,090.00 ft (941.83 m)
Trail type
13.10 mi (21.08 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.

The trail to Lake Katherine starts from the parking lot on the Santa Fe Ski Basin in the Santa Fe National Forest. Hikers will start on the Windsor Trail (Trail 254). The trail immediately starts ascending with intermittent views of the Santa Fe Ski Area. At 0.7 miles the signs let hikers know they are entering the Pecos Wilderness. At that point the trail descends for the next mile.  

At 2.7 miles the trail veers to the left. While it appears that the main trail continues to the right, that route leads to Nambe Lake, and hikers should pay attention to the signage. After crossing Nambe Creek shortly after the trail intersection, the trail once again ascends. At 4 miles hikers will come to a trail intersection where they should follow the Skyline Trail (Trail 251) to the lake.  

The next 1.4 miles follow four long switchbacks that ascend to the final trail intersection. Hikers will go right and continue along the Skyline Trail. After hikers pass over the saddle, they will descend four winding switchbacks. After the switchbacks hikers will ascend one final time to the lake. The last quarter of a mile is through a wash, and hikers should be on the lookout for cairns to mark the trail. 

Once at Lake Katherine, day hikers can enjoy the lake and return to the trailhead the way they came. Backpackers can set up camp at least 200 feet away from the shoreline.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round



Beautiful lake. Vistas.


Popular trail can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

10,252.00 ft (3,124.81 m)

Highest point

11,759.00 ft (3,584.14 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

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

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico


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