Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,329.00 ft (405.08 m)
Trail type
3.90 mi (6.28 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.

Santa Fe offers an extensive network of trails very close to the city. Many of them are part of the extensive Dale Bell trail system, including this hike. If one had to choose just one trail for a day hike near Santa Fe, perhaps the biggest return for the effort is the hike up to Picacho Peak. Relative solitude, 360-degree views from the top, at least three separate ecological zones, and the satisfaction of peak bagging are all rewards of this hike.

From the Cerro Gordo Trailhead, the trail immediately crosses the road and heads up a moderate slope through juniper scrub, then ponderosa pine, and finally pinyon pine. The last mile of the hike is up numerous short switchbacks with ever-widening views of Santa Fe and the terrain beyond it. The last 500 yards are steeper, but the goal is quickly reached. From the top, the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east comes into view to round out the panorama.

The Santa Fe trail system is remarkably easy to navigate. The trail junctions are numbered, and each juction has a map of the system. Navigating the system and creating different loop routes is a breeze, though this hike to the peak is most often done as a there-and-back route.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Magnificent views. Easy to follow trail system.


Non-stop climb to the top.

Trailhead Elevation

7,235.00 ft (2,205.23 m)

Highest point

8,575.00 ft (2,613.66 m)


Vault toilet
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


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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