Santa Fe Baldy and Spirit Lake

Posted: September 4th, 2018

Photos

Impression

Santa Fe Baldy is the highest point in the cluster of mountains above the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountain has an altitude of 12,622 ft and is the 5th highest mountain in the state of New Mexico (source). It's located in the Santa Fe National Forest. To get to the mountain, you start at the trailhead in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Ski Area. The ski area can be reached by driving or by taking a shuttle.

The hike is mostly through the trees. To reach Santa Fe Baldy, go on the Winsor Trail (#254) and then turn left onto the Skyline Trail (#251). This leads to a saddle which allows access to the ridgeline that brings you to the summit. If you continue on the Winsor Trail past the exit for the Skyline Trail, you will end up at Spirit Lake.

It is critical to be aware of the weather when summitting Santa Fe Baldy in the summer. It's generally best to be off of the summit by noon due to thunderstorms. Few views can be seen during the hike until after reaching the saddle. Once at the summit, there are commanding views of the surrounding area, including lakes.

During my hike, there were thunderstorms at noon and hail much of the way down the mountain until in the forest. Hiking past the saddle is the most difficult part of the hike. Overall, the hike is long but offers excellent views of the surrounding area. The hike can be completed in one day if you start early enough to avoid weather risks.

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