Distance: 5 miles
Season: Late Spring, Summer, Fall
Water: No Water
Trail Condition: Good
The Aspen Spur Trail – Trail #860 follows an old road bed from a junction with the Rio en Medio Trail – Trail #163. From Forest Road 412, it climbs to a ridge top that it follows to a point overlooking the Rio en Medio.
From Hyde Park Road, turn left on Forest Road 102 between Big Tesuque and Aspen Vista. Follow FR 102 downhill for 3 miles until reaching a large intersection. Turn right to follow Forest Road 412 back uphill and stay left when the road forks again. Despite seeing little traffic, the narrow road should be in reasonably good condition. After one mile, the road widens at a small parking area marked by a trail sign.
From the parking area, continue to walk down the dirt for less than 100 yards. Opposite from where you parked your, pick up the trail with the sign pointing towards the Rio en Medio – Trail #163 and Borrego Trail – Trail #150. Follow this trail uphill for another hundred yards until you reach a fork. Take the left fork that will soon join the old road bed on top of the ridge that will be running northwest away from the road. This is the Aspen Spur Trail – Trail #860.
After about a quarter of a mile, the trail reaches a junction with another road bed at the top of the low ridge. Go right to continue on the trail.
Over the next few miles, as the trail passes through wide open ponderosa forest, look out for other trails and old roads that intersect your trail. Although it is not marked, the Aspen Spur Trail largely remains on the ridge tops.
At points, the trail narrows slightly, but remains clear and easy to follow nevetheless.
The trail ends at a prominent point above the Rio en Medio at roughly 9300 feet. From this point, the old road continues steeply downhill into the Rio en Medio drainage but ends quickly, so this high points makes for a good turn around point.
Return the same way you came. Look for the opening in the barbed wire fence as your indication to follow the roadbed downhill for the final 1/4 mile back to your car.