Holy Ghost Canyon

Distance: 8.4 miles

Water: Water available throughout trail

Season: Summer, Fall

Trail Condition: Good

The Holy Ghost Trail – Trail #283 is a 4.2 mile trail that starts from the Holy Ghost Campground and ends at the Winsor Trail – Trail #254. The first 3.5 miles of the trail follow Holy Ghost Creek before switchbacking up the canyon to the junction with the Winsor Trail.

It can be either a pleasant day hike or the beginning of a longer backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness.


From the town of Pecos, take NM-63 north. Just before the town of Terrero, take a left, crossing the Pecos River, following signs towards the Holy Ghost Campground and Recreation Area. The road ends after about 3 miles at the campground.

There are two trailheads. The first trailhead is on the north side of Holy Ghost Creek, just before entering the campground. The second trailhead is at the end of the campground. The further trailhead eliminates 1 mile of walking, but also carries an $8 day-use fee.

From the first trailhead, before entering the campground, pick up the the Holy Ghost Trail – Trail #283 across from the small parking area. The trail climbs quickly above the campground on the north side of the creek eventually plateauing in an aspen forest. The trail contours briefly before dropping back down to the creek.

The trail reaches the creek in a small meadow where it joins with the trail that leaves from the campground. It crosses the creek here, the first of 6 crossings, none of which should be difficult as long as you are not attempting the trail at the peak of spring snow melt.

Shortly after crossing to the south side of the creek, the trail enters the Pecos Wilderness. The next 1/2 mile is fairly flat as the trail parallels the creek close to grade. Afterthe next creek crossing, the trail climbs roughly 100 feet above the creek and continues to follow it upstream toward a fork.

Looking upstream on Holy Ghost Creek

The trail drops down to where the stream forks, crosses the right (main) fork and begins climbing steeply up the opposite face. Eventually, the trail turns right to continue following Holy Ghost Creek upstream. This is an especially pretty stretch of forest. Enjoy the flat walking before the trail descends towards another creek crossing.

The trail crosses back to the north side of the creek and follows the stream for a short while before crossing again. It then climbs briefly before dropping back down to the stream and crossing it one last time.

Wood Lily in Holy Ghost Canyon


After the sixth and final stream crossing, the trail climbs steeply away from the creek and towards the forested ridge above. After the initial climb, the trail begins to switchback at a lower grade up the face.

Overlook, half-way up the final climb

About half way up the final climb, there’s a small rock outcropping that offers a pleasant view over the valley below. This makes for a good breaking spot to split up the climb.

From this point, the ridge and the junction with the Winsor Trail should be less than 15 minutes away. Most of the trail was well-cleared, but there was some downfall in the final stretch – still nothing too difficult to navigate around.

Just before reaching the junction, the trail enters a small meadow and faded slightly before reentering the forest where the trail ends at the junction with the Winsor Trail.

Holy Ghost Trail

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