The Lobo Peak Trail is a 10.7 mile long trail that goes from the Gold Hill Trail – Trail #64 to the Lama Canyon Trail – Trail #98.
Trail Condition: Good to Poor
Gold Hill Trail to Gavilan Trail:
The junction for the Lobo Peak Trail from the Gold Hill Trail is faint, as is the trail itself, so the easiest option is to leave the trail to the west and follow the ridge as it swings around to the southwest. At the top of the horseshoe, the trail is well-trodden but it quickly fades as it crests a small rise before dropping into a saddle below Gavilan Peak.
NOTE: Theoretically, the trail should pass two junctions with the Placer Fork Trail – Trail #72 and Willow Fork Trail – Trail #104. Neither of these junctions were clearly marked, but due to the grassy, meadowy nature of the terrain, this might not mean much.
The Lobo Peak Trail all but disappears as it it dips down into the Saddle below the peak, but picks up again half way up the final pitch. The views from the top of Gavilan Peak (12,191 feet) are unparalleled. To the east, Wheeler Peak and the Taos Ski Valley are perfectly visible. To the north, there are excellent views of Gold Hill and the large horseshoe bowl you have just traversed. And to the West, you can see the entire Columbine-Hondo Wilderness and the ridge line that continues to Lobo Peak and eventually Flag Mountain.
Although the trail fades frequently, it rarely disappears for long and the trail remains on the top of the ridge, so it’s easy to remain on track even if the trail itself is not obvious.From the top of the peak, turn right to continue west along the ridge. The grassy peak covers the trail until it drops into the stand of alpine fir. However, the trail fades in a short while due to a cluster of downed trees. Over the next few miles, the trail frequently fades, but it typically remains on the Rio Hondo side of the ridge as opposed to the Red River side of the ridge. This is the case here, so stay to the left, and you should be able to pick up the faint trail fairly soon.
After dropping steeply into a saddle, the trail contours along the south side of a small peak before reaching another point. The trail fades again here, but picks up on the extreme left side of the ridge, dropping down to another saddle. If you cannot find the trail here, don’t worry. Just make your way down the ridge to the saddle where you should be able to see the trail pick up again.
From the saddle, the trail contours along the south side of another small peak, and although the trail is narrow and the footing can be rough, the trail will be easy to follow to the junction with the Gavilan Trail – Trail #60.
As the trail contours around this small peak, it eventually crosses over into the Columbine Creek drainage and descends quite steeply to the junction with the Gavilan Trail.
Italianos Canyon Trail to Lobo Peak:
Beside for some snow on the north facing ridge close to Lobo Peak, the trail was in good condition with few blow downs. Once the snow melts, this short section of trail will be in prime condition.
This 1.3 mile section of trail was in good condition as it climbs from the saddle at the junction with the Italianos Canyon Trail – Trail #59 to the top of Lobo Peak. It remains on the forested the ridge for this entire section until the last bit before the peak with the trees fall away in the final scramble to the summit.