Winsor Trail – Trail #254

The Winsor National Recreational trail is 22.8 miles long. It begins at end of County Road 72A in Tesuque and ends at Winsor Creek Campground.

Trail Condition: Good to Excellent

June 2019

Winsor Creek Trailhead to the junction with the Winsor Creek Trail – Trail #261

The majority of this segment remains in good condition, but the last few miles atop the mesa, passing the junction with the Holy Ghost Trail – Trail #283 has a number of downed trees. The trail is still easy to find, and none of the trees present much of an obstacle, but be prepared for some slower walking in sections.

September 2018

Due to its length, there are many sections of the Winsor Trail – most of which see heavy use. Although the most popular sections of the trail are on the west side of the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe, it is named for Winsor Creek, which joins the Pecos River near Cowles.

From the Winsor Creek Campground, the trail is in good condition for its first 1/2 mile. After crossing Winsor Creek, there is junction with the Winsor Creek Trail – Trail #261.

NOTE: The Forest Service no longer maintains the Winsor Creek Trail, but it is still passable by foot. There are enough downed trees that it is not recommended for horses, but for hikers, it offers a much quicker route for reaching the Stewart Lake area.

Go left at the junction. The trail follows the creek downstream as it climbs, wrapping in and out of smaller side canyons. The trail here is wide and in extremely good condition. It climbs slowly, contouring around the large ridge, eventually trading the lush fir and spruce forest for a more arid, ponderosa forest.

At the top of this large switchback, the trail crosses over a ridge and out of the Winsor Creek drainage. There is a brief level section before the trail resumes its ascent in a aspen grove, which quikcly gives way to a stunted oak forest.

After a climbing for another 3/4 miles, the trail reaches the top of the ridge. From here, to the junction with the Holy Ghost Trail – Trail #283, the trail is flat to downhill. It is wide the walking is easy. Just before the junction, the trail parallels small meadow.

From the signed junction, continue straight along the well-maintained trail. There are a few downed trees in this section, but they are easy to pass. The next 1.4 miles to the junction with the Skyline Trail – Trail #251 are similarly flat and easy to follow. You will pass the unmarked junction with the Winsor Creek Trail after 1 mile.

At the creek crossing that marks the junction with the Skyline Trail, turn left to follow the creek upstream. The trail continues for a mile before reaching the next junction with the Lake Katherine Trail – Trail #242.

Turn left, crossing the creek, to remain on the Winsor Trail, which climbs towards Spirit Lake. Past Spirit Lake, it climbs to a small saddle before dropping into a small meadow in a large basin separating Santa Fe Baldy and Lake Peak.

From the junction with the Skyline Trail, the Winsor Trail  turns west and traverses back toward Ski Santa Fe, keeping an even grade along much of this route. This section of the trail is very well traveled.

Just before reaching Ski Santa Fe, the trail leaves the Pecos Wilderness. From the ski area parking lot, #254 continues downhill and climbs again quickly to greet the road aonce more at the Nordic Area parking lot.

The trail crosses through the parking lot and continues into the forest. This section of trail is very popular for mountain bikers, so keep an eye out and be ready to step off the trail.

After a few miles, the trail meets up with Tesuque Creek near the junction with the Borrego Trail – Trail #150. It continues along the creek to its terminus at County Road 72A. At points in this section, it crosses the creek frequently and can be tricky at high water.

Throughout its course, the Winsor Trail is well-marked and maintained.

To read more about the Winsor Trail, see my trip reports from Stewart Lake and the Pecos Lakes Loop.