After spending the last week looking at Nambe Lake from eye level we decided to take a different approach and get a commanding view over the lake from Raven’s Ridge. This hike starts at Ski Santa Fe parking lot using the Winsor trailhead. It starts with a series of moderate switchbacks quickly gaining elevation. At about 1 mile you reach the Pecos Wilderness boundary. Just in front of the fence there is a faint informal trail that heads up the hill. The trail follows a moderate grade up the hill closely following the fence for about a mile. There were loads of brightly colored red mushrooms, a homage to Mario Brothers all along the fence portion of the trail.
After a mile of following a moderate grade the trail opens up to a rocky viewpoint with sweeping views of Santa Fe Baldy and the Pecos Wilderness.
After a quick snack and some photos we continued on the trail, from the viewpoint you start a rapid climb up towards Raven’s Ridge. The trail becomes faint in some spots with several informal trails all generally heading up the hill. Just pick one and keep on trucking they all lead to the same spot as long as you keep close to the ridgeline. It’s a real butt burner of a climb from the viewpoint to Raven’s Ridge with nary a switchback in sight to lessen the grade. After another mile or so you start to get glimpses of Nambe Lake off to your left and Ski Santa Fe on your right. Due to our usual late start we were beginning to get apprehensive at the sound of thunder growing in the distance but decided to push on the few more minutes to treeline and Raven’s Ridge. At about 12,000 feet you abruptly reach treeline and you have arrived on Raven’s Ridge. You are treated to a panoramic view of Nambe Lake and the Pecos Wilderness below you. If the weather is good you can continue the hike another 1/2 mile along the ridge and bag 2 peaks (Lake and Penitente Peak).
We saw two guys who were lingering on Lake Peak which I thought was particularly dumb given the exposure and rapidly approaching lightning. With the weather deteriorating quickly we snapped a few pictures and rapidly made our way back to the relative safety of treeline. With the sound of thunder urging us to move quickly we sped down the mountain back to the Pecos Wilderness boundary. Right as we arrived back at the sign for Pecos Wilderness the rain that had been threatening all day finally made an appearance. With the ample tree coverage along this portion of the trail we managed to stay relatively dry all the way back to the car.
I’d love to come back and try the trail again with better weather (possibly fall) and continue the hike out to Lake Peak and get a panorama over the entire wilderness. On the way home we stopped at the Tea House in Santa Fe for some tea lattes to warm up. All in all a great day for hiking despite the weather.
Distance: 6.1 miles
Elevation: 2300 feet