July 1, 1998
Highlights: Beautiful views of nearby peaks, rushing creek reportedly full of brown trout, a spectacular mountain lake Location: Interstate 25 heading east from Santa Fe, exit at Pecos-Glorieta No. 299. Cross over the interstate and turn right onto N.M. 50. At the town of Pecos, turn left onto N.M. 63 and follow the highway for 13 1/2 miles. Turn left where the road divides onto Forest Road 122, a narrow paved road that leads to Holy Ghost Creek Campground. Round-trip distance: About 10 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 8,240-10,232 feet Maps: Santa Fe National Forest Service and Pecos Wilderness maps Printable map
Holy Ghost Creek Trail
If you start from the trailhead and not at the end of the campground, the first half-mile of Holy Ghost Creek Trail offers some stunning views of snow-capped mountain peaks. The easily followed trail then dips back down into the canyon, criss-crossing the rushing creek for another two miles or so. It alternately winds through groves of quaking aspens, ponderosa pines and sunny meadows dotted with wildflowers.
The trail then turns to switchbacks and begins a half-mile climb out of the canyon. At the top of the hill, the trail crosses a large meadow and meets Winsor Trail, No. 254. Follow the left branch of Winsor northwest for a couple of miles. It's an easy hike through a fairly dense pine forest, with one creek crossing.
Just after the creek, go right on Trail 251, the Skyline Trail. Less than a half-mile farther, you'll climb over a small ridge and encounter a stunning view of Stewart Lake, with mountains rising from the lake basin on the far side and a clear mountain stream pouring from its mouth in front of you.
Sue B. Mann