Winter Hike to San Gregorio Lake, near La Jara, NM

Deep snow, beautiful landscape, lake in middle of beautiful snow covered meadow

Near: La Jara, NM

Distance: 7.5 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 658 ft

Hike Time: 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Condition: Well maintained trail

Hike Type: Out and Back

Summary: This is one of my favorite hikes to do. It’s relatively close to Albuquerque (1hr 15min to trailhead) and is not used much during the summer and not at all during the winter. San Pedro Parks is a small wilderness area located in the Santa Fe National Forest. It’s unique in that there are no major peaks or cliffs or steep narly parts. When you arrive at the center of the park it is beatiful mixtures of open meadows and thick woods. This trip was a winter trip in deep unbroken snow so we only made it in to San Gregorio Lake. It was completely covered in snow.

The trail did seem steeper going in that I’ve ever experienced, again, mostly because in the summer, the hike begins at the trailhead not 3mi down the road. If you are ever in the area, you’ve got to try this hike – summer or winter. If you can make it to the Rio Vacas, in the summer, there is always running water and native cutties and rainbows abound.

++ Hiking Clothing Guide


This was a unique hike because a huge storm came through and dropped 12-18″ of new snow the night before we arrived and no one had plowed or broken trail so we actually started at the crest of the hill on HWY 126 rather than the regular trailhead. Throughout this hike, I’ll describe things based on the conditions as we found them for this hike. Typically the trailhead is .75 miles from the lake. In the winter, the road is not maintained so the trailhead is 2.75 miles from the normal trailhead and in our case, the trailhead was another .25 miles up the road to the west from there. (Lat:35.59 Lon:-106.5)