Monday, June 17, 2013

Dorothy Stewart Trail

The following trail description is from Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area Sixth Edition Expanded and Revised by the Northern New Mexico Group of the Sierra Club. This is my favorite hiking guide. It looks as though they have a seventh edition out now. If you spend time hiking in the Santa Fe area I strongly recommend you get this book.

"A short, easily accessible and very pleasant hike on the east side that affords great views of the Santa Fe landscape."

Roundtrip Distance: 2.5 miles 
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Elevation Range: 7320-7550; total gain 440 feet
Rating: Easy

» My thoughts on the above - the distance is accurate from the trailhead, around the entire loop and back to the trailhead. The time is pretty good (it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes with a 10 minute break at each of the two benches). I am not sure about the elevation range because 7320 to 7550 is only 230 feet. I am not sure how they figure the elevation gain but it isn't bad. This is an easy hike.

Here are a couple of links about the trail that you might like to check out . . .
Hike: The Dorothy Stewart Trail
Dorothy Stewart Trail Map

This hike is an easy hike and it is easily accessible and that makes it a great hike for when you don't have a lot of time but want to get out and see some great views of the Santa Fe area. The only problem here is that there is only room for about four cars at the trailhead. This is located about a mile from St. John's college on Camino Cruz Blanca. If the parking is full then you have to park at St. John's and make the almost one mile walk to the trailhead as there is no parking along the street.

I was lucky today and the parking area was empty so I got a great parking spot. I grabbed my water and camera and hit the trail right at 1:00pm.
Trail Split
The trail begins going down right away and pretty much continues that way until you get to a little wash (the book calls it Arroyo Mora, although I have never seen a sign). I walked for about 20 minutes and reached a sign for the Dorothy Stewart trail and then just a few minutes later I reached the wash. From here the trail gradually goes uphill, it isn't hard, you just know you are climbing. I took breaks along the way to take some pictures of the great views and I was also happy to see some cactus blooms as well. I reached the split in the trail (this is marked by a rock cairn next to a small pine? tree) that starts the loop at 1:30pm and decided to head left (I did this for no particular reason) and continued on the trail.
One of the two benches on the trail.
About 10 minutes later I arrived at the first bench. The bench is made from a build up of rocks with small logs going across for the seat. The view from this bench is wonderful so I took a few minutes to sit and enjoy it. Continuing along for a few more minutes brought me to the junction (Junction 33) with the Dale Ball South Trails. I passed this and continued to the second bench which is only a few minutes walk from here. Again I took a break and enjoyed the views of Picacho Peak and Atalaya. I left the bench at about 1:45pm and was back at the split at 1:55pm. From here you head back on the same trail you took from the parking area. It is downhill at first until you get to the wash and then the last part is uphill to your car. I made it back at 2:15pm. It was a great hike for a very warm summer day. I was happy that the weather was good and got to enjoy the beautiful blue skies.


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