Wilderness is highlighted by meadows that open up around every corner. It’s a kid-friendly route with plenty of places to stop and camp near water. Start from the Vacas Trailhead at 9,300 feet; within the first 2 miles, you’ll hit the San Gregorio Reservoir and the Vallecito Damian, a large meadow with a seasonal creek. If your kids are a little older, continue 4 miles to the Anastacio Trail junction, passing wildflower meadows and several more creeks with small, native trout. At about mile 8, head northwest on the Continental Divide Trail toward San Pedro Parks, but bring water—it’s dry. Camp in aspen and spruce groves, listening for coyotes and elk as the sun sets over a canvas of tulip gentians, bushy cinquefoil, and native grasses.
Text provided by New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors:www.nmvfo.org
-Mapped by Bill Velasquez
TO TRAILHEAD: Take I-25 N to exit 242 to US 550 N (toward village of Cuba). From Cuba, head E on NM 126 for 10.8 mi.; turn L onto FR 70. In 2.7 mi., park in lot @ trailhead.
Distance: 7.58 mi
Total Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none
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Vacas Trail Track
Points of Interest
Location: 36.027260, -106.846901
Follow Vacas Trail, a well-traveled path winding to the NE; in .1 mi., enter San Pedro Parks Wilderness
Location: 36.038952, -106.846397
Path skirts San Gregorio Reservoir's E bank; anglers fish for cutthroat and rainbows
Location: 36.047550, -106.839798
Cross small creek. Skirt edge of Vallecito Damian, a large, lush meadow, then follow a path along the grassy (and sometimes marshy) banks of the Clear Creek
Location: 36.064091, -106.845901
Continue straight @ 4-way with Anastacio Trail
Location: 36.076500, -106.829697
Traverse a small saddle
Location: 36.081169, -106.824997
Cross Rio de las Vacas; turn L @ T where Palomas Trail enters from R
Location: 36.084992, -106.824699
Grab lunch on boulders overlooking rolling hills. In 150 ft., stay straight @ T with Anastacio Trail; wander NE along Rio de las Vacas, home to native Rio Grande cutthroat trout
Location: 36.099640, -106.821098
Continue N along grassy hillsides. *Camping*: In .6 mi., look for sites on L tucked under aspen and pine; lucky campers will hear bugling elk and yipping coyotes
Location: 36.108151, -106.823799
Trail intersects Continental Divide Trail at marked 4-way; retrace steps back. Side trip: Bear L; head 1 mi. NW on CDT to San Pedro Park, a meadow enclosed by thick spruce
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