Rio Arriba County High Point Trip Report
Truchas Pk (13,102 ft)
Date: July 14-15, 2001
Author: Jobe Wymore
From the junction of NM503 and NM84/285 hit the odometer and head East on 503. The road curves and
weaves while passing through the small towns of Nambe and Cundiyo before climbing a small incline and
reaching FR306 on the right after 13 miles. This point can also be reached by heading south at the junction
of NM503 & NM76 for 1.2 miles.
Turn on this great dirt road and zero the odometer once again. At 0.5 of a mile you will go over a cattle
guard and another at 1.5 that has a Santa Fe National Forest Boundary sign just pass it. Continue on the
main track passing smaller dirt roads from time to time and continue straight when another road merges at
2.8 miles. At 7.3 miles another cattle guard is passed and finally at 8.8 a sign stating you are at the Borrego
Mesa Campground is reached. At this point in the road is a "Y" and take the right fork. Quickly there is
another "Y" again, at around mile 9. Take the right fork again and head up the small incline to the trail head
which is reached at mile 9.1. A nice trail forest billboard sign with a smaller sign by it that mentions that you
are at trail 155. Passenger cars can drive all of this with ease in good conditions.
Shoulder your pack and instantly drop 500 vertical feet to the river bottom where you join the Rio Medio.
The trail skirts the river for quite a ways before pulling away and heading off to your left to climb a little bit.
The maps show that the trail basically hugs the river side but, that isn't the case. Just stick to the main trail
and from time to time it pulls away from the river but it always stays close and will eventually have you
skirting its side.
After about 2+ hours of hiking you'll reach the signed trail junction of FT158. Just continue on and soon
will pass through a fenced in area and a gate shortly thereafter. About 30 minutes after that the trail crosses
the Rio Medio and takes a drastic change to the right. Just stay on the main track. After 3 1/2 - 4 hours of
hiking time from where you started you will get to another signed trail junction. The sign for the Horse
Rides Trail and also has an arrow pointing in the direction of FT351A. Someone has also carved 351in the
bottom of the sign. This is where you get off FT155, which you have been on all along, and make your way
up a side canyon in the direction of Truchas Peak on FT351.
Topo maps show that after a little over 1 mile that the trail reaches a junction with FT151 and you are to
pass it for a bit until you reach the junction with 351A. Well, the map is WRONG. Actually, after a little
over a mile of moderate elevation gain you will reach another signed trail junction. This time there is no
sign, just a post. You are to go LEFT here. Not right. The trail continues to climb moderately and wrap
around a ridge. About 1/2 mile from the post, you will reach the actual signed junction with FT151.
Continue straight on FT351A and follow it into a beautiful cirque with Joe Vigil Lake nestled in the bottom
of it. Fish were jumping everywhere when I was here and with the lake being so clear it was like looking in
a huge fish tank!
Your options at this point? The cirque is steep on all sides but to your right(ish) has a lot more grass, and
less scree to deal with. I went in this direction, topping out on a minor saddle between an unnamed point
and Truchas Peak. The footing was great and progress and elevation gain are fast! From the saddle I went
to my left and topped out on Truchas Peak about 15 minutes later. It is 1100 vertical feet from Joe Vigil Lake.
The views are tremendous with Santa Fe Baldy, Caballo Mountain, Pecos Baldy, Elk Mountain many other
peaks visible. There is a medium sized cairn on top with a PVC style register. The pipe just had scraps in it
so I leaft a small spiral notepad in it so all of you can sign in! This is a great hike/climb and I hope you will
all have the chance to do this one. It simply is a 4,400+ vertical foot climb without hordes of people in a
awesome wilderness. Nice way to finish New Mexico.