A sense of anticipation can be felt in the forest now. The leaves are changing from green to yellow and the air feels fresh and cool. Soon the aspen will be gloriously golden. Fall is the perfect time to get out and explore some of the hikes south …
A sense of anticipation can be felt in the forest now. The leaves are changing from green to yellow and the air feels fresh and cool. Soon the aspen will be gloriously golden. Fall is the perfect time to get out and explore some of the hikes south of Taos in the Carson National Forest.
Flechado Canyon Trail is a lightly-traveled hike that follows a stream through meadows and aspen groves. It climbs to Gallegos Peak with its views of Jicarita and Truchas Peaks. The hike is located just past Sipapu Ski Resort on State Road 518. Head out of town and climb up U.S. Hill for views back into Taos and ahead to the forests. The road descends and follows the Rio Pueblo, accessing a variety of trails, including Flechado Canyon. Look for the Flechado Day Use area to the right and park here. The trailhead is located across the road, at the vertical sign with “7” on the top.
The hike begins at 8,000 feet, with a steep climb up beside a trickling stream. Towering rock cliffs surround the trail. After the first half mile, the trail becomes less steep and enters the aspen and mixed evergreen forest. The trail is moderate and rolling here and reaches a series of meadows that are still full of wildflowers, including the purple mountain bellflower. Flickers and dusky grouse can be seen, along with many chipmunks and squirrels gathering food for the winter.
The trail crosses the small stream several times and passes through areas of downed trees. After the second mile, the path begins to climb again. It meets with the Gallegos Canyon Trail (Carson National Forest Trail No. 4) and follows a short double track section. The trails also join with Gallegos Peak Trail (Carson National Forest No. 182), an old logging road that connects all the routes in the area.
Watch for two posts without a sign and take the trail to the left that climbs steeply up again. The trail levels off and just above it there is a faded trail sign at the base of an open meadow. Follow the faint path up above the trees for expansive views of Jicarita and the Truchas Peaks to the south. The aspens are beginning to turn yellow and soon the area will be awash in golden leaves. The meadow is on the south flank of Gallegos Peak at 10,500 feet and can be reached in just over three miles of hiking. It is the perfect spot to rest and eat lunch, before returning back down the trail.
Although the weather may be more stable in the fall, the temperatures can drop quickly. Now is a good time to add a fleece layer, a warm hat, and a wind and waterproof layer to your back pack. Be sure to carry more water than you think you will need, along with snacks and a lunch.
From Taos Plaza, drive just over three miles south on Paseo del Pueblo to the intersection with State Road 518. Turn left and continue south. Go past the intersection with State Road 75 and drive just over five miles. Park on the right in the Flechado Day Use area. There are picnic tables and an outhouse here. The trailhead is directly across from the parking entrance.
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