Santa Barbara Camp Ground LbNA # 1675
|Placed Date||Sep 15 2002|
(Penasco, New Mexico, in the Carson National Forest)
Placed on September 15, 2002 by J,L & L.
An easy hike, about 45 minutes up.
Get yourself to Penasco, in northern New Mexico, which is about an hour to an
hour and a half drive from either Santa Fe or Taos. Penasco is on the high road
between Santa Fe and Taos. In Penasco, you will come to a Y in the road where
highway 75 and 73 meet up. From that Y, drive south on highway 73 for
approximately 1.5 miles to the community (no sign) of Rodarte. You will see a
sign on the right pointing you to the Santa Barbara Camp Ground (it's highway
116). Turn left. You will drive on pavement for a bit and then end up on a dirt
road heading into the forest. There is one fork in the road, stay to the left
(to the right takes you down into the valley). Continue on the road until you
get to the entrance to Santa Barbara Camp Ground. There may be a day use fee
(there is definitely an overnight use fee). Santa Barbara has camp and picnic
sites arranged along a one-way road that makes a loop. Drive to the far end of
the loop, this is where the trail starts. There is no sign marking the
trailhead, but there is a turnstile type gate at the beginning of the trail. If
you can, park nearby, otherwise you may have to go back to the beginning of the
loop and the large parking area. The September day we were there it was not
crowded and we parked close to the trail head.
After the turnstile gate, you will walk through small meadows dotted with
wildflowers and Aspen trees. If you go in the fall, you will have a trail
covered with yellow and orange Aspen leaves. The trail parallels Rio Santa
Barbara and you will hear the babbling during most of the walk. After about 35
minutes of leisurely walking, you will come to sign marking the boundary
between Carson National Forest and the Pecos Wilderness. Walk another 10
minutes or so and you will come to a wooden footbridge.
Cross the footbridge and walk about 8 paces. You are very close to the
letterbox. On the left side of the trail is a large pine tree [Update as of summer 2009 - I've been informed that the pine tree is only a stump now!]. Look up the hill
on your left. At shoulder height are four small blue spruce in a bit of a
circle; look for the box under a cluster of rocks in that circle. (After you
cross the footbridge, if you get to the drainage culvert, you have gone too
far, turn around and walk 6 or 7 paces back.)
Enjoy your outing!