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Fall Hiking in the Quemado Lake Recreation Area, NM

Updated on August 26, 2014

Fall is a great time to take advantage of the solitude and scenery along the hiking trails of the Quemado Lake Recreation Area of New Mexico. Located 20 miles south of the town of Quemado on State Highway 103, the lake area offers 6 hiking trails with panoramic vistas and great wildlife and birdwatching opportunities. Whether you’re a beginning hiker or an experienced trekker, there’s a unique hiking experience for everyone. Just stop by the Quemado Ranger Station on Highway 36 or call the District at 505-773-4678 for more information and start your adventure on the trails of the Quemado Lake Recreation Area.

TRAIL INFORMATION: Lakeshore Trail is the most popular trail and skirts the southwest edges of Quemado Lake. It is 1.5 miles in length and offers an easy hike along the banks of the lake. The trailhead is located at the dam on the north side of Quemado Lake. Lake Overlook Trail leads through stands of ponderosa pines and ends at a fantastic rock outcrop. There are panoramic views of El Caso Peak, Castle Rock, and Quemado Lake from the outcrop. It is 1.5 miles in length and steep in some sections. The trailhead is located .5 mile along the Lakeshore Trail on the south side of the lake.

Sawmill Canyon Trail #13 is a relaxing hike through open meadows and ancient ponderosa pines and alligator junipers. It is 4.5 miles in length and connects to Largo Trail #14 for a loop hike. The trailhead is located approximately .5 mile along the Lake Overlook Trail.

Vista Trail offers scenic views of Quemado Lake and surrounding country. It is 1 mile in length and provides access from the Lake Overlook Trail to Largo Trail #14. The trailhead is located approximately 1 mile along the Lake Overlook Trail.

Largo Trail #14 winds through open grassy fields into ponderosa pine stands and leads to the El Caso Lookout tower. It is 3.5 miles in length and provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The trailhead is located on the west side of El Caso Campground #1.

Leslie Spring Trail #17 descends a forested drainage and provides a quiet, loop hike back to Largo Trail #14. It is 3 miles in length and enters private land. The trailhead is located along Largo Trail #14 and leaves from the El Caso Lookout tower.

Reflection on Quemado Lake.
Reflection on Quemado Lake.


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  • wanderingpops profile image

    wanderingpops 6 years ago

    Thanks for the info. This is an area I'm not familiar with but now I know I need to be. I moved to NM about 1.5 years ago so I have lots of area yet to cover.