Continental Divide Trail North

 Cuba Mesa along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. 

Cuba Mesa along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. 

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Distance: 6.2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

The Continental Divide Trail North/Los Pinos Trail climbs through Santa Fe National Forest from the Nacimiento Mountain foothills to the top of the mountains in the San Pedro Parks wilderness. It begins 6 miles northeast of Cuba at the end of Forest Road #95 where a parking area and kiosk are located. The trail follows the Rito Los Pinos for 3.1 miles and ascends almost 2000 vertical feet. It continues gently uphill and is shady along its entire course. Once on top of the mountain you can turn around, follow it several more miles to the center of the San Pedro Parks, choose a number of loop trails, or walk 2700 miles to the Canadian Border. Vegetation along the trail is lush and amazingly diverse. Views are limited until you reach the top of the mountain. Water in the Rito Los Pinos must be filtered and/or treated. Bring adequate water and food for the length of your planned hike. *** Directions provided in the link above take you to Forest Road #95, please follow to end of the road to find the trail head***

Continental Divide Trail South

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Distance: 7.0 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

The Continental Divide Trail South begins 4 miles southwest of Cuba on a dirt road that runs south from mile marker 4 on NM 197. It follows the roadway approximately 1 ½ miles until - after passing sandstone cliffs - it crosses the wide Chijuilla Wash. It then follows posts and cairns (large rock pile markers) through a wide arroyo to the top of Mesa Portales. The trail takes you south along the Mesa rim for another 2 miles before descending from the Mesa and heading to La Ventana Mesa, Mount Taylor and the Mexican border, 400 miles away. you can turn around or continue at this point. There are scenic vistas along the entire route including badlands, sandstone cliffs, and mountain and mesa views from the Mesa Portales rim. You stay in pinon~juniper woodland, but shade can be scarce. Bring plenty of food and water for extended hikes.