Sep 1, 2013 · 7:00 AM
Highway 64 and 150
The Latir Wilderness is a beautiful area, just east of Questa, that is often overlooked because of the nearby mountains surrounding Taos. Today we will do a loop hike and enjoy some of the best scenery this area has to offer. The plan is to start either at the the forest road that leads to Cabresto Lake or at the Lake itself if the road is in good condition. The lake start will cut about 3 miles off of the trip and save us an hour or two to bag some other peaks that there never seems to be enough time to do when starting at the forest road. Regardless of where we begin, the hiking and terain is fairly easy but the physical aspect makes it a difficult and strenuous hike. Be prepared for a very long day of hiking with lots of elevation gain along the way (15-18 miles with 5-7,000 feet of elevation gain). The route follows the lovely Lake Fork Trail to Heart Lake. We'll take a quick breather before we ascend Latir Mesa and then go on to bag Latir and Venado Peaks. If we make good time we can continue from Venado's summit to climb Virsylvia Peak or head south and west on tundra and bag Cabresto. If we are making poor time we will skip Cabresto and Virsylvia but I will plan on summiting Bull Creek Peak and Cabresto Sur Este, before we finish the loop on the Bull Creek Trail.
Make sure you are in good or great hiking shape if you plan to join me and bring the usual mandatory items (lots of high energy food, a wind and rain shell, enough layers to keep you comfortable if the weather gets crazy, 3-4 liters of water or a way to treat it, and a headlamp). Haven't decided on a meeting place but think there is a parking area at the junction of state roads 150 and 230 (the junction where you would turn to go to Arroyo Seco and the Taos Ski Basin) at 7 a.m. Dogs are okay but make sure to bring a leash in case your dog is bothering us.
I am driving up on Friday night and plan to camp along the Rio Hondo. I am willing to share my site but it is rather small and would probably only be good for one other tent. However, there are two campgrounds along the Rio Hondo and plenty of disturbed at-large sites near the forest access road just outside of Questa. Another option would be to rent a room at a local hotel or hostel. You could also organize amongst yourselves and carpool early Saturday morning (it is at least a 3 hour drive).