Weekend Backpacking Trip to Heart Lake (Latir Peak Wilderness)

  • July 19, 2013 · 9:00 PM

This trip takes us to the northern Sangre De Cristos (northeast of Questa) and Heart Lake which sits just below timberline at 11,500 ft with several high peaks (12,550 to 13,000 ft) towering above the lake.

The reconstruction of the Cabresto Lake dam has been completed and the recreation area is open again. We will meet Friday evening at the Cabresto Lake trailhead and camp overnight.  Saturday morning we will backpack to Heart Lake and set up camp.  Saturday afternoon is open for day hiking around the area with the option of summiting Latir Peak.  Sunday we will hike out and drive home.

Backpack to Heart Lake:

The Lake Fork Trail #82 starts by skirting to the left (west) of Cabresto Lake, then makes a long, steady climb parallel to Lake Fork of Cabresto Creek. The first 2 miles traverse conifer forest with cork-bark fir dominating the slopes. After passing through several small meadows, meet the Bull Creek Trail #85 about 2.5 miles from the start. Bear right, cross Bull Creek, and continue along Lake Fork. After climbing the only switchback on the trail, enter a blue spruce forest. At mile 3.5, find a long meadow with excellent campsites on both sides of Lake Fork. In 0.5 mile, the trail re-enters the forest and climbs a low ridge. At mile 4.5 bear left toward Heart Lake at the junction with Baldy Mountain Trail #81 (also known as Midnight Trail #81). In a few minutes, enter a small meadow and bear right to parallel small streams on both the left and right. As the trail peters out, again pick up the main trail to the left of the streams. From here it is a short distance to Heart Lake.

Day Hike Around Heart Lake:

To reach the saddle above the lake, stay on the left side of the lake, passing the junction with Trail No. 85 on the left. Pick up the drainage to the north, following the drainage through a meadow. In the trees on the other side of the meadow, a trail switchbacks up to the saddle. Climb along the ridgeline to get excellent views of Heart and Latir lakes as well as the mountains to the north. Do not cross onto private land on the north side of the ridge.

Return to the meadow below the saddle, but stay left on a route that cuts across a low ridge at the base of a talus slope. After crossing a low saddle, pick up a trail heading across a meadow, with a full view of Baldy Mountain straight ahead. Continue about 0.5 mile to a major intersection. Bear left toward Baldy Mountain to reach Baldy Cabin and a superb high meadow.

Please Note: Anyone attending our trips must have a signed Waiver & Release form on file with us. This waiver covers all trips and activities so you only need to sign it once. If you have not already signed this form it can be downloaded from our "Files" section and turned in to the organizer when you arrive for the trip.

If you RSVP "Yes" for this trip please plan on attending. Please read our RSVP Policy located in our "Pages" section.

The deadline for changing a "YES" RSVP to a "NO" RSVP is July 6, 2013

Trip Dates: July 19 ( Friday evening) thru July 21 (Sunday hike out)

Drive Time to Trailhead/Camp Area on Friday Evening: 3.5 hours from ABQ

Campground/Trailhead Location: Cabresto Lake at the end of Forest Service Road 134A

Directions to Camp Area/Trailhead: Drive to Questa.  From the intersection of NM 522 and NM 38 in Questa, turn onto NM 38 for 0.25 mile. Turn left onto NM 563 (Kiowa Rd signed for Cabresto Lake) and travel 2.1 miles, then turn right onto gravel FR 134. Cross into Carson National Forest and drive 3.3 miles to FR 134A. Turn left and continue 2.1 miles to Cabresto Lake and campground.

Trip Rating: Moderate (day hikes could be difficult with elevation gain)

Trail Length: 4.5 miles Saturday, 4.5 miles Sunday (9 miles total)

Elevation Gain: 2,250 ft

Elevation: 9150 ft at Cabresto Lake and 11,500 ft at Heart Lake

Expected Temps: Highs 70's, lows in upper 40's to 50's

Link to Heart Lake Weather Forecast

Dogs Allowed

Contact Eric Krosche with any questions

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  • Terri

    A beautiful place for a wonderful group of people to share a backpacking adventure. The rain was awesome and added to the beauty. Thanks everyone!

    July 24, 2013

  • Chris R

    I had a great time and got a chance to meet several new backpackers. Great weekend! Thanks to everyone. I look forward to camping with all of you again.

    July 24, 2013

  • Keith F.

    After we left the 5 Star burger joint I stopped at a campground near Pilar on the Rio Grande. 7 dollar (regular price for everyone) campground with bathhouse, showers, sink with hot water for dish washing, a cover with a wall on one side over the picnic table, which was on a huge concrete slab and unbelievably, no ground squirrels. Less than a hundred feet from my site to the river. Most places I've been have charged 17-20 bucks for a site with a picnic table (no cover) a pit toilet and drinking water. 3 cheers for the BLM of New Mexico.

    July 24, 2013

  • Laura B

    It was a great weekend, a beautiful lake, lovely group of people. Thank you Eric for organizing.

    July 24, 2013

  • Eric K.

    It was a wonderful weekend with fellow packers. We were quite fortunate with the weather considering the forecast. It rained most of Friday night, but the only rain after that was a 30 minute shower Saturday night after we all crawled into our tents. Heart lake is quite lovely. I summited Latir Peak on Sunday morning. The rolling grassy alpine around Latir Peak was fantastic.

    July 23, 2013

  • Paula

    Thank you Eric for organizing this trip and thank you everyone for making it such a wonderful trip.

    July 21, 2013

  • Keith F.

    I should be at Cabresto by around 1-2pm, maybe earlier.

    July 19, 2013

    • Eric K.

      We will get there around 8:00 - 8:30 PM. Save us a camp site :-)

      July 19, 2013

  • Laura B

    I would like to carpool from ABQ. I work, so will be leaving around 4:30 or 5PM. Is there anyone else who would like to/needs to leave in the evening? Happy to drive my car or join someone else.

    July 16, 2013

    • Eric K.

      Where in the city do you live?

      July 18, 2013

    • Laura B

      Near the coop off of rio grande - near north valley

      July 18, 2013

  • Sean K.

    family issues, I can't make it this time. Look for boletes, they should be out in force by this weekend!

    July 17, 2013

  • Catherine W

    Unfortunately, I have to cancel due to injury.

    July 15, 2013

  • Catherine W

    Eric, I have a couple of things I would like to discuss with you. Could you please call me at[masked]

    July 15, 2013

  • Catherine W

    I'm planning to bring my dog, if it's OK. I'll be driving; plan to leave Friday a.m.

    July 12, 2013

    • Eric K.

      Dogs OK. You are expected to prevent them from being a nuisance to the other backpackers.

      July 12, 2013

  • Michael C.

    Here's a good map if you need one https://www.facebook.com/RecMapRedRiverandTSV

    You can pick one up at most outdoors shops in Taos and Red River

    June 21, 2013

    • Sean K.

      That map link shows an area to the south of where we are going, and not the trailhead or road we will be taking.

      July 8, 2013

  • Paula

    I am looking forward to this trip. I know my car would not like driving the last few miles of gravel road so I would love to ride with someone else. Is there anyone with a gravel road worthy car who would like to carpool? If so, please let me know. I can leave Albuquerque anytime after 2 pm on Friday. Thank you.

    Also, are we hiking out on Sunday or Monday? The description provides conflicting info.

    July 7, 2013

    • Craig

      I was up there the last weekend in June. The trailhead was easily reachable in a Toyota Prius, which is very much not a high-clearance vehicle.

      July 8, 2013

    • Eric K.

      Paula, you are welcome to ride with Terri and I.

      July 8, 2013

  • Paula

    Great. Thank you.

    July 7, 2013

  • Chad

    plus my dog if allowed

    June 26, 2013

  • Eric K.

    Paula R, check your mail account spam filter to insure it is not blocking messages from Meetup.

    June 23, 2013

  • Chris R

    I want to carpool, but I gotta clear the waitlist first.

    June 21, 2013

    • Keith F.

      There are two spots open Chris.

      June 21, 2013

  • Chad

    I can leave Friday about 4-5ish, who wants to car pool?

    May 29, 2013

  • Chad

    plus my dog if allowed

    April 3, 2013

    • Eric K.

      Dogs OK. You are expected to prevent them from being a nuisance to the other backpackers.

      April 4, 2013

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