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San Cristobal Canyon Trail 78 New Mexico

Jeff and I at the top of Trail 78
On Wednesday, June 28, 2017 my friend, Jeff Byrd, and I climbed the San Cristobal Canyon Trail 78 on our way to Lobo Peak. We had both climbed Wheeler Peak out of Red River so we were looking for a new tail. This trail is hard to find, less traveled, but one of my favorite trails now in the Red River/Taos region.

The trail head is off CR B-009 in San Cristobal (turn left coming from the north just after the San Cristobal Post Office onto Comino del Medio go about 3 miles through town past the San Cristobal Academy entrance to the trail head. High clearance vehicle recommended.)

The trail follows the San Cristobal Creek and is shaded most of the way. We counted about eighteen (18) creek crossings. We easily managed most of them, but we had to build up one to get to the other side. Less snow fall and later weeks of summer will lessen the flow of the creek and the number of crossings.

The 3,100 feet of elevation gain over the four miles to the intersection of Lobo Peak Trail #57
was made enjoyable by the shade of the forest and accessibility of the creek. The slope of the trail was moderate, but above the meadow the trail turns steep with switchbacks and moves away from the creek and becomes hard.
Cairns mark the high trail
We were grateful for the cairns people had placed on the trail above the meadow. Without them we surely would have wandered around the hillside for a while...or longer. The less-traveled trail and the meadow foliage made the trail hard to find in places. 

View toward Highway 522 from Trail 78 before the switchbacks
It took us about 8.5 hours round trip, and we did not make it to Lobo Peak. The late start in the morning along with fatigue from climbing Mt. Belford in Colorado two days before left us with energy enough to return to the jeep parked at the trail head. We guessed it was another 1.5 miles to the Peak. (Anyone know for certain?) We brought a filter to pump water from the creek, and we were glad we did. The day was hot, and we needed the extra hydration. 
View toward Taos Ski Valley from the top of Trail 78
If you are looking for a shaded, creek-side mountain trail that pauses in a mountain meadow and throws you out on a ridge that gives you the view of two valleys with the possibility of a NM summit, this trail is your choice.

View from Trail 57 back toward Taos Ski Valley

Trail intersection sign

Shaded trails along the creek made the afternoon descent bearable