Aspens in New Mexico?
September 19, 2007 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Amateur photographers want to find aspens in New Mexico.

I will be visiting my father in Las Cruces, NM on the first week of October. We recently read in the National Geographic about the decline in Aspen populations, so we'd like to stage our own "Last Chance to See" trip. What's the best/closest place to go see a stand of aspen in a natural environment (ie. National or State Park, National Forest, etc), and how far would we have to go to find then in fall color?
posted by 1f2frfbf to Travel & Transportation around New Mexico (5 answers total)
Best answer: The Gila and Aldo Leopold wildernesses (wilderni?) northwest of Las Cruces will have aspens, as will the Sacramento Mountains, in the Lincoln National Forest east of Alamogordo.

Either trip would be equidistant from Las Cruces, and each would also be a beautiful drive, with lots of great things to see along the way.

To find them in fall color, and in more plentiful arrangements, you'd probably have to drive up to the Pecos Wilderness, north of Santa Fe. The Windsor Trail, hiked from Cowles (in the heart of the Pecos), passes through several major stands of aspens.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:47 AM on September 19, 2007

I'd try Cloudcroft in the Lincoln National Forest (less than 2 hour drive from Las Cruces if memory serves). It's high elevation compared to most of southern New Mexico and I've seen aspens there before. Whether they'd be turning in early October, no idea.
posted by methylsalicylate at 7:49 AM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: i recall going up to the santa fe "ski basin" to see the aspens but i couldn't give you more specific info than that on how to get there. I think you take Bishops Lodge Rd up from downtown SF and that takes you up near Ten Thousand Waves (awesome japanese bathhouse/health spa) and i think it keeps going up to the ski basin but I could be wrong.
posted by Soulbee at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: You're right, Soulbee. Hwy. 475 does go all the way to the Ski Basin, where the other end of the Windsor Trail connects. However, automotive, bicycle, pedestrian and dog traffic up there can get very, very congested, making aspen-enjoyment rather difficult. I prefer the drive from Pecos up to the other side!
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:02 AM on September 19, 2007

Response by poster: M.C. Lo-Carb! for the win! The Winsor trail was great, coming in through Pecos was a load of fun, and while not in full color we saw plenty of bright aspens. A splendid time was had by all, even though this east coaster was huffing and puffing at the the altitude. Thanks all!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:48 AM on October 2, 2007

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