Nacimiento Peak is a relatively small nub on the flat, upraised block of mountain in the northwest portion of the Jemez Mountains. Like the hump of a whale, these mountains gently rise nearly 3,000 feet above the town of Cuba and are completely below tree line. Nestled against the peak is the wonderful highland country of San Pedro Parks Wilderness. At nearly 10,000 feet, this area receives plenty of rain and thus, is strewn with tremendous amounts of fantastically green meadows and forest.
The only route offers a mere 600 feet of elevation gain over roughly a mile through tons of downed trees and forest vegetation. It sounds worthless, but like so many jewels in New Mexico, it can easily be underestimated.
From the town of Bernalillo, drive northwest on US 550 to Cuba. Pass the Shell station in town and turn right (east) at the town visitor center, which also boasts the sign directing you to the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. This road is called State Road 126 and will take you into the San Señorito Canyon and up to the pass. At the pass is a kiosk with more directions and a map, but these are not necessary since the dirt road you want is a quarter-mile down the road on your left. I believe the road number is 17, but that shouldn’t matter. Take the road north for 2-3 miles to the trailhead parking area that you can’t miss.
From the trailhead parking area, don’t follow the trail but retrace the road a couple hundred yards, cross the wooden fence, and head straight for the “hill” visible above the trees. There was a small, discernible trail from the fence that I followed to a meadow, across which was the peak.
The peak lies within the San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area so tread lightly and camp in designated areas. The area attracts hordes of hunters in the fall so be careful not to look like game (wear bright colors).
There are dozens of camping sites along the dirt road to the trailhead in meadows and in the trees. The stretch of road leading to the trailhead is not in the wilderness area, but Leave No Trace ethics still apply.
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