Views west acrossed Lookout MeadowRayado Peak
is a peak located on Philmont Scout Ranch
in Northern New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains
. Rayado Peak is a very rounded and heavily wooded summit and does not boast great views like its neighboring peaks. It is however an official summit with over 300 ft of prominence.
It is named is after the first permanent settlement in Colfax County, Rayado. The Sante Fe trail went right through Rayado and the town saw many historically important visitors such as Kit Carson. Rayado means "streaked" and there is still some debate as too why the name was giving to the town but some believe it was due to the lots lines on the grounds by Lucien Maxwell, who owed the majority of the land due to vast Spanish Land Grants. Rayado Peak is visible along the Rayado Creek drainage from the old town of Rayado.
Today, Philmont Scout Ranch uses the name Rayado as the title of their high adventure program called Rayado
. This program takes random Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts all over the ranch practically in a 21 day trek. At the start of the trek, it is said that they meet atop Rayado Peak to kick things off.
Lookout Meadow can be reached by a few ways. One is by starting at the Zastrow Turnaround (trailhead) and hiking threw Zastrow (staffed camp) and through Abreau (staffed camp). Then follow the steep Bonito Creek upwards and gain Beaubien Meadows. Follow the trail to the south and arrive at Lookout Meadows. Or one could start at the Lovers Leap Turnaround (trailhead) and hike through Crater Lake and over Fowler Pass towards Websters Pass. From here, follow the trail to Lookout Meadow. No one really day hikes from these trailheads just to hike these peaks. It is likely that it will be a link up with other peaks or you will be on an official Philmont Trek.
View up Beaubien Meadow
From Lookout Meadow, follow the meadow up to the southeast. The meadow is pretty narrow and leads to the saddle between Rayado Peak and Crater Peak. From the top of the meadow, veer left and follow the heavily wooded slope to the rounded summit of Rayado Peak. Last time I was here there was not a distinct use trail and there was downfall everywhere! From Lookout Meadow, it is around half a mile to the summit. The summit is very bouldery and covered in trees making it somewhat hard to discern the true summit. There was a big cairn of rocks last time I was there to mark the summit.
Glades of aspen on the way up to Rayado Peak
Summit of Rayado Peak
Columbine in bloom around Lookout Meadow
Camping can be done in a few places close by. Since this peak is on Philmont Scout Ranch, you have to camp at designated campsites. At Philmont, a staffed camp offers program (mostly western activities such as shooting, logging, homesteading, etc...) and has water. Trail camps are your basic back-country camp with a Philmont twist to it. Beaubien (a staffed camp) is is located to the North of Rayado Peak (many who hike this peak will day hike it from there). Another close staffed camp is Fish Camp and Abreau, located to the west and east, respectively, down along Rayado Creek. Lookout Meadow and Lower Bonito are two trail camps that are close by as well with Lookout Meadow camp being the closest to the peak.
Cows grazing in the meadows below Rayado Peak
You are only allowed to hike this peak if you are on a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch, are part of the staff, or have special permission from Philmont to do so. To contact Philmont, you can reach them at:
Address: Philmont Scout Ranch
17 Deer Run Road
Cimarron, NM 87714
Phone: (575) 376-2281
Fax: (575) 376-2602
Winter hiking is a no go. Philmont does offer a winter program called Kanuk
, however, the winter activities are most limited to things around Camping Head Quarters (unless your staff or have special permission). Essentially, this peak can only be hiked during the summer (May- August) when Philmont's summer program is in operation.
When to Climb
The main season to climb Crater Peak is when Philmont is in full operation, so that is late May through mid August. After that, access is limited unless you are in a special Philmont program that starts after the season is over. Also, in the summer be sure to be off the summit before afternoon thunderstorms roll in.
Thunderheads rolling in over the area
All "hail" about to break loose. Mammatus clouds; never a good sight
Philmont is around a 4-5 hour drive from Denver or Albuquerque. It is located just a few miles south of Cimarron, New Mexico.
Take Hwy 21 south for about five miles. Philmont Camping Head Quarters (CHQ) will be on the right side. This is where you will go if your a camper at Philmont. If your staff or if you have permission to hike Rayado Peak, you can drive just a little past CHQ and take a right onto Lovers Leap Road. You can then park at Lover's Leap Turnaround and start hiking from here. Or, you could drive to the Zastrow Turnaround and hike from here. Both Turnarounds (trailheads) are similar distances from Rayado Peak.
External LinksPhilmont Scout Ranch
Lots of great information about Philmont.
Rayado Peak Weather Conditions
Current weather conditions for Rayado Peak as forecasted by NOAA
If you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add them to this page. Thank you!