"Ron Harper Trail"

Page Type
New Mexico, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Less than two hours
short, steep hike

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Created On: Sep 18, 2008
Last Edited On: May 5, 2009


Comments/suggestions for this "fun" page are welcome, as well as any history for this trail and past prolific hikers of it. If anyone knows of a more formal name for this trail, please contact me, and I would be glad to include this information in the Route title.

This trail, informally and affectionately named by a few locals for probably its most frequent/regular hiker (who has probably hiked it well over 2000 times), follows a well-beaten path straight up the Aspen ski run on Pajarito Mountain. It is about 2/3 mile one way, starting at ~9200' and ending at ~10,300'. For the fit and altitude-acclimated, the ascent can be comfortably hiked in ~30 minutes (one-way). Ron Harper himself easily bests this time. This trail can be hiked in all four seasons. During ski season, it is an advanced (upper half) and intermediate (lower half) ski run that gets moguls and occasionally gets groomed. (See below about use policy when the ski area is in operation.)
Fall, Pajarito MountainLooking down the Ron Harper Trail from halfway up Aspen ski run.

Getting There

You can reach Pajarito Mountain from the west via NM State Routes 4 & 501, or from the east via NM State Route 502. The large parking area at the base (~9200') of the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area is about 5 miles driving from the town of Los Alamos. Please click here for a map with directions.

Park near the western end of the parking lot. Do not continue on the dirt road that continues west to the Camp May camp/picnic area. (There are usually large boulders blocking the dirt road in winter.) The trail starts just to the left (east) of the bottom of the Aspen Chairlift (lift #4, a triple chairlift) and heads up the (looker's) right side of the Aspen ski run.

Route Description

When snow-free, the trail is obvious and follows a well-beaten path straight up the Aspen ski run. It gets steep and rocky near the top (class 1+). The trail ends at the top of the Aspen chairlift near a ski patrol hut (Aspen Haus). If you walk just past Aspen Haus, there are fabulous views of the Valles Caldera.

Essential Gear

Comfortable shoes and water. Watch out for thunderstorms and lightning in the summer.

Red Tape

Pajarito Mountain is on private land owned by the Los Alamos Ski Club, which allows public recreational access. However, please click here for some suggestions to keep everyone involved happy and safe.

External Links

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area