In 1931, the Chief of the Forest Service classified a 41,132 acre area in the San Pedro Mountains of western New Mexico as a Primitive Area. It wasn't until 1965 that the San Pedro Parks Wilderness was officially designated.
The defining features of the Parks are the large grassy meadows framed by dense stands of spruce and mixed conifer trees. Elk, deer, black bear, turkey and other wildlife call this expansive grounds their home. The San Pedro Parks is also open to cattle grazing for ranchers with permits.
The wilderness lies in the narrow band of the San Pedro Mountains. In this case, mountain is a misnomer. You will find no peaks to stare at or ascend, no jagged, unclimbable rock faces. The range is an uplifted plateau of granite, more like a mountain that has lost its head. Even without prominent peaks, the parks average over 10,000 feet in elevation.
The San Gregorio Lake is the main body of water in the Parks. Various streams cut through the meadows and mountains supporting the native Rio Grande Cutthroat population. Fishing and hiking in the Parks is a popular summer past time in the Parks. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is popular.
The San Pedro Parks lie just to the east of Cuba, New Mexico in the Santa Fe National Forest. It is easy to reach from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The easiest access and most popular trailhead is for the Las Vacas trail near San Gregorio Reservoir on Forest Road 70. Reach the trailhead via State Road 126 out of Cuba or the village La Cueva, which is on state road 4 (in Jemez mountains). Take State Road 126 about 30 miles from La Cueva, most of which is unpaved, but is passable to all vehicles except in winter and after heavy rains. From Cuba, take State Road 126 about 6 miles, all but the last half mile paved. Turn onto Forest Road 70 (well marked and large signs pointing to San Pedro Parks), reaching the trailhead in three miles.
There are no fees. Parking is free, and especially the San Gregorio Trailhead is well kept, has restrooms, and plenty of signs.
Trails - en extensive network of trails leads in and out of the parks. Las Vacas Trail is the main artery into the central portion of the San Pedro Parks.
Mountain bikes are not allowed.
Pets must be leashed or under control (I like it "under control").
Contact Information: Cuba Range District - phone (505) 289-3264
San Gregorio Lake
Is a beautiful high mountain lake surrounded by damp, soggy meadows. It is a popular destinations for fishing (Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout and Rainbow Trout). San Gregorio is a man made lake, but its setting is very pretty.
This is a very popular destination on summer weekends, but the lake is also accessible during the winter. The hike from the trail head is very short - less than 2 miles. And The Continental Divide Trails climbs through this area as well...
You can camp anywhere in the wilderness area, and found endless beautiful spots near streams, meadows, and trees.
There are several developed campgrounds in Jemez mountains, the closest one would be probably Nacimiento Camground.