Hopewell Lake provides historic setting for late fall hiking in Taos

Hillsides of bare aspen trees, with their alabaster trunks and rocky cliffs shining silent in the sun, mark the coming of late fall to Taos. With many sunny days ahead, this is a good time to visit the forest.

Hopewell Lake Trail is located about an hour northwest of Taos past Tres Piedras in the Carson National Forest. In addition to being a beautiful trek through the trees along Hopewell Ridge, this trail is also significant because it is part of the Continental Divide Trail that runs from Canada to Mexico.

Hopewell Lake is a day use area with picnic shelters and restroom facilities. There is a campground just beyond it. Fishing is allowed at the lake, which is stocked by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

To find the trail, look for the group picnic shelter and the trail sign on the hill just above it. A short segment of trail leads through the aspen and evergreen forest to the campground. Follow the campground road and look for the trail sign on the right to rejoin the route. The path crosses an open field and once more heads into the forest, first turning west and then south.

Because it is part of the Continental Divide Trail, the route is marked with frequent “CDT” emblems on posts and trees. There are also rocks stacked into small cairns that help hikers keep on the trail. A gradual uphill climb leads to a gate marked by the CDT symbol.

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