Circle in the Sky

route map
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This is another in my series of reports about hikes in the Valles Caldera National Preserve (read my overview of hiking in the Preserve with links to articles on several individual trails here).  Cerro Seco is yet another 10,000 foot plus peak that rises from the floor of the collapsed super-volcano in northern New Mexico.  This was a little bit different hike for me as I was leading a group made up of members of Meetup groups in nearby Los Alamos and Santa Fe.

This is a 7.25 mile (11.69 km) hike that climbs to about 9800 feet altitude before circling the peak on a high line.  The circle affords sweeping panoramic views in every direction through gaps in the dense forest.  The route has a total ascent of about 1100 feet (335.35 m) and has a maximum elevation of 9820 feet (2,993.31 m).

Like all back-country hikes in the Preserve, the Cerro Seco trailhead is reached by a van ride from the visitor center/staging area.  This particular trailhead takes about a scenic hour of driving in the van to reach.  We had a large group that required multiple vans.  The staff was very accommodating in providing this service, but it was important to work with them on arrangements several days in advance.  The vans were waiting for us at the end of our hike for the return trip to the visitor center and our cars.

Redondito and Redondo peaks to the South

One of our group celebrates reaching the high point of our ascent … it’s all down slope from here!

Part of the Meetup group having social time

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