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Sierra San Pedro

National Forest
This photo was taken from Cerro Pedernál looking westward at the Sierra San Pedro, a vast area of forest with meadows. – Roberto Valdez

ADA Accessibility Notes


Most of the Sierra San Pedro is designated as the San Pedro Parks Wilderness with 41,132 acres. Local Hispanos use this range as summer pastures for cattle. The elevation reaches 10,000 feet above sea level and is known for rolling granite mountaintops and meadows. There are dense stands of spruce, fir, and aspen and the region is bisected by trout streams.

This range in whole or in part was used by Hispano agro-pastoralists for their livestock and other necessities of local resource procurement. Timber was harvested here as well. It is very important for any visitor to the Sierra San Pedro to acknowledge and appreciate that this country is an anthropogenic or a “human-environment landscape” associated with the Hispano mountain culture. Hispano mountain culture developed and evolved over four centuries in New Mexico's mountain environment and by contact with American Indians that modified the patterns of lifeways of Hispano agri-pastoralist. Locals are wary and suspicious of outsiders but mostly friendly and respectful if the visitor reaches out. A good icebreaker is to use Spanish place names with some attempt at good pronunciation. There have been some long standing conflicts between the natives that have deep ties to the land and outsiders who have begun to gentrify the region and against the US Forest Service itself. The recent economic downturn has slowed gentrification considerably and the USFS has curtailed its dominance somewhat. A visitor is asked to approach their enjoyment of this country with the understanding that cattle and other non-recreational activity on the part of the locals is part of an ongoing lifeway that gives the region its charm. Locals are attempting to hold on to fragments of traditional human-environment interaction. Many are about their business of checking on cattle or other similar activities and a good policy is to support their way of life even if it conflicts with a visitor’s presupposed concept of what untouched nature is supposed to be or what kind of human activity should happen there. A visitor will see many domestic cattle in the areas designated as "wilderness" because this is organic food and an "organic" way of life to the mountain Hispano.

Pet Friendly Notes

Recommend against. Dogs are brought by Hispano ranchers making their rounds.

Recreational Opportunities

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail crosses the range from Cuba, NM following along the Los Pinos, Vacas, Penas Negras and Rio Capulin trails. The Wilderness is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

There are camping opportunities and nine major trails. The lesser visited are the approaches from the east of the desiganted wilderness by passing through El Coyote to the Resumidero campground. Fall brings hunters seeking elk and deer. On the south end of the park the Laguna de San Gregorio was created by farmers from Cuba, NM to store irrigation water from the southern part of the wilderness that was created before Wilderness designation.

Although there are rural villages and ranches in the lower elevations the area is relatively remote. The nearest grocery store and gasoline can be found at El Coyote.


Seasons Accessible

May and June are generally dry months with little precipitation. There are frequent afternoon rainfalls in July and August and snow covers it all by November.



Nearby Places