East Fork Trail
This is a easy out and back trail in the Jemez National Recreation Area of the Santa Fe National Forest. The East Fork Trail is an easy, highly scenic trail. The trail is suitable for all skill levels, a flat trip along a sizable stream (by New Mexico standards). It is also one of the most popular trails in New Mexico, particularly on summer weekends. If you are looking for solitude, head to the East Fork early in the morning or try it on cross-country skis.
The trail begins in dense, shady mixed conifer forest as it enter a broad, steep-walled canyon. The East Fork of the Jemez River flows gently through wildflower-dotted meadows. The trail crosses several bridges as it heads down the canyon, but the flow in summer is generally shallow and slow enough to wade across. As the stream turn to head west, the meadows are a quarter mile wide and offer easy off-trail walking. Further west, the canyon narrows dramatically and again enters the forest. After a couple swinging bends, the stream jumps off into a rocky canyon. The trail exits the canyon bottom to climb high above the river, but this spot about two miles in makes an acceptable turnaround point.
Because the trail is so popular and the parking area is small, finding a spot can be a tricky. Arriver early in the day, or park along the road a bit to east of the trailhead near the La Conchas climbing area. Use caution along the busy highway. The trail begins down a steep stairway at the parking area.
Children love this hike because it is easy, shaded, and has lots of water.