Columbine Canyon Trail (#71)

Area Status: Open

In the summer months trail can be used for hiking and horseback riding. Trail is used in the winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.


This trail begins in Columbine Campground.  The campground is located eight miles west of Red River and four miles east of Questa on State Highway 38. The trail is marked at the south end of the campground.  There is parking available at the gate to the campground. For the winter months the first three miles of the trail is for beginners and intermediate skiers.  After that terrain becomes expert. 

Attractions and Considerations:

The trail follows Columbine Creek, passing through several open meadows.  The trail may become overgrown through the meadows, but continue south and look for small cairns in as you reenter the conifers.  There are bridges at the first four stream crossings, after that hikers may have to wade through the creek.  At the top the trail switches back up to the Hondo Ridge where it meets Lobo Peak Trail #57 and Gavilan Trail #60.  In the winter months beware of avalanche hazards.

Columbine campground has water and outhouses.  There is a fee for overnight camping in the campground, but there is free parking at the trailhead.

Map of Columbine Canyon (pdf file)

Photos of Columbine Hiking Trail

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet (4)
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: For more information contact:  Questa Ranger District.


Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding

Difficulty Level: Moderate

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

One-way trip distance of almost 5.3 miles. The upper section is more difficult.

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.3 miles

  Elevation : 
7,900 feet - 11,200 feet