August 21, 2011 at 12:12 AM
"I have done this hike a few times with East Coasters and cats, so it is definitely easier than most..."
Distance from Trader Joe's: 3 miles
Trail Length: About 3 miles / 1.5 hours
Weather Conditions: The hike is pretty shaded, but it can get warm in the summer.
Directions to Trail Head: Head toward St. John's College. Instead of turning right into the parking lot (where you start the Atalaya trail), keep driving on Camino Cruz de Blanca. After about a mile, the trail head for the Dorothy Stewart Trail is on your left. There's only space for about four vehicles. Just a bit further down the road is another spot for starting the Atalaya Trail. There's no parking on the side of the road other than these two lots, so if you can't find a spot, you'll have to go back to St. John's to park and then walk through the arroyo for the Atalaya. If you do this, you'll have to turn left when you cross over the dirt road, and the trail head will be down the road on your right.
Why I Love This Hike: The Dorothy Stewart Trail is the perfect quick hike, and it is great for visitors as it is not rigorous and it has amazing views of Santa Fe throughout your walk. The trail travels to a loop, in which you can head either clockwise or counter-clockwise. I've done both and have no preference. Halfway through the loop, there is a well-marked split in which you have the option to turn off the trail and head toward Upper Canyon Road via the Dale Ball Trails. Near this point is a great meditation bench with a view of Santa Fe from the North.