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El Vado Lake/Heron Lake Hiking and Camping Weekend

Sat, 2012-04-14
Melanee Hand

 El Vado Lake/Heron Lake Hiking and Camping Weekend
Trip Leader: Melanee Hand
Contact Melanee at 505-490-1960 or to sign up and plan meeting points and travel arrangements.
Enjoy an overnight camping and hiking weekend in the El Vado Lake/Heron Lake area.  2 hours from Los Alamos, this scenic drive to the Tierra Amarilla area is an easier camping experience with equipped campsites, coin-operated showers, and nearby toilets to campsites.  Hook-ups for campers are available to make this overnight a comfortable camping experience, or car/tent camp. Campsites on the water are available on the south part of El Vado that offer beautiful pine forest lakeside views. Campsite permits are up to $10. 
There are 3 trails to explore in the area of Lake Heron and El Vado.  Go to  for more information about small fees, maps, and facilities.
Intermediate to strenuous difficulty.  This trip is flexible enough for dogs (on leashes) and families to join. While Melanee has not confirmed, there may be an option to join part of this outing as a day trip.
The Plan:
Start travel at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 14th.  Stop at Bode's for a breakfast burrito and souvenirs.  Park at the El Vado/Heron Trailhead (Salmon Run trail) around 10:30 a.m. and commence the 5-1/4 mile hike, Salmon Run Trail.  Car placement will depend on group decision to park vehicles at trail end points for 5 mile hikers.  For those who are interested in longer hiking options, add the Heron Lake East Meadow trail in the area (2.4 miles one way).
Bring snacks and a lunch, hydration, layered clothing, hiking shoes and poles, hats, sunscreen and cameras.
Campsites together are optional and abundant.  Local restaurants are in the area, with Chama about 20 minutes away.
On Sunday morning, eat breakfast, break camp, and convene at 10 a.m. at the trailhead of the El Vado Rio Chama Trail (5 miles one way). Complete the hike by about 2 p.m., then head back to Los Alamos by around 4 p.m.

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