Venado Peak

Hike to the top of the third-tallest mountain in New Mexico.

Hiking Difficult

20 km
1.1 km
1.1 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.8 km
High Point
3.9 km
Venado Peak Map

12,734-foot Venado Peak is the tallest summit in the impressive Latir mountain group and the third tallest mountain in New Mexico. A sub-range of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, the Latir group is located near Questa, NM, just south of the Colorado border.


This route to the summit of Venado is the most popular option, and it conveniently begins from a campground at Cabresto Lake. After payment of a $20 camping fee, you can easily spend the night before your hike and get an early start on this 12.2-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Venado.

The route as mapped is an out-and-back following the Lake Fork Trail to the Bull Creek Trail to gain the summit. The hiking is standard backcountry fare, with some exposure to the elements above treeline as you make for the summit. That said, this is a relatively non-technical summit hike.

It's possible to turn this route into a lollipop with a short stem, but that option requires navigating little-marked trails down a different alpine basin. Sticking to an out-and-back route as mapped is the most surefire way to make it to the summit and back down again.




Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between June and October


  • Alpine