On the easier route, we came to a sign that read "Atalaya Lookout Trail" and turned left to stay on Trail 170. We then came across another Trail 170 sign and took a left there as well to stay on the trail. This section of the trail is pretty flat and along a low ridge for a few minutes. Then we met up with the "steeper route" trail and continued right up the trail. The rest was very steep with plenty of switchbacks. The coolest thing about this trail is we had views of the city several times when the trees opened up to the west.
When we reached the ridge on Atalaya, there was another Trail 170 sign at which we turned left to head north on the ridge. Soon we came across several great spots to sit and have a snack and look out on the soon-to-be setting sun. I really wanted to see the snow on the mountains to the north, because I knew they had gotten snow the previous night. I kept walking north until the trail started going down. I didn't get any wide expanse views, but I did see the snow!
Like I said previously, we took the steep route back down. The signs made it really easy to follow the trail and it didn't take very long to get back down to the car.
I am really going to miss Santa Fe, even though it's nice to be back in our home. I hope we can adventure out there again some day, because there is so much more to see!
Driving Directions to Ponderosa Ridge parking
1. Take Alameda Street West from town.
2. Alameda turns into Canyon. Continue on Canyon Road.
3. Canyon turns into Camino Cabra. Continue on Camino Cabra.
4. Turn left on Calle Picacho.
5. Turn left on Camino de Cruz Blanca. Continue on this until you see the gate for Ponderosa Ridge. You cannot go into the community, and a few parking spots are on the left. If you can't find a spot, I think you have to go to St. John's and hike from there.