Last November we discovered a short 2-mile trail on the east side of the Manzano Mountains that started at a National Forest campground and steeply climbed up to the Crest Trail. The day we hiked it we were not prepared for how cold and windy it was on the crest. When we reached the trail intersection we could see that by going just a bit further to the north along the Crest Trail we could make it to Osha Peak. But since neither one of us was willing to brave the elements we beat a hasty retreat back down to a spot out of the wind where we could eat lunch. Today we went back and this time we bagged the peak.
Starting at 7800 feet elevation, it’s just 2.5 miles to reach 9200 feet at the top of Osha Peak. There are enough switchbacks to moderate the steepness. Like many portions of the Manzano Mountains, there are a lot of fire-scarred slopes that intrude on the beauty of the forest but it’s still awe-inspiring to be able to see for miles in every direction once you get to the top. On a Saturday, hiking on one of the better known trails around Albuquerque this time of year, it’s likely there would have been lots of other hikers. We didn’t see any other hikers today and very little evidence that any hikers had used this trail recently. A comment written in the trail log on Osha Peak said it well “one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets.” Shame on me for advertising it.