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Long’s Canyon Trail – Trinidad Lake State Park

Distance2.61 mi
Elevation Gain167 ft
My TIme49 minutes
Closest TownTrinidad
Food NearbyTony’s Diner

Hiking Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park

Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park is an enjoyable nature trail with the chance to see wildlife. There are even blinds set up to help observe the wildlife. Long’s Canyon is a shorter trail that should be good for most skill levels.

Getting Started

In the winter, the road to Long’s Canyon was closed by a gate. There is a smaller parking area just outside of the gate and then you will need to walk down the road to the true trailhead. The road is a nice walk and later in the afternoon the sun was hiding behind the western hills while still lighting up the hills to the east.

A snow covered dirt road at the beginning of the Long's Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park due to the road being closed for weather.
Starting on the road on the Long’s Canyon Trail

The road is a pretty simple hike without much elevation gain but the snow made for a bit of a slick walk on the part snow and part mud road. The path also follows a creek as you make your way to the trailhead and has some nice views of the wider canyon.

The frozen creek among trees and bushes next to the snowy and muddy trail on the Long's Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park
Following the frozen creek to start the Long’s Canyon Trail.

Nature Walk and Wildlife

The Long’s Canyon hike is much more of a Nature Trail and there is a self guide available for different stations along the path. There are also a couple of wildlife viewing blinds that are available near the ponds to watch some of the plentiful wildlife that in its natural habitat. I saw plenty of birds on my trip but no other animals on my trip but I did this more of a hike. I didn’t visit any of the blinds which is a better way to see wildlife.

A frozen creek running next to the lake surrounded by red bushes on the Long's Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park.
The inner canyon on the Long’s Canyon Trail.

As far as the hike goes it is really pretty simple with very little in elevation gain and the trail is very wide and and well maintained. It was a bit muddy in the winter due to some daytime melt of the snow but it was still pretty easy to handle. From the main trailhead the trail is only about 3/4 of a mile but it stretches to about a mile from the winter parking area.

I think most people will be able to enjoy the trail, especially if they are taking in some wildlife viewing and taking their time.

The Lake

The end of the trail intersects with a single lane dirt access road or a very wide dirt path. The path leads down to Trinidad Lake and from the junction there is a pretty good view of the lake. With the sun setting I didn’t make it much further down the path but did enjoy the western finger of the lake.

Trinidad Lake as seen from the Long's Canyon Trail.
Trinidad Lake from the Long’s Canyon Trail.

And of course, a visit to Trinidad Lake State Park wouldn’t be complete without a view of Fishers Peak in the distance. From the road and a decent zoom on the camera phone the tallest peak in Trinidad comes into view taking in the last few minutes of sun above the lake.

Fishers Peak
Fishers Peak.

The Sunset

The other reason I didn’t head further towards the lake was the other direction had one of the prettiest sunsets I have seen in awhile. The sun was setting and casting its final rays on the Sangre De Cristo Mountains to the west of Trinidad. This was something special and made me completely forget about the lake behind me for a few minutes.

The sunsetting over the mountains west of Trinidad Lake State Park.
The Sunset over the mountains.

If you are going to stick around for the sunset remember that the canyon gets dark pretty quick so it is best to have a headlamp with you and watch out for wildlife that likes to come out around dusk!

Overall this hike was a great way to end a long day of hiking. A short and simple hike with great views and plenty of chances to see wildlife. The frozen creek had a few spots that were running and allowed for a really peaceful and beautiful end of the day.

Video of Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park

I have put together a quick time-lapse video of my time hiking at Long’s Canyon Trail in Trinidad Lake State Park in order to give hikers a feel of what the hike is like. If you enjoy this video, make sure to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get updates for all the latest videos.

Distance and Elevation

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.61 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 167 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,309 feet. I was also moving for a total of 49 minutes.

I am a Pro member of Alltrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.


On a good day I think the Longs Canyon trail would take minimum effort. It is more of a nature trail than strenuous hike. There isn’t too much elevation gain and the trail is pretty wide, well maintained, and easy to follow. The day I hiked was in the late winter and the trail had gotten very muddy which caused a little extra challenge but this was still a pretty easy hike.


In the winter the trail started on a snow covered road that had been closed. When I got to the trailhead it was a well defined and maintained trail that is mostly dirt with a few small pebbles but not much as far as rocks or anything that makes it challenging. Depending on the season this dirt trail could turn to mud or ice though so be ready with some traction devices.

Finding Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park

The Long’s Canyon Trail is on the south west side of Trinidad Lake State Park. You have drive around the whole lake if you are coming from Trinidad and travel down some local neighborhood roads to make it to the parking area. There is a fee of $9 per vehicle to enter the park or you can enter with a yearly state parks pass. There were no restrooms at the parking area and room for about 5 cars.

Wrapping up Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park

I really enjoyed my time hiking at Long’s Canyon Trail at Trinidad Lake State Park. The trail was really easy to navigate and after a long day of hiking was nice and easy. The trail did get pretty muddy and slick but I was able to handle it.

I was completely blown away by the sunset. I knew it was getting late but didn’t think I would have the chance to see the sunset. It was a canyon hike after all. When I made it to the trail junction and saw the sun and the mountains I was amazed at how pretty it was. There are a few more pictures in the gallery if you are interested. Overall, this was a really enjoyable and easier hike. With plenty of chances to see wildlife that I think most people will be able to handle and will enjoy.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at Or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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