PLEASE NOTE....the San Juan Road, leading to the Alta Trail trailhead at the San Juan Lookout, is open to motorized vehicles the first WEEKEND of each month...if it is closed, you will have to hike in from the intersection of the Summit Road with San Juan Road. But today, I was able to drive on the San Juan Road and begin this hike.
This is a fantastic loop of three trails...the Alta, the Bajada, and the end of the National Trail. I actually started at the intersection of the National Trail with San Juan Road and hiked over to the San Juan Lookout, then took the Alta Trail east (clockwise loop). This is a beautiful and scenic hike, but not an easy one! The trail is rocky in spots, as well as quite narrow, and there are a few tricky places where the narrow trail was just a bit exposed (think: next to steep drop off) for my liking. I do suggest a hiking pole, it would help in a few places where you might be uncomfortable. There is very, very little shade but as it was only around 60 today the sun was quite welcome. The Bajada Trail isn't so flat and easy as one would think....it wanders in and around many small drainages which can be a bit annoying after you've worn out your legs on the Alta Trail. Still, it is also beautiful, and you can see where you've just hiked the Alta Trail as you walk back on the Bajada. Rangers were only present in vehicles patrolling the trailheads, not on the trails, but that is nice as the car parking areas are a bit desolate.