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Hiking in Santa Fe is Fabulous!

Santa Fe Offers terrific Hiking close and nearby to downtown…….

New Mexico is full of so many beautiful hikes that I
will only cover hikes within the immediate Santa Fe
area. But before you run away to hike, remember that
the altitude may take a little getting used to,take
it slow. Try not to over exert, drink water all the
time (the first sign of dehydration is irritability)
and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Drink water constantly
(did I already mention that?).
For more Information:
New Mexico Public Lands Information Center
1474 Rodeo Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Phone: (505) 438-7542
Fax: (505) 438-7582
Open M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Closed weekends/holidays

Difficulty
Levels, based on a healthy, slightly athletic
30-yr old
*Easy
**Moderate
***Gasp!
****Superman

Half-day
hikes:
Atalaya ***(dog-friendly)
A nice hike up to 9,100′ to get some exercise and see
how you’re acclimatizing to Santa Fe. It starts in the
parking lot of St. John’s College and leads up and up
Atalaya Mountain. It’s a great place to take dogs. Bring
water, a snack, your backpack, and walkin’ legs. About
1/3 of the way up, a sign will direct you to either
easy or hard trails to the summit.
Monte Sol ** (dog-friendly)
Behind St. John’s College. Several trails exist. Try
starting from the library area. Very short hike, some
scrambling.
Randall Davey House *
Nature Walk: First Saturday of each month starts at
8:30 The hike takes about an hour. (505) 983-4609
Borrega Trail * (dog-friendly)
Pleasant stroll through a high-alpine forest. Trail
begins with a descent. Great for kids. All tree cover,
not exposed areas. From the Plaza in Santa Fe, take
Washington Avenue, North from Paseo de Peralta. Quickly
turn right on Artist Road and follow 14 miles to Santa
Fe Ski Area. Parking is in northern lots near Winsor

trailhead.
Dale Ball *
There are two access points: one at the North trail
head on NM 475 at Sierra del Norte and the other near
the intersection of Cerro Gordo and Upper Canyon Road.
Easy, casual and close to town. Mountain bikers share
the trail with you. Great for kids. 7+ miles.

Full-day hikes:
Bandelier National Monument *
Located 12 miles SW of Los Alamos, NM. Open dawn to
dusk daily, (505) 672-3861 x517
Good for all ages. Stroller and wheelchair accessible.
The trail begins at the Visitor Center, which has explanatory
exhibits, artifacts, and a great introductory slide
show. The detached Tsankawi Section of the Monument,
which includes a large unexcavated village on a high
mesa, has 1 1/2 miles of self-guiding trails leading
to cave structures and many interesting petroglyphs
(rock carvings). Encompassing canyons and mesas on the
slopes of the Jemez Volcano, Bandelier National Monument
is the site of Ancestral Pueblo Indian cliff dwellings
and surface villages mostly dating from the 12th-16th
centuries.. The main sites are visited by a loop trail
which provides a good sampling of the structures used
by these people, as well as rock drawings, all in a
beautiful natural setting.

Tent
Rocks *
What is that?! The Tent Rocks resemble giant cones of poured
sand and are another natural oddity formed by volcanic activity.
Covering almost 12,000 acres, the rock formations provide a surreal
background for an easy day hike. To get to Tent Rocks, take Hwy
22 to the Cochiti Pueblo exit and follow signs to Forest Rd 266.
About 20 miles south of Santa Fe. Bring a picnic lunch. No climbing
is permitted on the rock formations.

Note:

  • The
    following hikes, located in the Santa Fe National
    Forest are not to be attempted during winter or spring.
    Unless you are very experienced and know the route
    well.
  • All
    are dog-friendly with some reservations. However,
    many, many animals share this trail. Watch your dog
    around the horses and especially the llamas.

Santa
Fe Baldy ***
(dog-friendly)
A moderately strenuous day hike in the Santa Fe National
Forest that takes you to the highest summit in the Pecos
Wilderness. High point is 12,622 ft. Elevation gain
is 2,322 ft. Hike late May to November. Maps of the
Pecos Wilderness and Santa Fe Nat’l Forest are available,
or use USGS Aspen Basin. Beautiful popular hike near
Santa Fe that shows high elevation southwestern forest
and climbs to the spectacular summit of 12,600 ft Santa
Fe Baldy. Hike is about 6-7 miles one way, depending
on any side trips you might take.

Begin
by heading up Winsor Trail about 3/4 mile to fence national
forest entrance. From here it is about 2 1/2 miles steadily
downward to the valley nestled between Santa Fe Baldy
and Lake Peak. Santa Fe Baldy is the bald peak on the
left heading up the valley. Follow the valley up to
the saddle between Lake Peak, Mt Penetente and Santa
Fe Baldy. Begin the last trudge up to the top of Santa
Fe Baldy, at over 12,600 feet. The trail is a bit hard
to find from the saddle up to Santa Fe Baldy, it gets
a little lost. Just start up the mountain, and you will
run it to it eventually.

This
is an excellent hike that is strenuous with spectacular
views. Lightning storms build up almost everyday after
July 1st so start early in the morning. It is common
to begin this hike at 7 am. Don’t get caught on Santa
Fe Baldy during a storm — People are regularly struck
by lightning.

Nambe
Lake ****
(dog-friendly)
Follow the Santa Fe Baldy trail through the gate and
down the long descent at the beginning of the hike.
At the bottom of the descent, take a right. The steep
hill opens out on a beautiful, alpine meadow complete
with cows. Follow the trail to left and start your ascent.
This trail is rather deceptive in its simplicity. You
climb and climb, not realizing how steep it is. In my
ten years as a professional wilderness guide, I have
never had any customers make it to the top. If you do,
you will be rewarded by a lovely, blue high-alpine lake.

Lake
Peak ****
(dog-friendly ascent from the backside,
not from the front)
This is a FULL DAY extravaganza. Start very early (7
am), notify someone of your plan and bring extra layers.
From the crest of Tesuque Peak at 12,040′ looking down
into Santa Fe Lake nestled in the headwaters of the
Santa Fe River valley with 3 other peaks in view: Santa
Fe Baldy, Deception Peak, and Penitente Peak. Lake Peak
can just barely be seen behind Deception Peak. Various
routes to follow. Ascent from the front: walk directly
up the ski area trails, heading left. Climb over Deception
and follow the trail to Lake Peak. Some scrambling is
involved. Steep dropoffs on either side. Even though
I have seen kids at the summit, chances are that they
came up the easier backside. Would definitely not recommend
the front ascent to kids. From the back, follow the
Santa Fe Baldy trail (see above) until you literally
come to a fork in the road (in a huge meadow). Go right.
You will follow the trail into tree-cover and wend your
way right and up. And up. Eventually you come out on
top of Lake Peak and at that point can chose to continue
the trail downhill (scrambling) or turn around and take
the easy route.

Lake
Catherine****

The most challenging day hike in the Santa Fe National
Forest. Not for degree of technical skill required but
due to the length of the trail: over 16 miles round
trip at 11,000″+. Follow the Santa Fe Baldy trail
all the way to the saddle. The saddle will become obvious
when you reach it. The Lake Catherine trail goes over
the top of the saddle and the Badly summit goes to the
left. Follow the clearly marked trail as it twists and
turns to the right. Eventually you will reach this huge,
crystal blue alpine lake. No mistaking it. Eat, take
a nap, be conscious of the time and the weather. And
then head home. Many people divide this hike into two
or three days, camping below the meadow on the Baldy
trail. Plan to start early and bring lots of warm clothes,
food, and water.

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