Outdoor enthusiasts or weekend wanderers, take note! Minutes from Santa Fe’s Plaza, you can find 3 outstanding and view-filled trail systems and The Galisteo Basin Preserve is only 25 minutes from The Plaza.
A quick tutorial:
Dale Ball Trail system: This 24.4 mile trail system is for novice and advanced hikers/mountain bikers. The numbered trail system (You will not get lost with trail markers and easy to navigate signs everywhere!) traverses the Eastern side of the Sangres and foothills and gives you panoramic views. You can start at the St. John’s Trailhead to Atalaya Mountain and you can take it all the way to Hyde Park Rd/Sierra Del Norte Trailhead! This trail is challenging and view-filled. The largest parking areas can be found on Cerro Gordo (great hike to Picacho Peak from this parking area), the St. John’s College parking lot (this trail will lead you to Atalaya, which is a pretty steep incline) and the Sierra Del Norte/ Hyde Park Rd parking area.
Santa Fe National Forest trails: The Santa Fe National Forest has a multitude of trails starting about 1 mile from the famous Ten Thousand Waves up to the Windsor Trail at Santa Fe’s Ski basin. The variation with these trails is immense! Check out the Aspen Meadow trail for the changing of the leaves in the Fall. The Chamisa Trailhead is about 15 minutes from The Plaza and you can do a wonderful loop with views, elevation and intermediate hiking trails. Note: Although I love these trails and their incredible variety, these trails are not as marked as well as La Tierra or the Dale Ball Trails. They do tend to loop, but pay attention!!!
La Tierra Trails: Located off of the 599 Bypass and 10 minutes from The Plaza, this is a fabulous, multi-use trail system (hiking/biking/horseback riding) that was created in 2008. Awesome views from every vantage point…not exaggerating a bit! As a novice mountain biker, this is my go-to trail system for in-town mountain biking. Also, all of the trail heads have great parking. Like the Dale Ball and Galisteo Basin trails, La Tierra is well-marked and maintained. You definitely won’t get lost on this trail system! If biking, definitely check out the ‘Hustle and Flow’ trail. So much fun and even a novice biker can enjoy it!
The Galisteo Basin Preserve: Just 14 miles South of Santa Fe and a 25 minute drive (max) from The Plaza, this 28 mile multi-usage (hiking/mountain biking/horseback riding) trail system is simply nirvana. The Preserve is 10,000 acres and, in the winter months when the snow is on the Sangres, this is definitely my go-to trail system! 360 views and the trails have varying levels of difficulty. On Thanksgiving morning, my husband and I did a ride with more experienced bikers. I held my own, but after an hour…opted for an easier trail and just enjoyed the rest of the ride. Basically, the Galisteo Basin has something for everyone and the trails are definitely well marked. The view from these trails is a more intimate Sandia/Ortiz mountain view. You still get the Jemez and Sangre mountain views, but there is something otherworldly about the Galisteo Basin’s views. It is more arid and a more rugged beauty.
In short, my outdoorsy or wanna-be-outdoorsy friends, Santa Fe’s trail systems have something for everyone!