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New Mexico Public Lands Information Center. For a one-stop shop for information about recreation on public lands, which include national and state parks, contact the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center. It has maps, reference materials, licenses, permits, and myriad online resources—just about everything you need to plan an outdoor adventure in Santa Fe and the surrounding region. 301 Dinosaur Trail, South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87508. 505/954–2002 or 877/276–9404.

Santa Fe National Forest Office. For information on general conditions in the forest, including advisories about areas closed because of forest fires (unfortunately, these are a fairly regular occurrence each summer), call or visit the helpful website of the Santa Fe National Forest Office. 11 Forest La., South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87508. 505/438–5300.


You can pick up a map of bike trips—among them a 38-mile round-trip ride from Downtown Santa Fe to Ski Santa Fe at the end of NM 475—from the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center. One excellent place to mountain bike is the Dale Ball Trail Network, which you can access from several points on the east side of town.

Mellow Velo. This friendly bike shop near the Plaza offers group tours, privately guided rides, bicycle rentals ($20 per day for basic cruises to $60 for top-of-the-line mountain and road bikes), and repairs. The helpful staff at this well-stocked shop offers a great way to spend a day—or seven! 132 E. Marcy St., The Plaza, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/995–8356.

New Mexico Bike N' Sport. Here at this large shop by Trader Joe's you can rent or buy bikes of all kinds and shop the great selection of clothing and gear. 524C W. Cordova Rd., South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/820–0809.

Santa Fe Mountain Sports. Here's another good source for bike rentals. 1221 Flagman Way, Suite B1, South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/988–3337.


Randall Davey Audubon Center. At the end of Upper Canyon Road, at the mouth of the canyon as it wends into the foothills, the 135-acre Randall Davey Audubon Center harbors diverse birds (nearly 200 species have been indentified) and other wildlife. Guided nature walks are given many weekends; there are also two major hiking trails that you can tackle on your own. The home and studio of Randall Davey, a prolific early Santa Fe artist, can be toured on Friday afternoons. There's also a nature bookstore. 1800 Upper Canyon Rd., East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/983–4609. Center $2, house tour $5. Mon.–Sat. 8–4; grounds daily dawn–dusk; house tours Fri. at 2.

WingsWest Birding Tours. For a knowledgeable insider's perspective, take a tour with WingsWest Birding Tours. Gregarious and knowledgeable guide Bill West leads regular early-morning or sunset tours throughout spring and summer in Santa Fe and elsewhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe Ski Basin, Cochiti Lake, the Espanola Valley, the Sandia Mountains, Rowe Mesa and Pecos Monastery, Elk Mountain, and several other spots known for bird-watching. West also leads popular tours in Mexico and Ecuador. Santa Fe, NM. 800/583–6928.


There's excellent fishing spring through fall in the Rio Grande and the mountain streams that feed into it, as well as a short drive away along the Pecos River.

High Desert Angler. This is a superb fly-fishing outfitter and guide service, your one-stop shop for equipment rental, fly-fishing tackle, licenses, and advice. 460 Cerrillos Rd., Railyard District, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/988–7688 or 888/988–7688.


Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe. This outstanding, reasonably priced municipal facility has a beautifully groomed 18-hole layout and a shorter 9-hole executive course. These sweeping courses meander over high prairie west of Santa Fe and afford fine mountain views. 205 Caja del Rio Rd., off NM 599, about 10 miles west of Plaza, South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87506. 505/955–4400. 18 holes. 6,095 yds. Par 72. Greens fee: $27. 9 holes. 1,615 yrds. Par 28. Greens fee: $14. Facilities: driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf lessons, restaurant, bar.


Hiking around Santa Fe can take you into high-altitude alpine country or into lunaresque high desert as you head south and west to lower elevations. For winter hiking, the gentler climates to the south are less likely to be snow packed, while the alpine areas will likely require snowshoes or cross-country skis. In summer, wildflowers bloom in the high country, and the temperature is generally at least 10 degrees cooler than in town. The mountain trails accessible at the base of the Ski Santa Fe area and at nearby Hyde Memorial State Park (near the end of NM 475) stay cool on even the hottest summer days. Weather can change with one gust of wind, so be prepared with extra clothing, rain gear, food, and lots of water. Keep in mind that the sun at 10,000 feet is very powerful, even with a hat and sunscreen.

For information about specific hiking areas, contact the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center. Any of the outdoor gear stores in town can also help with guides and recommendations.

Aspen Vista. Especially in autumn, when golden aspens shimmer on the mountainside, this trail up near Santa Fe's ski area makes for a lovely hike. Take Hyde Park Road 13 miles to the well-signed Aspen Vista Picnic Site, where there's ample parking. After walking a few miles through thick aspen groves you come to panoramic views of Santa Fe. The path, which is well marked and gradually inclines toward Tesuque Peak, becomes steeper with elevation—also note that snow has been reported on the upper portions of the trail as late as July. In winter, after heavy snows, the trail is great for intermediate-advanced cross-country skiing. The full hike to the peak makes for a long, rigorous day—it's 12 miles round-trip and sees an elevation gain of 2,000 feet, but it's just 3½ miles to the spectacular overlook, and this section is less steep than later spans of the trail. Note that the Aspen Vista Picnic Site is also the trailhead for the Alamo Vista Trail, which leads to the summit of the ski area. Hyde Park Road (NM 475), 2 miles before ski area, East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87506.

Atalaya Trail. Spurring off the Dale Ball trail system, the steep but rewarding (and dog-friendly) Atalaya Trail runs from the visitor parking lot of St. John's College, up a winding, ponderosa pine–studded trail to the peak of Mt. Atalaya, which affords incredible 270-degree views of Santa Fe. The nearly 6-mi round-trip hike climbs nearly 2,000 feet (to an elevation of 9,121 feet), so pace yourself. The good news: the return to the parking area is nearly all downhill. 1160 Camino de Cruz Blanca, East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87505.

Dale Ball Foothills Trail Network. A favorite spot for a ramble, with a vast network of trails, is the Dale Ball Foothills Trail Network, a network of some 22 miles of paths that winds and wends up through the foothills east of town and can be accessed at a few points, including Hyde Park Road (en route to the ski valley) and the upper end of Canyon Road, at Cerro Gordo. There are trail maps and signs at these points, and the trails are very well marked. East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM.

Sierra Club. The Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club organizes group hikes of all levels of difficulty throughout the Santa Fe region and elsewhere in the state along the Rio Grande valley; a schedule and description of upcoming hikes is posted on the website. Santa Fe, NM.

Horseback Riding

New Mexico's rugged countryside has been the setting for many Hollywood Westerns. Whether you want to ride the range that Gregory Peck and Kevin Costner tamed or just head out feeling tall in the saddle, you can do so year-round.

Bishop's Lodge. Both hotel guests and others can book trail rides at this historic resort on Santa Fe's northside, in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. 1297 Bishop's Lodge Rd., North Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/983–6377.

Multipurpose Sports Center

Genoveva Chavez Community Center. The huge, well-maintained community recreation center on the south side of town is a reasonably priced (adults $6 per day) facility with a regulation-size ice rink (you can rent ice skates for the whole family), an enormous gymnasium, indoor running track, 50-meter pool, leisure pool with waterslide and play structures, aerobics center, fitness center (with classes), two racquetball courts, and a child-care center. 3221 Rodeo Rd., South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/955–4001.

River Rafting

If you want to watch birds and wildlife along the banks, try the laid-back floats along the Rio Chama or the Rio Grande's White Rock Canyon. The season is generally between April and September. More rugged white-water rafting adventures take place from spring through early summer, farther north along the Rio Grande. Most outfitters have overnight package plans, and all offer half- and full-day trips. Be prepared to get wet, and wear secure water shoes.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Taos Resource Area Office. For a list of outfitters who guide trips on the Rio Grande and the Rio Chama, contact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Taos Resource Area Office, or stop by the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center along NM 68 (on the "Low Road to Taos), 16 miles south of Taos in the small village of Pilar, which is where many rafting trips on the Rio Grande begin. The visitor center is also an official part of the newly established, 243,000-acre Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, created in 2013 and administered by the BLM. 226 Cruz Alta Rd., Taos, NM, 87571. 505/758–8851.

Kokopelli Rafting Adventures. This outfitter offers half-day and multiday river trips down the Rio Grande and Rio Chama. 551 W. Cordova Rd., #540, South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/983–3734 or 800/879–9035.

New Wave Rafting. Look to this company for full-day, half-day, and overnight river trips on the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, as well as fly-fishing trips, from its riverside location in Embudo, 45 mi north of Santa Fe, on the Low Road to Taos. NM 68, mile marker 21, Embudo, NM, 87531. 800/984–1444.

Santa Fe Rafting Company and Outfitters. This well-known tour company leads day trips down the Rio Grande and the Chama River and customizes rafting tours. Tell them what you want—they'll figure out a way to do it. 1000 Cerrillos Rd., South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/988–4914 or 888/988–4914.


You may want to rent skis or snowboards in town the afternoon before the day you hit the slopes so you don't waste any time waiting during the morning rush.

Alpine Sports. This centrally located shop rents downhill and cross-country skis and snowboards. 121 Sandoval St., The Plaza, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/983–5155.

Cottam's Ski Rentals. Stop by this long-established outfitter on your way up to the ski valley; they rent all manner of winter gear, including skis, snowboards, sleds, and snowshoes. 740 Hyde Park Rd., 8 mi northeast of Downtown, toward Ski Santa Fe, at Hyde Memorial State Park, East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/982–0495 or 800/322–8267.

Santa Fe Mountain Sports. This family-owned specialty mountain shop rents boots, skis, and snowboards for the whole family in the winter, as well as bicycles in the summertime. The super-helpful staff is great to work with. 1221 Flagman Way, Suite B1, South Side, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. 505/988–3337.

Ski Santa Fe. Open roughly from late November through early April, this is a fine, somewhat underrated, midsize operation that receives an average of 225 inches of snow a year and plenty of sunshine. It's one of America's highest ski areas—the 12,000-foot summit has a variety of terrain and seems bigger than its 1,725 feet of vertical rise and 660 acres. There are some great powder stashes, tough bump runs, and many wide, gentle cruising runs. The 77 trails are ranked 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 40% advanced; there are seven lifts. Snowboarders are welcome, and there's the Norquist Trail for cross-country skiers. Chipmunk Corner provides day care and supervised kids' skiing. The ski school is excellent. Rentals, a ski shop, a good base-camp restaurant, and Totemoff Bar and Grill (located mid-mountain) round out the amenities. The area is fun for hiking during the summer months, and the Super Chief Quad Chairs operates from late August through mid-October, catering to hikers and shutterbugs eager to view the high-mountain fall foliage, including acres of shimmering golden aspens. End of NM 475, 18 miles northeast of Downtown, East Side and Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. 505/982–4429 general info; 505/983–9155 snow report.