I’m really excited to talk about Santa Fe’s hiking scene today. I’ve always been a nature person and avid believer in its power to soothe the mind and cleanse the soul of negativity, toxicity and stress. The quiet tranquility, gazing mountains and amazing views in which plains and plateaus unify so harmoniously with adobe buildings truly make Santa Fe an incredible place to explore.
Santa Fe has a topography truly unlike any other. Desert, mesas and cacti give way to luscious greenery spreading up our hills and mountains to end with snow on the peaks. Throughout the year Santa Fe experiences the full scoop of seasonal metamorphose, yet the skies are remains blue and the sun is remains shinning. I know I speak very passionately, but I have never lived in such a versatile environment that arouses such wonder in me.
Hiking Santa Fe has not only transformed me physically into the best shape I’ve achieved in my life, but also spiritually. I have never felt so at peace and rest within my own mind and when experiencing all the human rollercoaster of emotions we have.
#1 SUN MOUNTAIN
Sun mountain has long been a favorite of mine as it was one of the first I discovered after moving to Santa Fe. A relatively short hike, it takes maybe a half hour to the top of the hill. It’s quick, but not painless. For most of the time, you are ascending very rapidly and I always think of the gyms' stair master when hiking it. You can see all of Santa Fe from the top and for the length of the hike, it is probably one of the best views in the city.
#2 ATALAYA MOUNTAIN
Atalaya will test you. She is long and at some point a steep ascent. Give yourself at least three hours for the entire hike, although you will probably want to rest and absorb the incredible views at the top. Once, in mid April at the top of Atalaya we encountered swarms of lady bugs, tickling our bare arms and legs. Truly a magical experience.
#3 DIABLO CANYON
Having, at the time of writing this, just hiked Diablo Canyon for the first time, I am still in a state of awe. Nothing is so humbling as walking through a canyon with sheer black mountains on either side of you. About a five mile hike roundtrip, the mountains give way to an arroyo which is where you spend most of the hike until you reach a charming river at your point of turn-around. Diablo Canyon is also a well-known place for experienced rock-climbers, which I had the pleasure of observing when I went.
#4 RIO EN MEDIO TRAILS
The true gem of this hike is the falls. Growing up in Hawaii, I usually find the 'waterfalls' New Mexicans point me towards egregiously lacking, however in terms of height and water volume, this waterfall makes the cut. I am more of a view-seeker when it comes to hiking, however this is a very beautiful trail and the water element is a nice change.
#5 SANDIA TRAIL
The Sandia Mountains captured my heart from the moment I arrived. Located in Albuquerque New Mexico, they offer some of the most expanding views in the state. You may hike as high you like, however if you do choose to ascend to the top of the mountain, make sure you are well prepared with lots of water, food and sun-protection. From the time we left our car to when we finally arrived back at the base, we had been gone around six or seven hours and were thoroughly exhausted. This might be the last trail you tackle once you've got your hiking mojo in full swing.
#6 JEMEZ FALLS AND HOT SPRINGS
Yes you read that right, falls and hot springs can be found in the beautiful Jemez Mountains. A couple hours North of Santa Fe in Jemez National Recreation Area, can be found a great campsite with amazing hiking trails in all directions. The hike is best made into a full day adventure to allow for plenty of soak time in the natural outdoor hot springs and farther on again in the waterfalls.
Santa Fe is a quintessential destination for any eager hiker, rock climber, daring skier or bold mountain biker, and is a true four seasons playground. If Santa Fe is a stop on your route cross country, your current or future home, or on your list of vacation destinations, hopefully you get to experience one of these stunning hikes in the Land of Enchantment!