Here’s something remarkable about the outdoors in Santa Fe: The elevation takes some getting used to, but once your body has made an adjustment to it, hiking and biking in New Mexico will turn you into a superhero.
Track & Field magazine has recommended that professional athletes consider living above 7,000 feet over sea level to develop stronger lungs and better blood flow. The thin air forces your body to produce more red blood cells, resulting in more oxygen being delivered to the muscles as you work out.
Santa Fe checks in with an elevation of 7,199 feet, which makes The City Different an ideal choice for homebuyers looking to maintain an active lifestyle.
What we’re saying is: As you explore these bike trails, take it easy at first, but don’t be surprised if your best time for a 10-mile trip eventually blows your previous record out of the water.
Let’s first look North to Los Alamos. We can say this about every trail on this list so we’ll just say it here: Los Alamos County Trails are some of the best trails you can ride straight from town. Start with the Acid Canyon Loop kicking off in downtown Los Alamos, and when you feel comfortable with that terrain start making your way towards the Perimeter Trail creating a large loop from the center of town. Stop off at Bathtub Row Brewing when you finish for a refreshing pint of their Hoppenheimer IPA.
If you really want to get your blood pumping, the Winsor trail is just a good climb as it is a descent. Straight up, straight down, you’ll be in for a heck of a cardio boost. It’s an easy trail to wipe out on with the speeds you’ll be hitting flying down that hill, so, first, we recommend it for seasoned cyclists, and second, please be respectful of hikers and horseback riders. Rising from Tesuque to the ski hill, this is a popular trail for all users.
Feel free to debate us on this one, but Dale Ball might be the best in-town trail system in the country. This 30-mile trail network with a nice mix of technical obstacles as well as swooping descents. As easy or as hard a trail as you want to make it, this trail network is located just outside of downtown Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo foothills.
Just off highway 599 near the Las Campanas club and golf course lies a web of trails cut from the desert scrub. Fast, loose, and with 360-degree panorama views, these cross-country trails keep your heart rate up and are easily accessible from town. For those of you looking for some airtime, the “Trash Pit” region of jumps, drops, and flow trails provide ample opportunities to hone your skills.
This one’s not for you sea-level folks. You’ll climb to over 12,000 feet just to make the short trip. If you want to go the distance to Deception Peak, you’ll be doing a lot of huffing and puffing with that thin air. It’s worth the trip if you want to go the distance up at Aspen Vista, especially if you like chunky descents you turn down the Alamos Vista trail for a short, but exciting descent through the aspens. If you’re new to New Mexico bike trails, you might want to put in six months of conditioning before tackling this one.