LANL RELOCATION GUIDE

Commuting
from
Santa Fe
to LANL

Jemez Mountains at Sunrise, Los Alamos

While Los Alamos can be a great place to live, limited housing and amenities lead many homebuyers to look at living in nearby Santa Fe more seriously. As outlined in many other publications and our own blog, there’s great reasons to choose Santa Fe as your homebase. Let’s take a look at how you can work at LANL, but live in Santa Fe.

The beauty of Tesuque with walking rain and rainbow heading South into Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Transportation

Commuting—it’s a word that conjures up images of stagnated traffic on interstates and frustrated drivers. Fortunately, due to the remoteness and geography of Northern New Mexico, commuting is often a more pleasant experience. With views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains as you head north out of Santa Fe to the grand vista of the canyons at the foot of the Jemez mountains as you enter Los Alamos, the commute takes only 45 minutes and is often stunning!

Many who work at Los Alamos National Labs commute in three ways: they drive themselves, carpool, or use the Park and Ride. Obviously, the benefit of driving yourself is to have more freedom in transportation if need be, but other factors matter as well including if you work in one of the Technical Areas outside the main laboratory buildings.

From highway 502, there are three ways to drive to LANL depending on where you need to go:

  • Highway 502: Continuing up 502 leads directly into downtown Los Alamos and turns into Trinity Drive. 502 becomes single lane as it climbs a narrow shelf along the canyon and passes the airport. While popular, this is the most likely route to get congested during commuting hours or adverse weather.
  • Highway 4 to Jemez Rd: The split at the bottom of “the Hill” heads toward White Rock and continues up a canyon to the security check station. This is often the fastest way to the main buildings of LANL including the National Security Sciences Building.
  • Highway 4 to Pajarito Rd: Pajarito Rd is a non-public road that connects White Rock to LANL for those doing the short commute and requires a government clearance or issues ID badge for travel. The road connects near the same security station of Jemez Road.
Landscape looking North from Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Santa Fe Areas for LANL Commuting

OK, so you’ve accepted a job at LANL and want to live in Santa Fe. Where are the best areas to consider? Highlighted below are some of the most popular areas for the LANL commuter.

Casa Solana: Built of classic Stamm homes, Casa Solana is extremely popular because of its easy access to Highway 285, the Park and Ride station at the Santa Fe Spa, as well as great amenities such as the La Montanita Co-op and Better Day Coffee. This area is particularly competitive, so be prepared!

Ridgetop, Piñon Ridge, and Las Estrellas: These neighborhoods offer newer construction and often larger homes with views over Santa Fe and toward the Sangre de Cristo mountains. As with the other neighborhoods, easy access to both Highways 599 and 285 means faster commutes.

599 Corridor: While La Tierra and Las Campanas are the standouts, there are smaller and more unique neighborhoods spread along the 599 corridor all the way to La Cienega. Most homes will be larger with equally large lots, often exceeding an acre.

South Capitol: As the only neighborhood on the list that’s outside of the 285/599 area, South Capitol and the outlying neighborhoods (such as Casa Linda and Casa Alegre) offer the in-town experience while still being close enough to the South Capitol and Downtown Park And Ride locations to be ideal for the commuter who wants the best of both worlds.