Santa Fe

Footbridge over the Santa Fe river.
What do you call a traffic jam in Santa Fe? A red light.

Santa Fe continues to be relatively pain-free to navigate, despite the increase in visitation over the years. Cars, though, are not the only option and we will show you the various ways of getting around town.

As it stands now, access to every major region of town is within a 10-minute drive. Depending on the neighborhoods you live in, you can bypass the car altogether and navigate on the local trails, cut through the burro alleys, and enjoy the sunshine by foot or bike.

Santa Fe by Car

Just like the rest of the country, Santa Fe is mostly car-dependent. A few things to note about owning a car in Santa Fe:

  • 4×4 or all-wheel drive recommended: We get the full four seasons here and having good tires with AWD is greatly beneficial, whether it be snow or heavy monsoon rains.
  • Window tint: Due to our elevation and abundant sunshine, window tints are a must unless you like to cook eggs on your dash. Even in winter, your car’s interior can reach upwards of 70 degrees due to the sunshine coming through the windows.
  • Old and new: Santa Fe has an interesting car culture, including lowriders from Espanola, old farm trucks, stunning classics, Porsches, and the ubiquitous Subaru. There’s no snobbery with any of the above—you’ll just as likely see a Bentley Continental in the La Choza parking lot as a rusted out Tercel.

New Mexico happens to be a helmet-optional state for those interested in the two-wheeled life, not that we recommend it (aside from safety, the sunburn must be awful!).

Traffic is mostly not a reality, where only Cerrillos Road and St. Francis Drive tend to jam up during commuting hours and when downtown becomes challenging during high tourism season.
Truck on the road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Two road cyclists cruising with a blurry background behind them.
Slowly but surely, Santa Fe is becoming a bike town. Thanks to advocacy organizations such as Bike Santa FeChainbreaker Collective, and the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, Santa Fe continues to add bike paths, signage, and bicycle storage throughout the city. And why not bike? With our beautiful weather and relatively flat topography (in town, that is), Santa Fe is an ideal cycling community. Here are some key points:

  • Understanding the local bike path network: The Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization has put together a useful map highlighting our paved and gravel trails around town. Popular routes include the Rail Trail (Railyard to Lamy), Acequia Trail (Casa Alegre to Railyard), River Trail (Downtown to Airport Road) and Arroyo Chamiso Trail (Rail Trail to Southside).
  • Consider do-it-all bikes: Consider gravel, cyclocross, or more comfortable style bikes for getting around town. Our mixed surface roads means those skinny road tires may leave you a little rattled. You will see a lot of Surlys in town.
  • Watch out for goatheads: Wait, what? Yes, goatheads. These little devils are caltrop-shaped seeds that grow in the sidewalks and pathways. They love to stick in your tires and leave you deflated. We often use latex sealers in our tires and tubes to prevent frequent flats.

Santa Fe by Bicycle

Santa Fe by Foot

Fortunately, many neighborhoods (Casa SolanaCasa Alegre, South Capital) are within walking distance of business centers. Using the same maps outlined in the bike section, one can easily navigate major areas of Santa Fe by foot. While parking can be a challenge, going by foot helps solve that issue and allows you to enjoy that one extra margarita up at the Cantina.

Footbridge over stream in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Rail Runner Express train engine and blue sky.
Santa Fe has two notable public transportation options: Santa Fe Trails and the iconic Rail Runner. Given our relatively small population, our bus system is not riddled with common big city problems. Fare is affordable, routes are dependable, and transports are safe and clean.

The Rail Runner connects the Santa Fe Railyard (wave to our office!) to just south of Albuquerque and is a great option for a weekend escape or for those who frequent trips to Albuquerque. You can bring your bike aboard and even sit on the second level to enjoy the scenery. There are a handful of stops as the train heads south through town, making this a viable option for those days you don’t want to fire up the car.

Santa Fe Public Transportation