NEW RESIDENT'S GUIDE

Santa Fe
Outdoor
Recreation

People golfing at Marty Sanchez, Santa Fe

No matter what the season, one of the great delights of living in Santa Fe is being outside. Crisp air, warm sunshine, the changing landscape of seasonal beauty, brilliant sunsets, and glittering night skies are year-round wonders that never grow old. Whether you choose to enjoy the vistas from the privacy of your own deck, or get out and about as often as possible, the changing seasons won’t slow you down. In fact, you can enjoy many of the same activities 12 months a year. Outdoor fun in Santa Fe is in no way in short supply.

Mesa and canyon in Spring with snow capped Taos mountains in the background.

Spring

You can enjoy equestrian trail rides throughout the year, but they can be especially wonderful in the spring, just as the land wakes up and the trees begin to bloom.


Spring is also the time to put on your hiking shoes and stretch those muscles. Wildflower and cactus blooms brighten every path. There are lots of options for trails near Santa Fe: Atalaya Mountain, Chamisa Trail, Hyde Park, or Picacho Peak for a moderate workout; Nambe Lake or Raven’s Ridge if you’re more experienced. Always dress properly for the weather and know that conditions change rapidly in northern New Mexico, bring plenty of water, and let someone know your plans.
Smiling man holding a New Mexico Brown Trout after fishing in the Valles Caldera.

Summer

Summer is a busy time in Santa Fe. The city can be crowded: The popular 4th of July Celebration, Indian Market, Spanish Market, and nearby destinations attract visitors from around the world.

Summer is also the time for fishing the streams, rivers, and lakes of northern New Mexico, for visiting Bandelier National Monument, for exploring Pueblo ruins at Puye Cliffs, for heading north to Taos and the Rio Grande Gorge, and for rafting the Rio Grande near Embudo.

Summer camping is extraordinary, with sunny days, cool nights, clear skies, and few bugs. However, beware of the monsoons that come like clockwork, typically in late July and in August.
Mountain bikers on graded forest road with Fall colors.

Fall

In the fall, the aspens turn a blazing gold and daytime temperatures cool down. Crowds take to the hills to hike, picnic, and enjoy the changing colors.


Take a spectacular chairlift ride to the top of the mountain at Ski Santa Fe, then enjoy a leisurely downhill hike, stopping along the way for an informal picnic along the way. Fall is also a great time to take a trip north to picnic along the banks of the Rio Grande, challenge your skill and stamina on a river rafting ride, or swim and kayak on placid lakes and streams.


Drop a line at Monastery Lake to the east near Pecos, or find your own favorite fly-fishing spot along the Rio Chama River. Whatever your favorite season, you’ll find a favorite outdoor activity in Santa Fe.

Winter sunset over misty mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Winter

Winter is magical in Santa Fe for a lot of reasons. Bright sun, glistening “frosting” on adobe walls, hot chocolate, biscochitos, and green chili stew and the scent of pinon fires spell winter.


Snow may represent the Santa Fe of the guidebooks, but the sunny winter season in Santa Fe is also a good time time for a weekend trip down the Turquoise Trail to Madrid. Bike or hike or go horseback riding at Cerrillos Hills State Park.


Santa Fe welcomes snow in the winter, but it usually doesn’t stay long on the ground, and the sun shines more days than not. That doesn’t mean forsaking the ski slopes, however. Located at the end of State Highway 475 in the Santa Fe National Forest, Ski Santa Fe is only about 3,000 feet and 15 miles from the center of town. Pajarito Mountain isn’t a lot further afield, and it’s a nice change of pace, located in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos.