Fall foliage is spectacular in New Mexico – and Santa Fe is no exception. Residents and visitors alike can take a respite from busy city life to enjoy natural beauty just a short distance away. Many hiking trails in the region can be challenging even to experienced hikers. However, the hiking and nature trails featured below are suitable for active beginners as well as experienced hikers – and fall is a perfect time to explore them.
Located within the Santa Fe National Forest, the Aspen Vista trail is one of the best hikes in the region for enjoying fall color. It features a wide range of terrains, including wildflower fields, a river, lake, and groves of aspens in their glorious fall colors. The first 2.5 miles of the trail are relatively easy to navigate. But the trail becomes increasingly steep – which could test the resolve of more leisurely hikers. But the breathtaking view at the top is a reward that is well worth the challenge for hikers up to the task.
Dale Ball Trails
The popular Dale Ball Trails cover nearly 25 miles throughout the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains – linking the city of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe National Forest, and Santa Fe County. This moderate-rated high-desert trail boasts picturesque mountain views. The Dave Ball Trails are well marked — and maps are available at the intersection of Hyde Park Road and Sierra Del Norte. The Nature Conservancy’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserve provides another trailhead for the Dale Ball Trails, as well as a 1.5-mile loop trail through the Santa Fe River. A four-mile climb leads to the 8,775-summit of Picacho Peak. The Dale Ball Trails are open year-round, and dogs on leash are permitted. Weekday and early morning hikes are less likely to be crowded than treks on weekends and later in the day.
Randall Davey Audubon Center
Birdwatching and hiking are both featured at the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary. This 135-acre wildlife preserve was once a sawmill before being purchased by American painter Randall Davey, who converted it into his home and studio. The Sanctuary has recorded 190 bird species and includes trails that wind through gardens of flowers and stands of juniper, ponderosa, and piñon trees. Visitors can participate in free guided bird walks on Saturday mornings – or explore the sanctuary on their own.
The Inn on the Alameda is the perfect base for a visit to Santa Fe and embark on the popular fall hikes in the area, located just a short distance away from the inn. Visit our website to learn more about all Santa Fe has to offer and for help planning your trip.