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Sante Fe is the capital of New Mexico, a state known for its desert lands. But its landscape is actually very diverse, from deeply forested mountains to the Chihuahuan Desert. And Sante Fe and its surroundings are no different – not only is the city home to an amazing cultural and arts scene, but it’s also a hotspot for walking enthusiasts. Tourists and locals alike love to take advantage of the walking trails that surround the city, so let’s take a look at 7 of the best walks in Santa Fe.

Best Walks in Santa Fe

1. Atalaya Mountain Trail

Length: 6.2 miles
Duration: 4 hours

This trail is a great way to get out in the New Mexico wilderness, without being far from civilisation. It takes you up the mighty Atalaya Mountain, gaining an elevation of 1,794 feet. We do recommend wearing hiking boots as while the first portion of the trail is relatively easy, it gets steep towards the top. And depending on what time of year it is, it might be slippery and have patches of snow. But it’s all worth it for the breathtaking view you get at the top.

atalaya mountains with view of santa fe

2. Picacho Peak Trail

Length: 4 miles
Duration: 2 hours 4o minutes

This is one of the most popular walks in Santa Fe and for good reason. This beautiful hike takes you through Santa Fe National Forest, leading you to an opening with clear views of the city. It’s challenging without being too difficult, so you get a good sense of accomplishment after this walk. We do recommend wearing good hiking boots with decent traction as there can be loose dirt and some snow in the colder months, but mostly it’s a well-paved, well-marked trail.

picacho peak trail near santa fe

3. Nambe Lake Trail

Length: 6.8 miles
Duration: 4 hours 10 minutes

You might think that New Mexico is all deserts, canyons, and rocks, but Nambe Lake surprises us all. This walk takes you past the deserts of Santa Fe to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, offering vast alpine views of the beautiful mountain range. And as the name suggests, the highlight of the walk is Nambe Lake. Thanks to the surrounding Aspen and pine trees, the reflection gives the lake a beautiful blue-green shine. It’s a bit of a strenuous walk to get there, but it’s worth it.

nambe lake

4. Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks

Length: 3 miles
Duration: 2 hours

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a must-see. The rocks themselves are a series of conical sandstone formations and there are two trails to get there – one that slots through the canyon, and one on ground level. This trail slots through the canyon, which can get narrow if it’s particularly busy and does require some agility, but it’s something special. Make sure to keep going until you reach the top, the view from up there is insane.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

5. Chamisa Trail

Length: 4.5 miles
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

This trail journies you through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which get pretty steep. The first portion might not be suited to beginners as the incline is challenging, but if you do persist, you’ll reap the rewards of sweeping meadows, alpine vistas, and mountain streams. However, this walk is more about the journey than the destination, so those that prefer a really good payoff of breathtaking views might be better off with another trail. That being said, the scenery is lovely, with wildflowers popping up here and there – the perfect place to take a picnic and enjoy a sunny afternoon.

chamisa trail

6. Sante Fe Baldy via Winsor Trail

Length: 13.5 miles
Duration: 8 hours

This long walk is not for the faint-hearted, but seasoned walkers will absolutely love this gorgeous and rewarding hike. It can be done in a day, as long as you leave very early in the morning, but adventure seekers can also camp at Lake Katherine if they want to split the walk up. And if you want to take this hike in the winter, be sure to wear snowshoes and bring walking poles as it can get icy. The elevation gain is 3,517 feet so it’s not easy, but it’s all worth it when you reach those breathtaking views.

santa fe baldy

7. Dale Balls Trail North

Length: 4.4 miles
Duration: 2 hours

This trail is perfect for those looking to get out in nature for the day, but don’t necessarily want a challenging walk. The surroundings are still lovely, particularly in the autumn when the foliage begins to change. Another thing that makes this trail so popular is its proximity to Sante Fe, it’s just a ten-minute drive out of the city. While this walk is considered easy, it’s by no means boring – it winds you through switchbacks, twists and turns, and traverses through forest trees and desert lands. Pack a picnic and take yourself (or your dog!) for a long and peaceful walk through the wilderness.

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