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Green Goods Hits the Trail: Our Favorite Santa Fe Hiking Spots

Feeling a little…cooped up? Over half a year into COVID-19 and with no clear end in sight, many of us are feeling a bit over it. But even if social distancing and mask-wearing aren’t going away any time soon, we’d gently like to remind you that the Great Outdoors still beckon. Santa Fe boasts some of the region’s best hiking opportunities, and there are few better ways to stretch your legs, your lungs, and your heart.

Today, we’ll introduce you to a few of our favorite Santa Fe hiking experiences. Running the gamut from easy nature strolls to more challenging uphill climbs, the trails are nature’s tailor-made remedy to the quarantine blues. Check out our list of the top Santa Fe hiking trails and get ready to hit the ground running!

The Best Santa Fe Hiking Trails

Arroyo Hondo Open Space Trail Head

Santa Fe Hiking
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

Old Agua Fria Rd E
Santa Fe, NM 87508

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Though it’s not the easiest Santa Fe trail on our list, this well-loved loop has the advantage of being close to town. While there are some rocky and gravelly sections (along with some moderate uphil climbs), the trails are all well-maintained and clearly marked. Leashed dogs are welcome, and there are some wildlife viewing opportunities to cap off the experience.

Atalaya: Lower and Upper Trailheads

Santa Fe Hiking 2
Source: Hiking Project

Santa Fe, NM 87505

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While it’s among the more heavily trafficked Santa Fe trails, it’s also one of the most varied and rewarding. The trail options range from the easy through the more challenging, and those who have the stamina to reach the crest of 9,100-foot high Atalaya Mountain will be rewarded by some truly stunning views. The forested trails are available for leisurely walking, running and mountain biking. Dogs are welcome too, so long as they’re kept on-leash.

Cerro Gordo Trailhead (Dale Ball Trails)

Santa Fe Hiking 3
Source: MTB Project

Santa Fe, NM 87501

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Spanning nearly 24 miles in total, this network of hiking and mountain biking trails is a veritable smorgasbord of opportunities for first-rate hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and geology. Choose from loops ranging from .75 to over 5 miles in length, and presenting anything from mild to moderate difficulty in terms of elevation change and exertion. Encompassing a unique partnership between city, state and the federal governments (as well as the owners of privately held lands), the trails offer a special surprise for those with sharp eyes: The fossils of prehistoric ocean dwellers, preserved some 7000 feet above sea level!

La Cuchara Trailhead (La Tierra Trails)

Santa Fe Hiking 4
Source: High Desert Dirt

1105 La Cuchara Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87506

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Another impressive complex of multi-use trails, La Cuchara is the result of a concerted effort by the city to develop a close-in trail system to benefit all the residents of Santa Fe. Officially classified as “easy” to “moderate,” the trails offer some 25 miles of fun for hikers, bikers, equestrians and ATV/MX users. While the views aren’t quite as stunning as those offered by some of the mountain trails, La Cuchara stands as an impressive achievement in urban planning and management, bringing the pleasures of the trail to within a few miles of the Santa Fe Plaza. 

Chamisa Trailhead

Santa Fe Hiking 5
Source: Trip Advisor via @mischris9

Santa Fe, NM 87501

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Another close-in forest trail, Chamisa is a great option for those who don’t have the juice for a long hike. The 4.5-mile loop offers an invigorating workout, but be aware that at peak hours, the trail can be popular, especially with mountain bikers. But most of the time, you’ll be treated to a moderately difficult hike with plenty of wildflowers, forest scenery and the occasional wildlife encounter.