June 29, 2017
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Take A Hike

May 31, 2017, 12:00 am

We’re often told that the great outdoors make Santa Fe one of the most desirable places on earth in which to live or to visit. But with countless hiking options, how does one even choose? Easy: One doesn’t. One just does them all. Here are a few choices in no particular order to get you started.


Atalaya Mountain Hiking Trail

Zip over to St. John’s College, where the lower trailhead is at a clearly marked parking lot, and direct your feet up this mountainside for some of the best views in town. From below, you can identify it as the one with the nipple a little south of the bigger peaks. Added bonus? It’s totally doable even if you’re not much of a hiker, and you can bring your dogs. It’s 3.5 miles one way from the lower trailhead with about an 1,800 foot elevation gain, but you should probably just measure it in smiles, jabronis.

How to get there: Accessible via St. John’s College—or continue on Camino Cruz Blanca to Wilderness Gate Road, then hang a left on the aptly titled Atalaya Hill Road for the upper trailhead if you want to cheat (no judgment).

Hot tip: No smokers.


Dale Ball Trails We’re talking 22 scenic miles with all kinds of terrain for your walking/hiking/biking/dog-wrangling pleasure. Make no mistake—this is one of the big boys around here and beloved by many, if not all, so plan ahead and be prepared to exchange pleasantries with other humans.

How to get there: Drive up Palace Avenue until you hit Cerro Gordo and then straight on until morning. Or the trailhead. Whichever comes first. Upper Canyon Road works too.

Hot tip: Great for out-of-town friends who need a crash course in our state’s good looks.


Rio en Medio Trail

What one might call a “water hike,” this 6-mile trail accompanies a stream and features a mega-beautiful waterfall. At about a half hour outside town, you might have to be a certain type of hiker—but if you’ve got time for a day trip or want to get your feet wet, this is the way to go.

How to get there: Head out Highway 590 to the village of Rio en Medio. There is very limited parking, so maybe go on a Tuesday or something.

Hot tip: A change of clothes or shoes is a good plan, so you can get as wet as you’d like and not be miserable driving home.


Aspen Vista Trail

Near the Ski Basin, this particular trek puts you right where the aspen action is—namely, one of the largest single living organisms on the planet! Finally, you can be one of those obnoxious “Let’s go watch the leaves change colors!” people under the beautiful, shady canopy.

How to get there: About half way up Hyde Park Road, you’ll totally see the signs. And the hordes of people there on a beautiful weekend.

Hot tip: There are enough photos of the aspens to last us all a million lifetimes. Be present and ditch your phones in the car.


Winsor Trail It doesn’t have to be summer to trek this trail since it’s every bit as pretty with the snow as it is without it. You’ll have options up there in terms of terrain and, while it’s a little long at about 10 miles one-way, you can always turn around. It’s well-maintained and good for all to stroll. Also, there are stream crossings, so … score.

How to get there: Head up Hyde Park Road all the way to the lot at the Ski Basin. Look for the forest bathroom shack.

Hot tip: Bone up on what mushrooms you can or can’t eat and add some foraging to your trek. But, like, seriously—don’t eat anything unless you’re 100 percent on it. Get a book, maybe.


 

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