Spring is a great time to go hiking in Santa Fe and hundreds of people do just that each week. The Santa Fe region (and beyond!) attracts hikers of all levels as there is an abundance of great trails to choose from. Narrowing down the choices isn’t easy, but we’ve asked Karen Denison, owner of Outspire Hiking & Snowshoeing to pick her top 3 hikes for this spring…
1. Slot Canyon Trail at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. A favorite hike among many, you’ll want to get there early to avoid the crowds. This trail will take you up through the canyon and onto the mesa. You can enjoy great views of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountains. This is a good trail for beginner to intermediate hikers to try at any time of the year, although you’ll need to be prepared for high temperatures in the summer and floods after storms.
2. Falls Trail at the Bandelier National Monument. This is another hike that you’ll want to arrive early for as the parking lot fills up quickly! This trail descends 400 feet and covers 1.5 miles as it takes you to the Upper Falls. This hike is great for hikers of all levels, although there are some steep drop-offs that might bother those who have a fear of heights. The trail is in great shape, fairly wide, and will offer the chance to see some wildlife along the way. It should be noted that the trail beyond the falls is no longer safe following a flood in 2011. You can drive yourself to the visitor parking center until May 22nd, after that you’ll need to check the park’s website for shuttle bus requirements.
3. Chamisa Trail – a hike that is very close to the city. This is a great trail if you’re looking for a good workout. Once you’ve made your way to the top you’ll get to follow an easier trail down towards the Big Tesuque Creek basin. Here you’ll have the chance to rest in a very green environment. There are wildflowers and meadows and you’ll meet plenty of other hikers, mountain bikers and runners along the way.
While most of the trails can be self-guided without too many issues, just imagine how much more interesting it could be if you had your own private hiking guide! If you’re new to the area you’ll especially want to consider this as your guide can provide a rich history of the region and will also be able to take you on many lesser-known hikes. To learn more about Outspire and the wide range of hiking opportunities visit www.outspire.com. As always, if you’re in need of accommodations during your Santa Fe visit, we welcome you to our Santa Fe B&B anytime of year!