Northern New Mexico is an outdoor lover’’s paradise – if for no other reason than that there’’s just so much of it! Endless blue skies above make the outdoors an enticing world at almost any time of the year, and with terrain ranging from mountains to desert, winter snows to springtime, summer, and fall changes, as well as the occasional grassy playing field courtesy of the Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Department, you’’re sure to find an outdoor pastime to get your exercise and breath a little fresh air.
White Water Rafting
From the moment the snows begin to melt in the spring until the rivers are but a trickle in the late summer, both Santa Fe and Taos offers amazing opportunities to ride the wild white waters of the Rio Grande. But boating isn’’t for the timid or the inexperienced –- check out these three river guide companies for an experience you’ll come home from!
New Wave Rafting Co.
Known World Guides
Santa Fe Rafting Co.
Hiking and walking can easily become a regular part of life in Santa Fe. With many backyards leading directly to the wilderness, and many more simple hikes within a ten minutes’ drive from downtown, it’s hard to come up with enough excuses not to go for a hike. From the easy and well-maintained Dale Ball trails along the northeast side of town to the more rugged path to the top of Atalaya Mountain behind St. John’s College, Santa Fe is loaded with places to walk and hike. The links below should help you get started.
Santa Fe Audubon Society, http://newmexicoaudubon.org/sdcas/
Santa Fe Ski Mountain Hikes, http://www.santafe.com
Sierra Club (Day Hikes in the Santa Fe area), http://riogrande.sierraclub.org/santafe/Outings.html
Sightseeing: Seven Directions Sight Seeing Excursions
Seven Directions offers educationsl custom tours of Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Tour guides speak English, French, Italian offering a rewarding traveling experience for European, Canadian and US travelers. Other languages on request for quests coming from diifferent countries. Seven Directions tours minimize the impact on the environment and preserve the rich cultural heritage the Southwest is famous for.
From backyard bivouacs to state and national parks, no Santa Fe family is complete without a tent and a few extra sleeping bags. With perhaps the closest campground located no more than twenty minutes away in nearby Black Canyon, within an hour’’s drive you’’ll find places like Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos, and Jack’’s Creek’s in Pecos.
Black Canyon in Santa Fe National Forest, http://tinyurl.com/7ls36
Bandelier National Monument, http://www.nps.gov/band/
Jack’s Creek in Pecos, http://www.explorenm.com/camping/JacksCreek/
New Mexico is truly a golfer’’s paradise. With nearly 340 sunny days per year, it’’s possible to go golfing all-year round. And with our courses, you’’ll never lack a fantastic view of mountains and skyline. With over forty courses statewide, you’’re sure to find somewhere to meet your golf challenge needs. Below are three courses within the city of Santa Fe.
40 Buffalo Thunder Trl, Santa Fe, (505) 455-9000
Located in the dramatic scenery of Northern New Mexico’s Pojoaque Valley, Towa’s three independent nine-hole courses challenge with dramatic elevation changes, seasonal weather conditions, and scenery of such extraordinary beauty it threatens to distract the most focused golfer. World Golf Awards “North America’s Best Golf Hotel 2015” winner!
Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe
205 Caja Del Rio, (505) 955-4400
The Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe is an exciting challenge for golfers of all levels. Spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia and Ortiz mountain ranges make playing golf at the Links de Santa Fe a truly memorable experience. A municipal course, the Links offers an 18-hole championship course, a fine 9-hole par-3 course, a driving range, a large putting green, a pro shop, food service and PGA-certified instructors.
Santa Fe Country Club
Airport Road, (505) 471-0601
Founded in 1946, this is a wide-open, 18-hole, par 72 public golf course. Open to the general public, the Santa Fe Country Club offers a traditional layout with tee-to-green fairways and bent grass greens. Members enjoy access to the clubhouse, tennis courts and swimming pool.
With some of the outstanding tennis facilities available to us, both indoor and outdoor tennis are available year-round in Santa Fe.
Rosemarie Shellaberger Tennis Center
At the College of Santa Fe, 1600 St. Michael’s Dr. (505) 473-6144
The Rosemarie Shellaberger Tennis Center is the largest permanent indoor tennis facility In the southwest, and was recently named “One of the Outstanding Tennis Facilities in the US” by the United States Tennis Association. Open since 2002, the Tennis Center features a world-class lighting system and six championship indoor courts built to stringent USTA specifications.
Sangre de Christo Racquet Club
1755 Camino Corrales (505) 983-7978
Just a stone’s throw from Museum Hill, the Sangre de Cristo Racquet Club was established in 1968, and features 4 hard courts, 1 clay court, and one hard court indoors in a bubble. There’s also a pool for an after-game swim or just quiet lounging.
Fly-Fishing Near Santa Fe
Fly fishing is a great sport for people of all ages, and Santa Fe and the surrounding is a great place to engage in it. In fact, northern New Mexico is one of the best-kept secrets in fly-fishing, with most stream miles within easy reach of Santa Fe. Las Vegas, Pecos, Santa Fe, Taos, Red River, and Questa are just a few of the locations nearby. Fishing licenses must be obtained before tackling New Mexico lakes and streams, and most Inidan lands requires special fees of between $5-$15 per day. Call the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish toll-free number for fishing information 24 hours a day: (800) ASK-FISH (275-3474).
There are a number of local retailers dedicated to helping you “test the waters” of New Mexico fly fishing, as well as a number of local guides for both day-trips and longer journeys. Here are just a few:
Reel Life Santa Fe, http://www.thereellife.com/
High Desert Angler, http://www.highdesertangler.com/
Skiing / Snowboarding
Newcomers to Santa Fe are often surprised to find 13,000-foot peaks covered in dense aspen and coniferous forests. These altitudes, coupled with New Mexico’s light, fluffy snow and brilliant sunshine, create some of the finest ski conditions in the West, making New Mexico an ideal location for a ski or snowboard enthusiast.
Santa Fe Ski Basin
Top of the Ski Basin Road, (505) 982-4429
Just 20 minutes from downtown Santa Fe you’ll find a 12,000-plus-foot peak, 45 broad intermediate alpine skier/snowboarder runs, and narrow expert trails flanking the Pecos Wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest. This 660-acre mountain has a vertical drop of 1,703 feet and gets an average annual snowfall of 225 inches.
Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, Los Alamos, (505) 662-5725
A weekend-only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) mountain originally built for Los Alamos National Lab employees, Parajito is open to the public throughout the winter season. The only alpine skiing/snowboarding area in the Jemez Mountains, this 1,410 vertical feet mountain offers challenging mogul runs and its 280-foot acreage gets an annual snowfall of 125 inches.
Angel Fire Resort, Angel Fire (800) 633-7463
Located in the Carson National Forest of northern New Mexico, this secluded resort has runs for all ability-levels and the state’s only high-speed quads. The resort of choice for snowboarders, Angel Fire features four terrain parks and the state’s only half-pipe. Angel Fire gets an average annual snowfall of 210 inches, and has 450 acres of groomed slopes on 2,077 vertical feet.
Taos Ski Valley, (800) 347-7414
With half of its 110 runs designated as expert, this ski mountain is consistently voted one of the best in the world. But you don’t have to be an ace to come here— there are lots of beginner and intermediate runs as well. Taos takes skiing very seriously, and even bans snowboarders to keep the mountain safe for two-plankers only. The 3,274 feet of vertical drop offers legendary steep chutes, and the 1,200 acres get an average annual snowfall of 305 inches.
Sipapu, NM (800) 587-2240
This rustic resort beside the Rio Pueblo 22 miles south of Taos provides a low-key experience that’s a far cry from the glamour of Taos Ski Valley but big on family fun. Enjoy the virtually nonexistent lift lines, great snowboarding terrain, and lessons for all levels. The resort gets an average of 130 inches of snow annually, and has 31 runs on 70 acres of 1,055 vertical feet.
Sandia Peak Ski Area (505) 242-9133
Just up the Sandia Mountains between Santa Fe and Albuquerque to enjoy the 30 groomed trails at this intimate, 200-acre ski area. Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway from the Duke City, or make the longer drive around the mountains through Cedar Crest on Highway 14 to get there by car. Sandia welcomes snowboarders, telemarkers, and alpine skiers alike.
Cross-Country Skiing Near Santa Fe
On a carpet of dry white, you can blaze new trails throughout northern New Mexico. Explore the fire roads and trails of our public backcountry or visit one of our specialized Nordic centers, where you can rent skis and while away the hours along groomed trails. Whichever you choose, you’re bound to become quickly relaxed as you’ll have our evergreen forests and alpine meadows virtually to yourself.
Just up Hyde Park Road from Santa Fe are the Black Canyon trails, where you’ll find some challenging trails for both the beginner and the intermediate cross-country skiier. Local retail ski shop Alpine Sports offers a map of local cross country trails that is adjusted as the seasons changes. www.alpinesports-santafe.com
Angel Fire Resort Cross Country
The Nordic area of the Angel Fire has four 2-mile-long trails: one beginner, two intermediate, and one black diamond. All of the Angel Fire Resort is below the tree line, so you’ll find the trails full of delightful variation.
Enchanted Forest Cross Country
Enchanted Forest is New Mexico’s largest full-service cross country ski area, offering 33km or groomed trails for classic and freestyle cross-country. Located just three miles from Red River, (about 3.5 hours from Santa Fe) in the Carson National Forest, Enchanted Forest offers stunning mountain vistas and meandering forest trails which give a backcountry feel to a well-groomed and patrolled paradise. www.enchantedforestxc.com
New Mexico is a two-wheeler’s dream destination. With our long, flat stretches of high desert plains, and seemingly endless mountains and forests, road and mountain bikers can find plenty of challenging terrain all surrounded by the state’s famously breathtaking views. Check out a few of these places to get all the inside information on great rides throughout the state.
-SunMountain Bike Company
Pajarito Mountain, http://www.skipajarito.com/biking.php
-Gorp Guide to Santa Fe, http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/nm/sf_tao2.htm
With the exception of the Ice Cave located in El Malpais just west of Albuquerque, most of the 300 known caves located in the state of New Mexico can be found near Carlsbad Caverns in the southeast corner of the state. Both the Ice Cave and Carlsbad Caverns offer tours of their caves, though it is said that the best caves are the ones that no one has ever heard of. Here are a few places worth checking out:
-Carlsbad Caverns National Park, http://www.carlsbad.caverns.national-park.com
-Bandera Center/Ice Caves, http://www.newmexico.org/place/loc/favorites/page/DB-place/place/561.html
-Slaughter Canyon Cave, http://www.nps.gov/cave/tour-scc.htm
-Cave-Crawling Around Carlsbad, http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/nm/spe_carl.htm
Sharing the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it’s sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway, disc golf is gaining in popularity throughout New Mexico and also in Santa Fe. The PDGA (professional disc golf association) lists fifteen disc golf courses throughout the state – here are the ones you can find in Santa Fe so far.
Ashbaugh Park, http://www.pdga.com/course/courses_by_city.php?id=580
St. John’’s College, http://www.pdga.com/course/courses_by_city.php?id=2019
This non-contact college hippie sport has gained many converts in the Santa Fe area, enough so that we have our own city team that competes in four-corners-area league play. For information on games round town, call Louis Bare at 474-4728. If you want to know about Ultimate, visit http://www.whatisultimate.com/
Baseball/Softball (League Play – SF Parks & Rec) (505) 955-2100
With the recent arrival of the Isotopes minor league baseball team in Albuquerque, there’s been a renewed interest in local league baseball. But no sport on town can even touch the popularity of softball, which draws more players than any other Parks & Rec. activity every year. You can play both in Santa Fe.
The Rio Grande Rugby Union offers two seasons of rugby every year – (just in case you didn’t get hurt enough the first time around.) Games take place in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, with a yearly Labor Day tournament that brings in teams from throughout the southwest. Call Anil Kamat @ 665-6178
Soccer is very popular in New Mexico, and fields abound in Santa Fe for playing it. Parks & Recreation has information on both kid and adult leagues. Call them.
The city of Santa Fe long ago became tired of fighting the skateboarders, and instead decided to build a couple of municipal skateparks for skaters to play in. With two excellent locations (one downtown, one on the Westside near Santa Fe High School) the parks offers rails, ledges, verts, and a half and quarter-pipe.
1027 Camino Carlos Rey
302 West De Vargas Street, near downtown Santa Fe