Santa Fe is near many beautiful and diverse outdoor spaces. Hiking in and around Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico offers many different types of experiences from alpine lakes and desert canyons to sandy arroyos filled with Pinon and Juniper. For visitors who want a break from endless world-class dining, art, cultural, and historical attractions in Santa Fe, a hike is a great way to experience the natural beauty of our region. If you are a hiking enthusiast or just want to spend a full day away from concerns while reconnecting with nature, these hikes are for you. Our iconic Santa Fe lodging and knowledge of the area will help you curate your ideal hiking getaway in Santa Fe. Please enjoy this list of the best Santa Fe day hikes (we’ve had the pleasure of hiking them all)!
ASPEN VISTA TO TESUQUE PEAK
As the name would suggest, Aspen Vista Trail snakes through an aspen forest with views of the rolling hills below. It’s a fairly wide, dirt forest road that goes all the way up to Tesuque Peak, which overlooks Ski Santa Fe. The trail is especially spectacular (and popular) during the fall when the entire hillside turns gold. Any time of year is lovely though – summer provides a cool, green escape from the heat, and during the winter, hardy snowshoers will find some solitude. (Tip: this is one of the most popular Santa Fe trails, so it can get crowded, especially during leaf-peeping months). The entire out-and-back trail is over 12 miles long. However, there is a rocky overlook after approximately 2 miles that makes for a good turnaround point for a total distance of about 4 miles. Dogs and horses are welcome on this trail.
The Nambe Lake Trail is innkeeper Dan’s favorite hike that takes you to Santa Fe’s closest alpine lake. Starting at Ski Santa Fe parking lot, you climb steeply to the Winsor Trail, then take a long slight decline through an intense aspen stand towards Nambe Creek. The sometimes rocky and muddy trail traces the stream as it cascades down the mountain from the small lake that feeds it. Once at the top, you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the lake and the granite cirque wrapping around and towering over the water. Take lunch and admire the wildlife. Dogs are welcome.
SANTA FE BALDY
This out-and-back trek reaches Santa Fe Baldy Via Winsor Trail. The first half of the trail is the same as the Nambe Lake Trail. This route is also a lightly traveled favorite for serious hikers, especially in the fall when golden carpets lead up to the pines, and eventually the saddle and summit for incredible views. What starts as a steep mile of switchbacks, turns into a slow descent through mossy pines and elegant aspens. Baldy comes into view from the left side of the trail. Continue onward until you cross Nambe Creek and begin to climb again. Another series of switchbacks take you above the tree line to the “saddle”. From there, it’s a steep scramble over marmot rocks to reconnect with the trail above. Be wary of summer storms and make sure to wear layers in the fall months. Dogs are welcome.
Lake Katherine via Winsor Trail is a very demanding day hike and is more popular with backpackers and campers as a two-day hike with camping overnight. This trail is the same as Nambe Lake and Baldy, but continues around Baldy to the lake rather than ascending to Baldy. Lake Katherine is larger than nearby Lake Nambe and Spirit Lake. The water is so clear! Dogs are welcome.
For beautiful hikes in Santa Fe with less of a time commitment, check out our favorite Short Santa Fe Hikes.
For the inside scoop on Santa Fe trails, request our exclusive hiking guides!
Book Your Getaway…
Book your stay with us at Inn of the Turquoise Bear for the ultimate hiking vacation in the Land of Enchantment. Before trekking these best Santa Fe day hikes, enjoy fueling up with our delicious multi-course breakfast, included with your stay! We offer an authentic Southwest experience at our famous inn set in an Iconic Santa Fe estate that’s located a short walking distance from downtown Santa Fe’s attractions and dining. Getting away from it all the way Mother Nature intended is a perfect way to spend the day while staying at our #1-rated Santa Fe bed and breakfast!
Updated March 2023