If you believe that Santa Fe is a desert and is about 100 degrees then, like me, you missed that day of geography class that tells you otherwise. No, no, dear friends. Santa Fe is in fact, not a desert. Nor is it 100 degrees. Nor is it overrun by tarantulas and scorpions. There is, in fact, a desert in New Mexico (which is where Santa Fe is located,) and there are scorpions there. Yet, 1+1 does not equal 2 in this case.
Here IS the skinny on Santa Fe and all of the fun things it has to offer to keep you outdoors:
Pit Stop in Albuquerque:
It is likely if you are flying in that you may have a chance to pass through Albuquerque. If so, fly in early to skip through the Historic Old Town, pass through the Botanical Gardens, and visit the Petroglyph National Monument. Sandia Peak Tramway is also a great option and you can hike/tram, tram/tram, or hike/hike depending on your fitness level and time schedule. If you go at the right time it is said that ABQ is also known for its hot air balloons. I am sure there are other fun things but let’s not digress too much.
Grab a Ride:
A car is definitely needed for all of the fun to be had. So, scoop one up and head towards Santa Fe. It is said that due to the elevation change so quickly a cute little compact is just not the move. It is really not hard to spend your time in Santa Fe enjoying the gorgeous scenes and weather. Again, check the weather forecast so you pack accordingly and grab a raincoat because (once again,) not in the desert so you may get rained on.
Places to Check Out in Santa Fe:
Whether or not you are into churches, St. Francis Assisi is an incredible stop to ground yourself. It even has a beautiful labyrinth that you can walk to find your zen.
From there, Canyon Road has lots of nooks and crannies to enjoy. Beware that a lot of things close at an unreasonably early time so check and double-check.
Sneak a peek at the Georgia O’Keefe museum and if you are particularly obsessed you can go tour her country house outside the city.
Take the time to get in touch with your Native American side and embrace the culture. You must, must do the Puye Cliff Dwellings. As a National Landmark, you can see firsthand how the native people lived, explore the dwellings, AND climb down the side of the mountain. Located nearby are the Bandelier Monument and Santa Fe National Park. Make a day out of it and hike all around!
Santa Fe is full of magic.
Don’t Forget Taos:
Although a little bit of a hike (pun, intended) from Santa Fe, one must make time for things that matter. Taos has a ton to offer including the tallest point in New Mexico. At the top of Wheeler Peak, you’ll find snow caps and incredible views.
They have lots of great hiking options if you don’t come completely prepared for a more intense hike, or if your hiking friends bring regular shoes and not hiking shoes. In that case, pivot to a more manageable trail where you can enjoy the incredible forests and lakes (and lots of chipmunks).
If you are lucky enough to be there during Oktoberfest, well then… cheers!
On your way back to Santa Fe, make sure to pass by Taos Pueblo. Taos Pueblo is uber special because it is the only living Native American community designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Sight AND National Historic Landmark. So much history! Again, strict hours, so plan accordingly.
With the plethora of hiking and history in and around Santa Fe, it truly is a well-hidden gem. Into horses? They are too. Prefer rafting? Look no further. Making it a winter trip? Brrr, but Santa Fe has the slopes. Plus, once you get done with all of the outdoor fun you can enjoy delicious food with green chiles and margaritas.
Santa Fe is a great way to play outside with your friends, so grab one, or two, and get to traveling!
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