Adventure Awaits: 21 Outdoorsy Things to Do Near Santa Fe

Nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a destination that offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration. From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and horseback riding, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts busy. So why wait? Lace up your hiking boots, grab your fishing rod, and get ready to discover all the outdoorsy things to do near Santa Fe.

Family on hiking trip in beautiful mountains close to of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

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The Best Outdoor Activities Near Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico is a nature lover’s paradise, with stunning national parks and natural wonders just a short drive away. From the towering cliffs of Bandelier National Monument to the otherworldly landscapes of White Sands National Park, the region’s natural beauty is truly awe-inspiring.

Skiing

One of the most popular outdoor activities to try during the winter season is to head to Ski Santa Fe for a memorable day of skiing and snowboarding.

The amazing view from the summit of Santa Fe Mountain , a Frosty snow covered trees on top of Ski Santa Fe Mountains of New Mexico land of enchantment
Photo credit: Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.

Ski Santa Fe is located just a short drive northwest of downtown Santa Fe, making it a quick day trip for those looking to spend some time in the snow.

Ski Santa Fe is one of the best ski resorts in the state of New Mexico so be sure to pack your favorite gear and head to the mountains for an unforgettable day of skiing or snowboarding.

Hiking

Hiking is another awesome activity to participate in for those looking to spend some time outdoors and its one of the multi-season outdoor activities that you can embark on regardless of the weather or time of year!

For those looking for a moderately challenging trek, you must check out the La Tierra Trails Loop. The La Tierra Trails hike is 10.5 miles in length and an excellent option for those looking to explore both desert and forested areas.

End point of hiking trail in Grasshopper Canyon near Santa Fe, New Mexico
Photo credit : Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.

If you are searching for a quick out-and-back hike, the Grasshopper Canyon Trail is an excellent option. This hike is roughly 3.5 miles long and is considered to be an easy trek. This trail will take you through some breathtaking scenery of the surrounding forested area as well as through various rock formations.

Hiking is the perfect activity for outdoor enthusiasts looking to appreciate the New Mexico landscape surrounding Santa Fe. Although it’s the perfect activity to do year-round, we recommend hiking in Santa Fe during the autumn months for the best weather and most optimal conditions.

Santa Fe has endless hiking trails to pick from and moderate weather year-round, making the charming city a hiker’s paradise.

Mountain Biking

If you love mountain biking, Santa Fe is the place to visit. The city offers fabulous mountain biking opportunities for everyone. You can explore various trails that take you through unique landscapes, from deserts to forests, all while taking in the stunning views.

For those looking to head into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, be sure to check out the Crystal Falls Via Rainbow Trail. This out-and-back trail is nearly 6.5 miles long and great for those looking to spend some time in the forest and gain spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Santa Fe, New Mexico / USA - September 30 2020: Man mountain biking on Atalaya Mountain Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico surrounded by yellow brittlebush plants in the high desert
Photo credit : Raisa Nastukova / Shutterstock.

If you are interested in exploring the Santa Fe National Forest, make sure to try out the Atalaya Mountain Trail. This dog-friendly trail is about 6 miles out and back and a great option for those looking for a challenging route with plenty of elevation gain and a steep ascent.

Mountain biking is one of the best outdoor adventures to embark on when exploring Santa Fe and the surrounding areas. It is an excellent opportunity to spend some time outside and a great way to discover some hidden gems.

Casual Bike Riding

If mountain biking sounds too intense, Santa Fe offers countless options to rent bikes within the city. This is a great way to spend some time outdoors exploring the city bike paths and taking in the gorgeous grounds surrounding Santa Fe.

Daytime cycling is an awesome excursion for those looking to explore different areas of Santa Fe like the Railyard Park, Cochiti Lake, the Santa Fe Trail, or Upper Canyon Road.

Bike and cycling path in Santa Fe, New Mexico with wash arroyo beside trail
Photo credit:Tara Kenny?shutterstock.

We recommend renting bicycles to venture around the city while taking in the sight of the adobe houses. As you continue your casual bike adventure, be sure to head to Museum Hill and stop by countless world-class museums along the way.

If you would like to make a whole day out of biking, be sure to stop for a leisurely lunch at one of the picnic tables around town in areas such as Hyde Park or Railyard Park.

Horseback Riding

Going horseback riding in Santa Fe is truly special. You can experience the city’s beauty and history while riding on a horse through various trails and the surrounding countryside.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 2012: Cowboy on a horse walk in the grass with a dog toward a vintage rural church in Santa Fe, NM, 2012.
Photo credit: Phyllis Peterson/ Shutterstock.

No matter if you are a beginner or an expert at horseback riding, Santa Fe has options for everyone looking to go on incredible outdoor adventures.

Walking Tours

For those looking to spend sometime outdoors but would rather stick to exploring downtown Santa Fe, a walking tour is the perfect adventure for you!

Vertical photo of traditional New Mexico adobe architecture
Photo credit: David Kay/ Shutterstock.

A guided tour of Santa Fe allows you to learn more about the historic buildings, iconic pueblo revival architecture, world-class art museums, and other unique characteristics that make Santa Fe such a popular destination to visit in the United States.

Birdwatching

Santa Fe is a fantastic destination for birdwatchers. Due to the city’s high elevation and various landscapes, countless birds soar around the Santa Fe area.

Some specific birds that you may see throughout Santa Fe include the House Finch, various Doves, the Dark-Eyed Junco, amongst many other species.

Two photographers with telephoto lens photograph Sandhill cranes and snow geese at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, near San Antonio and Socorro, New Mexico
Photo credit: Joseph Sohm/ Shutterstock.

Whether you would like to see large birds that are local to the area or you would like to see smaller birds that are just migrating through, Santa Fe is an awesome destination for those looking to get outside and take in some wildlife.

Rock Climbing

Another fantastic outdoor adventure to embark on is rock climbing. This is the perfect activity for those looking to try a hobby that is both great exercise and it also requires some analytical thinking as you maneuver around a rocky surface trying to ascend to the top.

Rock climbers rest on a distant rock wall in Diablo Canyon, between Los Alamos and Santa Fe New Mexico, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.
Photo credit: Raisa Nastukova / Shutterstock.

For those looking to rock climb indoors, be sure to check out the Santa Fe Climbing Center for a fun experience. Indoor climbing is great for the whole family because it allows you to pick between beginner obstacles to more advanced options all within the same building.

If you are looking to stick to climbing in the great outdoors, you must check out Diablo Canyon. The Diablo Canyon is known for being a great location for rock climbing and the views of the high desert landscape are truly spectacular.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting near Santa Fe is an exciting outdoor adventure for those looking to get outside and try something new and thrilling.

Due to Santa Fe’s close proximity to the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, the city is a great place to visit for those looking to go rafting.

Rafting trip on the Rio Grande during high water. Near Pilar, NM
Photo credit:Mike Schrengohst / Shutterstock.

There are countless tours and trips to pick from, ranging from expert options for those looking to experience some truly intense rapids or more laidback options for beginners looking to try something new.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a marvelous place to visit for those looking to enjoy an epic rafting excursion.

Canoeing

If hitting the rapids sounds too extreme, another way to get out on the water and enjoy the surrounding Santa Fe scenery is by going on a canoeing adventure.

rio grande river  on a sunny winter day, near santa fe,  new mexico
Photo credit: Nina B / Shutterstock.

Canoeing is a great leisurely activity for those looking to get outside on the water.

The Santa Fe Canoe Outpost is a fantastic area to put your kayak or canoe in the water so that you can easily float down the Santa Fe River.

Fishing

Santa Fe is a great city to visit for those looking to go fishing. The city is known for being near countless streams, rivers, and lakes, making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore many different fishing spots.

Some popular fish you can catch near Santa Fe include the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Carp, and many other species.

Waterfall in mountains of Santa Fe National Park in Panama
Photo credit: CristianC24 / Shutterstock.

Whether you would like to fish on the Santa Fe River or you would like to head into the Santa Fe National Forest to fish on one of the many streams and lakes within the area, Santa Fe is an extraordinary destination for those looking to reel in some fish.

Golfing

Another fabulous outdoor activity to do around Santa Fe is to hit the links. Golfing is an awesome way to spend time in the New Mexico sun.

Santa Fe, New Mexico / USA - November 22, 2018 Snow on the desert golf course near Santa Fe in the fall at Buffalo Thunder
Photo credit : Steve Boice / Shutterstock.

For two of the best golf courses in the area, make sure to check out Mary Sanchez Links de Santa Fe Golf Course or Cochiti Golf Club. Both of these courses are excellent options for those looking to spend some time playing 9 or 18 holes in the Santa Fe area.

Exploring the Santa Fe Botanical Garden

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a beautiful spot for those looking to appreciate flowering fruit trees, beautiful flowers, and lush green plants. Native and non-native plant life flourish in the New Mexico sunlight and high desert climate.

Painted Lady butterfly at Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, New Mexico
Photo credit : Images by Dr. Alan Lipkin / Shutterstock.

Whether you would like to visit the gardens to gaze at the beauty or you would like to attend one of their educational events, this botanical garden needs to be on your must-see list while visiting the city due to its distinct gardens and gorgeous grounds.

Relaxing At A Hot Spring

Another incredible outdoorsy option to participate in around the Santa Fe area is to relax at one of the many hot springs in the area.

We recommend heading to either Ten Thousand Waves or Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa for a truly memorable experience.

The entrance to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs in New Mexico is marked by a sandstone fountain.  The resort stands between rugged hills and the river for which is is named.
Photo credit: PhotoTrippingAmerica / Shutterstock.

Additionally, we recommend devoting ample time so that you can truly unwind and rejuvenate while soaking in the mineral-rich waters.

For those looking for the best hot springs in Northern New Mexico, be sure to check out Montezuma Hot Springs for an unforgettable and relaxing experience.

Camping

Camping is another excellent activity to do in Santa Fe. Whether you would like to take one of the numerous gentle hiking trails and pitch your favorite desert camping tent out in the New Mexico wilderness or you would rather camp at one of the popular campgrounds surrounding Santa Fe, there are countless options to chose from.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States - May 9, 2023: A campsite in the high desert in Santa Fe, NM.
Photo credit: jdwfoto / Shutterstock.

For those looking to stay in a campground, be sure to check out Black Canyon Campground which is only 15 minutes outside of the city and near several different hiking trails.

If you are looking to go backcountry camping or backpacking, we recommend checking out the Pecos Wilderness. Specifically, we recommend going on the Stewart Lake via Winsor Trail, Skyline Trail, and Winsor Ridge Trail.

This trail is roughly a 10.5 mile loop surrounded by forested areas and beautiful views. This trek is considered to be hard but it’s an excellent option for those looking to go camping near Santa Fe and enjoy the backcountry landscape of New Mexico.

Go For A Picnic

For those that would like to spend some time outside but would rather relax and enjoy the scenic views rather than embarking on a strenuous journey, going for a picnic is the perfect activity for you!

Sunrise Panorama of Sangre De Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe - New Mexico Land of Enchantment
Photo credit: Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock.

Santa Fe is full of great places to picnic including countless parks and trails. We recommend heading to Hyde Park Rd. and stopping by the Aspen Vista Picnic Site for a fabulous place to take in the views and enjoy a small meal outside.

For those looking to go on a hike afterward, check out the Aspen Vista Trail for a gorgeous hike in the area.

Swimming

Santa Fe is full of streams, rivers, and lakes, making it the ideal destination for those looking to go for a swim.

Additionally, for those searching for kid-friendly options to get outdoors, swimming is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Abiquiu Lake, New Mexico, as seen from Chimney Rock area at Ghost Ranch
Photo credit: Weldon Schloneger / Shutterstock.

For one of the best places to swim, make sure to head to Abiquiu Lake. Not only is this a great place to swim but also has some of the best fishing in the state of New Mexico, making it a great lake to visit for those looking to enjoy different water hobbies.

Santa Fe Margarita Trail

If you love margaritas and wish to spend some time outdoors, make sure to hit the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. This trail consists of countless restaurants and bars that serve up the best margaritas in the area.

As you venture from one establishment to the next, you are able to try both classic and unique margaritas as well as different New Mexican cuisine along the way.

Beautifully decorated outdoor dining area of The Plaza Cafe restaurant in Old Town. Scenic exterior view - Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA - 2021
Photo credit: Michael Vi/ Shutterstock.

Hitting the Santa Fe Margarita Trail is the perfect activity for those interested in trying the local cuisine and beverages while walking around Santa Fe and taking in the various sites.

Brewery and Winery Hopping

If margaritas are not your thing, make sure to head to some of the many breweries and wineries around town.

Whether you want to sip craft beer at the Santa Fe Brewing Company or you would rather drink some wine at the Herve Wine Bar, there are countless craft beer and local wine establishments to visit around Santa Fe.

Assorted Beers in a Flight Ready for Tasting
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.

Due to Santa Fe’s high desert climate, the weather tends to be perfect in the evenings for strolling around and enjoying delicious drinks outside.

For those looking to enjoy beer and wine without having to research where to go next or having to worry about driving, consider going on a guided tour of some of the best drink establishments in the area.

Visit the Valles Caldera National Preserve

For those looking to escape the city for a bit, this national preserve is an excellent place to visit for those looking to get outside and have an abundance of activities to enjoy within the area.

Jemez River, Valles Caldera National Preserve
Photo credit: sumikophoto / Shutterstock.

Whether you are looking to stroll around and take in the views, watch for wildlife, go on a bike ride, or reel in some fish, visiting this national preserve is a fabulous way to spend some time in the New Mexico sun enjoying all that the area has to offer.

Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico
Photo credit: Zack Frank / Shutterstock.

Take A Day Trip To Los Alamos

Los Alamos is roughly 40 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, making it a quick day trip for anyone looking to explore a nearby county with a rich history.

Ladder to Pueblo in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA.
Photo credit: T.Schofield/Shuterstock.

Many people know of this area because of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where top-secret research and design was implemented for making the atomic bomb.

Not only can you visit the Manhattan Project National Historical Park to learn more about the creation of the atomic bomb but you can also visit the Bradbury Science Museum, Bandelier National Monument, Fuller Lodge Art Center, and many other unique museums and attractions in the area.

Los Alamos is a great place to visit for those looking to explore a nearby county and learn some intriguing history about the state of New Mexico.

FAQs About Things To Do Outdoors In Santa Fe

What are the best places for outdoor activities in Santa Fe?

The best places for outdoor activities in Santa Fe are Ski Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, Santa Fe National Forest, and the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.

Which experiences are best for outdoor activities in Santa Fe?

The best experiences for outdoor activities in Santa Fe include hiking, horseback riding, skiing, and mountain biking.

Plan Some Outdoor Adventures Around Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a breathtaking city full of outdoorsy things to do. There are countless activities to embark on regardless of the season, making it an ideal destination to visit year-round for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Abby and Sam Price

Abby and Sam Price are the founders and storytellers behind Trekking Price’s, a couples’ travel and outdoor adventure blog. They are passionate about sharing their adventures, hobbies, and travels with others as well as their tips and recommendations. 

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

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