Santa Fe National Forest is home to several spectacular peaks, four beautiful wilderness areas, and hundreds of miles of scenic byways with quite a bit of history. One of the park's most breathtaking locations features the 15-mile wide crater of a dormant volcano located in the Valles Caldera National Preserve on the forest's southside. Hikers will enjoy over 1,000 miles of trails that blaze through lush meadows, mountainous terrain, and fields of aspens. Some of the other activities visitors can experience are mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and rock climbing. There are also 23 campgrounds to choose from and two ski areas to explore at Santa Fe Ski Basin and Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.
Enjoy the beauty and shade of towering pine trees on the Jemez Falls Trail as you make your way through the forest to a beautiful waterfall. This short and sweet hike is located on a dirt trail with some rocky yet easy-to-traverse areas. At the end of the path, you can view the waterfall from a nearby overlook or take a refreshing dip in the shallow pond above the falls.
Length: 0.7 miles
The Grasshopper Canyon Trail is a great out and back trail that's perfect for wildlife viewing. This trail runs adjacent to a dry creek, making it easier to follow, and there are several small pools along the way to cool off in if you're hiking during the heat of the day. The trailhead is located in a small parking area off of I-25.
Length: 3.1 miles
For a nicely shaded trek with two paths to choose from, head to the Chamisa Trail. The "Alternate Trail" to the left of the trailhead offers a more challenging hike with a moderate elevation change that seems steeper on the way down. If you opt for the main Chamisa Trail, you'll experience more scenic views and fewer ups and downs along the path for a less strenuous experience. Traverse this loop trail counter-clockwise to get the most out of this hike.
Length: 4.5 miles
The Holy Ghost Creek Trail features numerous switchbacks and several steep inclines and declines that'll keep you on your toes. While you're trekking it up and down this trail, you'll cross multiple streams and wander through majestic alpine meadows, in addition to catching a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall two miles in. The trailhead to the Holy Ghost Creek Trail is located at the end of Holy Ghost Campground, which is subject to seasonal road closures that add three miles to your hike to reach the trailhead.
Length: 7.0 miles
On the Nambe Lake Trail, you'll enjoy a challenging out and back hike through the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This trail starts at Santa Fe Ski Basin and features gorgeous views of the lake, Mt. Baldy and Aspen Peak. During the beginning of your trek, expect a long, downhill hike followed by a sharp elevation gain once you reach Nambe Lake. From here, you'll face a steep climb until you get to the end of the trail. The trail can be hard to follow at times, so bring a map or download one before heading out.
Length: 6.5 miles
The Santa Fe National Forest is packed with plenty to see and do as you spend your days exploring the forest on geocaching adventures, fishing on any one of its 620 miles of lakes and streams, and spotting some of the indigenous wildlife such as turkeys, bighorn sheep, elk, and even black bears.
There is very little light pollution in the forest. On the south end of the park, the Valles Caldera National Preserve is the place to be for a night of stellar stargazing.
Address: 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508
Fee: Day-use fee $5
The Santa Fe National Forest is an amazing place to connect with nature and spend some time exploring the natural beauty of the Southwest. Opportunities for adventure and relaxation abound throughout the wilderness as you create unforgettable memories on hiking, backpacking, and fishing excursions in the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Getaways to Santa Fe National Forest are perfect for any season, but no matter when you choose to visit, an RV is a fantastic way to experience the "Land of Enchantment" in comfort and style.