2014, Santa Fe OutdoorsMarch 28, 2014: For all of its history and culture, art and cuisine, luxury and extensive shopping, at its heart Santa Fe is a town for outdoor exploration, recreation and escape. The city is the gateway to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost range of the Rocky Mountains. From Santa Fe’s perch at 7,000 feet the Rockies open up at the city limits into the Santa Fe National Forest (1.6 million acres), on into the Pecos Wilderness area (250,000 acres) and farther north connecting with the Carson National Forest (1.5 million acres).
The Rockies and the endless hiking, biking and skiing they offer are just the beginning of the public lands that surround Santa Fe and only part of what makes the city so popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Rio Grande offers kayaking and white water rafting along with abundant fishing. The Jemez Mountains to the west of the city provide rock climbing, hiking and cycling plus huge tracts of ancient Native American lands to discover. In addition, Santa Fe is surrounded by abundant open space that provides uncluttered, panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Starting from one of Santa Fe’s hillside neighborhoods, the Dale Ball Trail System is a 31-mile series of well-marked loop trails perfect for creating an ideal length mountain bike ride or walk. The La Tierra Trails are set on 1,500 acres inside the city proper, offering a multi-use trail system catering to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding plus a free-ride and jump area. Beginning in the Santa Fe Railyard and stretching far into the county is an interconnected system of paved and dirt walking, running and biking trails that link many parts of the city and surrounding countryside.
Santa Fe has been honored with a long list of accolades for the quality of its environment and continues to attract travelers looking for uncrowded places to explore and enjoy. Recent highlights include:
March, 2014 – Outside Magazine honored the city as the Best Trail Running city in the U.S. in the magazine’s 2014 Travel Awards. Santa Fe was ranked second in the world after the Italian Dolomite area.
January 2014 – The League of American Bicyclists awarded Santa Fe a Silver Level designation for the city’s hard work creating more safe and convenient places to ride, supporting a growing local bike culture and planning for safe bicycling as a viable transportation option.
2013 – Singletracks.com included Santa Fe in its Top 10 Mountain Biking Destinations in North America
2013 – Santa Fe was again found to have some of the cleanest air in America by the American Lung Association. The city has been in the top 3 places for clean air in the country for 4 consecutive years.
2013 – USA Today rated Santa Fe One of America’s Top Mountain Biking Towns.
2013 – The Santa Fe area was included as one of Trekaroo’s Top Treks of the Year.
2013 – Men’s Fitness magazine named Santa Fe One of 8 Best Running Cities in the U.S.
Not to mention Santa Fe being ranked as one of America’s Best Beer Cities, Best Coffee Cities, Best Cities for Hipsters, Top Pet-Friendly Cities, Best Shopping Towns, Best Romantic Getaways in North America and Top Ten Foodie Cities.
Even the most active lifestyle needs recharging and when the sun is setting and a day in Northern New Mexico’s great outdoors is done, all of Santa Fe’s many hotels, shops, restaurants, spas and attractions keep the adventure going. Given the city’s easy going pace, outstanding amenities and Old World ambiance, Santa Fe is one base camp worth revisiting time after time.
Outdoor events coming up:
April 20: Last scheduled day of skiing at Ski Santa Fe. Will reopen on November 27.
May 16-18: Outside Bike & Brew Festival – A celebration of craft-beer and two wheels with guided rides, the Tour de Brewer 3 local breweries ride, a bike-in movie, music, food and much more. www.OutsideSantaFe.com
May 18: Santa Fe Century and Gran Fondo – Now in its 29th year, the Santa Fe Century takes riders through hundreds of years of history and stunning landscapes in one of the Southwest’s most popular rides. www.santafecentury.com
September 7: Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek – A multi-state ride that begins in Santa Fe and retraces the 19th Century Santa Fe Trail all the way to Franklin, MO. www.SantaFeBicycleTrek.com
September 14: Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon – The Santa Fe Thunder half-marathon honors the Native American running culture with a 13 mile run on a beautifully laid out USATF-certified course. www.santafethunder.com
October 4: Santa Fe Gourmet Classic – For the cyclist/foodie, this leisurely 65-mile ride has as much to do with the many epicurean snack stops, bountiful lunch and post-ride fete as it does the lovely route and autumn scenery. www.santafegourmetclassic.com