A Month in Santa Fe


I love Santa Fe, New Mexico. Honestly, as soon as I arrived it felt like home. Unfortunately I was pretty sick from COVID vaccination for some of my time in Santa Fe, so I didn't get to scout as much as I wanted to. 

New Mexico Sunsets... 

Santa Fe Overall 

  • I was in Santa Fe from late April to late May and I stayed on the East Side (mountain side) of Santa Fe. This meant I was at about 7200 ft (!) and I saw 90F+ temps and snow in the same week... repeatedly. The nights are typically about at freezing this time of year, and by mid day it's 60-70 F (yes!). I also had to be really careful about wind, it could be shockingly windy (20+ mph steady wind) at certain times of day. 
  • Most notably, New Mexico has the most incredible sunsets of anywhere in the country. I don't know why, but I'll fight over this - the colors are incredible and unique every night blazed against a turquoise sky. 
  • Santa Fe is a city - this means you do have to think about traffic and best routing options. However, the city is replete with bike lanes and feels like much more of a town (~ Ann Arbor size). Also, not everything connects (in fact, deliberately so), so be prepared for lots of out-and-backs and "oops", especially if you're a roadie. 
  • There are road, mountain bike, and gravel options in Santa Fe - there just aren't hundreds of options for each type. 

Gravel Options 

Gravel + Single Track West of SF (56 miles) - this has some really enjoyable single track followed by some less-than-great single track. I would take a mountain bike and make it a ~20 mile day. 

Great single track and beautiful views 

Popular Gravel with Some Hike a Bike (84 miles) - I really enjoyed this one! I did mess up the return route a bike (there's a better way home) but if you don't mind some adventure, this one is a great route and has a gas station stop around mile 55 (don't quote me there) for ice cream. 

North of Santa Fe on my way to Colorado (20 miles) - this was a great climb with diverse scenery and a beautiful lake at the top. Highly recommend! 

Worth the pit stop! 

Road Options 

Los Alamos Century  (106 miles) - it's not the best road century you'll ever do, but seriously the Smiths in Los Alamos is an experience that's worth having (ok I am totally biased having lived there, but I did enjoy this ride)  

Ski Hill Climb (~35 miles) - this is a great climb that will put you above 10,000 feet. It's pretty low traffic but a relentless 6-8% grade the whole way. The views are spectacular and the descent is all smiles. 

Somewhat unsurprising that there was snow on top on the ski hill 

Day Ride Options (< 31 miles) - for my week day workouts, I usually did out and backs and would add in more climbs as I had more time. This option had all 4, but the two at the end (Canada climb was one of them) are my favorite. Steep, beautiful, and low traffic. 

A nice way to take a break mid day or early evening 

Longer Day Ride Option 1 (45 miles) - just a great loop, very pleasant 

"Dinosaur Trail" 

Gravel but skip the gravel and do the canyon as a road stand alone (96 miles) - don't make my mistake and haul your gravel bike up this canyon for no apparent reason. This is a really nice road ride (the interstate isn't actually terrible for road riding either) - keep it a road ride. I also BAKED on this ride (95F+ in the Canyon) and there aren't a lot of water options going up (other than the river the road is next to...). Bring a filter. 

Don't be deceived this is a HOT canyon

BEST ROAD RIDE (32 miles) - but really, this is spectacular. Claire took me on this route, and it's incredible. 

... Truth or Consequences Rides 

  OK so not really that close to Santa Fe, but on my way from Bisbee, I spent a week in a trailer in Truth or Consequences. The riding was outstanding!!!! Here are my recommendations: 

Reservoir Ride (34 miles) - this is breathtaking the whole way through. Seriously perfect pavement and incredible views. Watch out for the wind though! 

It looked like this the entire time... 

Pleasant Views (20+ miles) - I didn't get to complete this one, but take east 3rd street all the way to Engle. Again, beautiful, low traffic, and dynamic riding on great pavement. 

Gravel?  (20+ miles) - I recommend this one with caution. It was really interesting but it was a lot of sand, climbing, and climbing in sand. But you insist on doing gravel, have it your way and do this route. 

Looks nicer than it was... 

.. And Gila Cliff Dwellings 

do both of these rides - the road and the gravel. They were fantastic and there is great camping in this area. One of my best nights of sleep on the road. 

road (65 miles) - takes you to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, lots of great climbs and a nice general store 2/3 of the way there for a refill on supplies if you need it. 

Gila Cliff Dwellings! 

gravel (25 miles) - this is a little bit harder than it looks, but it was gorgeous and well worth the adventure(s). 

An awesome gravel ride 

Ending this fantastic segment of my journey with another New Mexico sunset... 

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