Fall is here gang, in all its glorious colors and cozy socks sales. Our outdoors are pretty darn enchanting this time of year, wouldn’t you agree? So grab your vests and stock up on the trail mix, here are some sweet spots for a scenic fall hike!
1. Wheeler Peak
At 13,161 feet above sea level, Wheeler Peak is the highest mountain in New Mexico. Whether backpacking or day hiking, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy sweeping views of the Sangre De Cristos and say hi to the abundant bighorn sheep. There are two main routes to the summit, the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail, and the Williams Lake Trail. The Bull-of-the-Woods trail (also called the Wheeler Peak Trail) is 16 miles round trip and is a well-marked class 1 trail, The Williams Lake trail to the summit is approximately seven miles round trip and is a steep class 2 trail, with the final 1000 ft being a rocky scree slope.
2. Chaco Canyon
Did you know there are four backcountry hiking trails in Chaco Culture National Historical Park? These trails range from three miles round trip (Wijiji) to eight miles round trip (Peñasco Blanco). Whichever trail you choose to take, it will provide you with a rare opportunity to experience the sweeping vistas of the mesa landscape and see the impressive Chacoan Great Houses and roads, as well as help you to understand the scope and extent of the Chacoan world.
3. Dale Ball Trails
Mountain bikers, this one’s for you. Work your way through the pines and cedar along the foothills on the eastern flank of Santa Fe, from the Hyde Park Road area on the north side to the Atalaya hiking area on the south. The Dale Ball Trails are extensive, with more than 20 miles of single-track hiking and biking paths that connect to other Santa Fe trails. Explore the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, or tackle the steep but popular 4-mile hike to the summit of Picacho Peak for views of downtown and the desert.
4. La Luz Trail
La Luz is the most well-known trail in Albuquerque. The 16-mile out-and-back trail provides stunning views of the Sandia Mountains and the river valley as well as a clear view of the city of Albuquerque. The trail can be slightly technical across the rock slide sections, but are well marked and easily navigated. Hikers can also shorten this trail to 8 miles and take the Sandia Tramway down, or they can hike the trail from the top down.
5. Aspen Vista
And finally, the GOAT of Santa Fe hiking trails. Once every year, our mountainsides turn to gold, and nowhere does the foliage appear more vividly than the Santa Fe National Forest. Iconic for their white bark and bright yellow leaves in the fall, the Aspens turn your everyday forest hikes into golden wonderlands. We recommend starting at the Aspen Vista Trail and hiking as far along the 12-mile path as you like.
Happy trails, gang! Enjoy your next outdoor adventure!