Fall in Santa Fe, New Mexico – Top things to do

It’s fall and the leaves are turning. Santa Fe, home to art and artists, is becoming a canvas of yellows and oranges. The weather is mild and it’s an ideal time to visit. We suggest some great things to do during fall in Santa Fe.

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Trail in Fall

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Trail in Fall

Santa Fe is a town, the state capitol in fact, but it is not far from the beauty of the mountains and parks. You can drive 15 miles from downtown Santa Fe to hike near Santa Fe Ski Basin or Hyde Memorial State Park, at a lower elevation.

The Dale Ball Trail system includes 22 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that connect to other well-known Santa Fe trails and extend across land owned by the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, the National Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy.

Fall is a great time to hike, see the golden aspen trees and enjoy the mild temperatures before the snows come to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. More on Hiking Santa Fe

Artists’ Studio Tours
You can stay right in Santa Fe and experience the fall Studio Tour. Or head for the countryside and travel scenic back roads to find studios in Abiquiu, Pojoaque, or in Dixon. During the spring and fall, studio tours pop up all over the northern New Mexico countryside. If you are around in October, look for the one-day Canyon Road Paint Out, a gathering of 100 artists all painting along Santa Fe’s historic Canyon Road.

Canyon Road Paint Out Event

Canyon Road Paint Out Event

Savoring Chile and Culinary Festivals
You’ll enjoy seeing and smelling the roasting chile on street corners and in supermarket parking lots. Colorful chile ristra vendors also appear and dot the Santa Fe streets with their bright red hanging chiles and chile wreaths.

The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market also has a great selection of seasonal produce and gifts, all from New Mexico.

New in 2011, is the Harvest Festival. Santa Fe’s exceptional chefs and cuisine will be the centerpiece of the premier Santa Fe Harvest Festival, November 1st-23rd, a culinary extravaganza to benefit Cooking with Kids. Along with substantial discounts at participating restaurants, the Santa Fe Harvest Festival will feature cooking classes, a chef competition for professional and amateur chefs, a mixology challenge, a food & wine tasting expo, a gala dinner and more. It is hoped this will become an annual event.

And, of course, you can enjoy fine local chile in Santa Fe’s restaurants.

Fall Leaves in Santa Fe

Fall Leaves in Santa Fe

Leaf Peeping
Just 15 miles from the Center of Santa Fe you can enjoy an amazing sight. In season, the golden aspens will show in patches in the mountains looming over Santa Fe. A favorite place to view the Aspens is, of course, Aspen Vista. The Aspen Vista Picnic Ground is also a trailhead. But what is fantastic in this location is the wide vistas of the hills dotted with golden stands of Aspen. You can picnic or take a hike, or just hop out of your car and snap a few photos. This area is definitely a destination for the Santa Fe leaf peeper! More on fall color in Santa Fe.

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose


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