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Adventure Awaits: 21 Outdoorsy Things To Do Near Santa Fe

Santa Fe, nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding landscape offers a diverse array of activities, ranging from hiking and mountain biking to fishing and horseback riding. In fact, there’s no shortage of opportunities to connect with nature and experience the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking to lace up your hiking boots, cast a line into the water, or saddle up for a guided horseback ride, Santa Fe has something for everyone. So why wait? Start planning your adventure today and discover all that this incredible destination has to offer.

The Best Outdoor Activities Near Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination, boasting breathtaking national parks and natural wonders that are mere hours from its city limits. The landscape stretches out in majestic grandeur, as exemplified by the towering rock formations of Bandelier National Monument. Alternatively, venture into the surreal realms of White Sands National Park, where towering dunes of gypsum sand create a unique and unforgettable experience.


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As winter sets in, many outdoor enthusiasts flock to Ski Santa Fe, a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding just a short drive northwest of downtown Santa Fe. This convenient location makes it an ideal spot for those seeking a quick getaway from the city. With its reputation as one of New Mexico’s top ski resorts, Ski Santa Fe is a must-visit for anyone looking to carve through fresh powder or experience the rush of speeding down the slopes on their board.


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Hiking is an excellent way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature’s beauty, regardless of the season or weather. For those seeking a moderately challenging trek, the La Tierra Trails Loop is a must-try. Spanning 10.5 miles, this trail offers a unique blend of desert and forest landscapes.For a quicker out-and-back hike, the Grasshopper Canyon Trail is an excellent option. This easy 3.5-mile trail takes you through picturesque forests, rock formations, and breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a relaxing experience, hiking in Santa Fe is perfect.While it’s possible to hike year-round, autumn is the ideal time to enjoy optimal conditions. The charming city of Santa Fe offers endless trails to explore, making it a hiker’s paradise. With its moderate weather and stunning natural beauty, Santa Fe is an ideal destination for those who love the great outdoors.

Mountain Biking

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Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a paradise for mountain bikers. The city offers an array of trails that cater to all skill levels, allowing you to explore unique landscapes that seamlessly blend desert and forest environments. With the stunning views as your backdrop, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

For those seeking a more challenging ride, head into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and tackle the Crystal Falls Via Rainbow Trail. This 6.5-mile out-and-back route is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in the forest and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly trail with a great workout, try the Atalaya Mountain Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest. This 6-mile out-and-back route offers a steep ascent and plenty of elevation gain, making it an excellent option for those seeking a more intense ride.

Mountain biking is an incredible way to experience the outdoors in Santa Fe and its surrounding areas. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also discover hidden gems that make this region truly special.

Casual Bike Riding

Renting bikes in Santa Fe is an excellent way to experience the city’s great outdoors while exploring its scenic bike paths and picturesque surroundings. For those seeking a more relaxed adventure, daytime cycling offers a fantastic opportunity to discover different areas of Santa Fe, such as Railyard Park, Cochiti Lake, the Santa Fe Trail, or Upper Canyon Road.

We highly recommend renting bicycles to take in the unique charm of the city’s adobe houses and architecture. As you leisurely pedal around town, be sure to stop by Museum Hill to visit its renowned world-class museums. If you’d like to make a full day out of your bike adventure, consider packing a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of Santa Fe’s many scenic spots, such as Hyde Park or Railyard Park.

Horseback Riding

Immersed in the charm of Santa Fe, horseback riding is an unparalleled experience that seamlessly blends the city’s natural beauty and rich history. As you navigate various trails and the picturesque countryside, you’ll discover the authentic essence of this enchanting destination. Whether a novice or seasoned equestrian, Santa Fe caters to all skill levels, providing boundless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to embark on unforgettable adventures.

Walking Tours

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Embarking on a self-guided walking tour through downtown Santa Fe is an excellent way to experience the city’s rich history and culture without venturing far from the urban center. By exploring the historic buildings, admiring the distinctive Pueblo Revival architecture, and discovering world-class art museums, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for what makes Santa Fe such an attractive destination in the United States.


Santa Fe is a haven for bird enthusiasts, boasting a diverse array of avian species due to its unique blend of high elevation and varied landscapes. As you explore the area, keep your eyes peeled for an impressive range of feathered friends, from the House Finch to various Doves, Dark-Eyed Juncos, and many more. Whether you’re on the lookout for majestic locals or fleeting migrants, Santa Fe offers a birdwatcher’s paradise, providing ample opportunities to connect with nature and marvel at the beauty of these incredible creatures.

Rock Climbing

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For thrill-seekers, rock climbing is an ideal outdoor adventure that combines physical exercise with mental analysis as you navigate through challenging terrain to reach new heights. If you’re looking for an indoor climbing experience, the Santa Fe Climbing Center offers a unique opportunity for the whole family to enjoy, featuring a range of obstacles from beginner-friendly routes to more advanced climbs within the same facility. Alternatively, outdoor enthusiasts can opt for the breathtaking Diablo Canyon, renowned for its stunning high desert vistas and excellent rock climbing opportunities.

Whitewater Rafting

For thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts, whitewater rafting near Santa Fe offers the perfect opportunity to get outside and experience the rush of navigating turbulent waters. The city’s proximity to the Rio Grande and Rio Chama rivers makes it an ideal destination for those eager to take on a new challenge. With a plethora of guided tours and trips available, from expert-level excursions that test one’s mettle against intense rapids to more leisurely options designed specifically for beginners, there’s something for everyone. Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a treasure trove of epic rafting excursions just waiting to be discovered.


For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, taking to the water via canoeing is an excellent way to appreciate the stunning Santa Fe surroundings. Another option is to paddle along the Santa Fe River, starting from the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost, which offers a convenient and picturesque spot to launch your kayak or canoe.


Santa Fe offers anglers a plethora of fishing opportunities, with its proximity to numerous streams, rivers, and lakes making it a top destination for those seeking to cast their lines in various spots. The city’s reputation as a haven for fishing enthusiasts is further enhanced by the presence of diverse fish species, including the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Carp, and many others.

Whether you’re interested in targeting the Santa Fe River or venturing into the Santa Fe National Forest to tackle one of its numerous streams and lakes, Santa Fe presents an extraordinary opportunity for anglers to reel in a bounty of fish. With its unique combination of accessible fishing spots and varied fish populations, Santa Fe is sure to delight both novice and experienced fishermen alike.


Santa Fe offers a unique blend of natural beauty and recreational activities, with golfing being one such delight. The sun-kissed landscapes provide an ideal backdrop for a game of golf. For those looking to tee off, Mary Sanchez Links de Santa Fe Golf Course and Cochiti Golf Club are two top-notch options. Both courses offer the perfect combination of challenging holes and picturesque scenery, making them must-visits for any golf enthusiast in the area.

Exploring the Santa Fe Botanical Garden

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is a haven for plant enthusiasts, boasting an impressive array of flowering fruit trees, vibrant blooms, and lush foliage. The unique combination of native and non-native flora thrives in the high desert climate and New Mexico’s renowned sunlight. A visual treat awaits visitors who stroll through the gardens, taking in the stunning scenery. With its distinctive gardens and picturesque grounds, this botanical gem should be top on your list to explore while visiting the city.

Relaxing At A Hot Spring

The Santa Fe area offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life through its numerous hot springs. Two standout destinations are Ten Thousand Waves and Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, where you can indulge in a rejuvenating soak amidst breathtaking surroundings.

To truly unwind, we suggest setting aside ample time to let the mineral-rich waters work their magic. As an added bonus, Montezuma Hot Springs in Northern New Mexico is a must-visit for those seeking an unparalleled hot springs experience.


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Santa Fe offers a wealth of camping opportunities, ranging from gentle hiking trails to more rugged backcountry excursions. Whether you prefer the serenity of pitching a tent in the desert or car camping at one of the many nearby campgrounds, there’s an option to suit every taste.

For those seeking a campground experience, Black Canyon Campground is a top choice, located just 15 minutes outside the city and adjacent to several hiking trails. For those looking to venture further into the wilderness, the Pecos Wilderness offers stunning backcountry camping opportunities.

The Stewart Lake via Winsor Trail, Skyline Trail, and Winsor Ridge Trail is a particularly popular route, featuring a 10.5-mile loop that winds through forested areas and boasts breathtaking views. While considered challenging, this trek provides an unparalleled glimpse into the natural beauty of New Mexico’s backcountry.

Go For A Picnic

Looking for a relaxing outdoor experience that doesn’t require excessive physical exertion? Look no further than a picnic! Santa Fe offers a multitude of serene spots to enjoy a meal amidst breathtaking views. A top recommendation is the Aspen Vista Picnic Site, accessible via Hyde Park Rd. Here, you can unwind and take in the stunning scenery while savoring a casual outdoor repast. If you’re feeling more adventurous after your picnic, the nearby Aspen Vista Trail awaits, offering a picturesque hiking opportunity to further connect with nature.


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Santa Fe’s abundance of streams, rivers, and lakes makes it an idyllic retreat for swimmers. This picturesque setting offers a variety of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. In fact, swimming is an excellent way to spend quality time together, creating lifelong memories. Among the most popular spots to take the plunge is Abiquiu Lake, which not only boasts some of the best fishing in New Mexico but also provides ample opportunities for water enthusiasts to indulge in their favorite hobbies. Whether you’re looking to cast a line or simply enjoy a refreshing dip, Abiquiu Lake has something for everyone.

Santa Fe Margarita Trail

Embark on an adventure that combines your love of margaritas with the great outdoors by exploring the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. This extensive trail winds its way through numerous restaurants and bars, each serving up a diverse selection of classic and innovative margaritas. As you make your way from one establishment to the next, be sure to indulge in the unique flavors and aromas of New Mexican cuisine. The Santa Fe Margarita Trail is an ideal activity for those who appreciate trying local specialties while strolling through this charming city and taking in its many sights and sounds.

Brewery and Winery Hopping

Beyond margaritas, Santa Fe offers a wealth of opportunities to indulge in craft beer and local wines. With options ranging from the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s expertly crafted brews to the Herve Wine Bar’s extensive wine list, there’s something for every palate. The city’s high desert climate ensures that evenings are often perfect for strolling around and sipping on a drink al fresco. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, consider joining a guided tour of Santa Fe’s top drink establishments. This way, you can sit back and let the experts handle the planning, ensuring a fun and worry-free evening.

Visit the Valles Caldera National Preserve

If urban life feels too confining, escape to this stunning national preserve, where Mother Nature awaits with an array of activities to suit every interest. Whether you’re seeking serenity on a leisurely stroll, wildlife watching opportunities, or adrenaline-pumping bike rides and fishing excursions, this New Mexico gem has it all. The region’s natural beauty is yours to discover under the warm sun.

Take A Day Trip To Los Alamos

Located just 40 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, Los Alamos offers an easily accessible day trip experience, steeped in historical significance. The area’s most notable claim to fame is its association with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where groundbreaking research and design led to the development of the atomic bomb. Visitors can delve deeper into this fascinating period by exploring the Manhattan Project National Historical Park or discover more at the Bradbury Science Museum, Bandelier National Monument, Fuller Lodge Art Center, and other unique museums in the area. For those seeking a nearby county with an intriguing history, Los Alamos is an excellent choice.

FAQs About Things To Do Outdoors In Santa Fe

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors in Santa Fe, there’s no shortage of opportunities. From snow-capped peaks to lush gardens and endless trails, this city offers a diverse range of experiences for nature lovers. Some of the top spots for outdoor activities include Ski Santa Fe, which provides world-class skiing and snowboarding, as well as the beautiful Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, where visitors can stroll through stunning floral displays. For those who prefer their adventures on two wheels or four legs, the surrounding Santa Fe National Forest and Sangre De Cristo Mountains offer endless trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.

Plan Some Outdoor Adventures Around Santa Fe

Wrapped around by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is an all-year-round haven for nature lovers. From leisurely hikes to skiing and snowshoeing in winter, or swimming and horseback riding in summer, this city offers a diverse range of outdoor activities that cater to every season’s unique charm. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply want to connect with the natural world, Santa Fe is an ideal destination for anyone who thrives on the great outdoors.