Santa Fe Ski Area

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I was nearing the end of my day, looping around New Mexico north of Albuquerque, when I arrived in Santa Fe.  As usual, the city was crowded and difficult to drive around, and since I had seen it all before, I decided to try something different.  I thought I’d drive up to the Ski Santa Fe area, in the mountains above the city, just to see what I could see.

The truth is, it wasn’t worth the drive.  Most of the road is heavily forested, and even though it’s only about 16 miles from the city, it’s a steep climb, around a lot of curves (which you’ll see in the Drivelapse video, down the page).  I only found a couple of overlook spots.

This is the limited view from the Aspen Vista Picnic area.   A bit further…

… and there’s a slightly better view at the side of the road, just before you arrive at the ski area.


Click on the image for a larger version.

The panoramic view is nice, and through the haze you can see Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Sandia Peak, along with some other mountains.  A scratched-up interpretive sign helps you sort out what you’re seeing:


Click on the image for a larger version.

From this viewpoint, I drove on to the ski area.  The road dead-ends here, looping around and sending you back the way you came.

I could have made more of my visit to the Ski Santa Fe area, if I had more time. From the ski parking area, you can hike up to the top of 12,622-foot (3,847-meter) Santa Fe Baldy. The views would, no doubt, be much better from there, but it requires a 14 mile round-trip hike. Shorter hikes, including a 6-mile trek to Deception Peak, will also pay off with great views. As you’re researching your options, search for “Winsor Trail” — it’s the main foot trail out of the parking area.
Expect great colors during autumn in this area. Check with the ski area to find out if it’s running the chair lifts for leaf peepers. A round-trip ticket will cost around $10.
Since I have been to Santa Fe on previous occasions, I did not spend much time in the city during this trip. It is, however, well worth your time to explore — there’s no other city in America quite like it. Read about my visit to Old Town Santa Fe in 2006, and a nighttime visit to Santa Fe in 2008.

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from downtown Santa Fe to the Ski Santa Fe area:

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