Santa Fe Running Trails

One of the biggest challenges runners face on a regular basis is finding suitable places to run. It can sometimes be difficult to find running spaces where you won’t be distracted or interrupted, and where you can simply focus on your goal, whether that’s a pleasant hour of exercise or an intense training session.

If you find yourself in the Santa Fe region, you’re in luck! There are several scenic yet challenging running trails in Santa Fe where you can put your body through its paces and enjoy incredible views at the same time. 

Santa Fe Running Trails

Today, we’re going to be showing you our 7 favorite running trails in Santa Fe. Before you go on your first run in this stunning area, make sure that you can handle the altitude.

If you’re not used to running in high places (after all, Santa Fe is the highest U.S. capital city in terms of altitude!) it’s best to take it slow at first. If you don’t have a car, familiarize yourself with the bus routes beforehand.

It’s also worth checking out some local attractions while you’re in the area since many of them are relatively close to the running trails we’ll be recommending. 

Old Santa Fe Trail 

Santa Fe Trail 

One of the most iconic running trails in Santa Fe is the Old Santa Fe Trail. You can pick up this trail in downtown Santa Fe and make your way up to Canada de Los Alamos, where the trail becomes a dirt track that’s perfect for running. 

Alternatively, you could start at the San Miguel Mission, which is south of the Plaza, if you’re interested in architecture. 

The trail is mainly uphill when heading away from the downtown area, but the view of the hills is beautiful and will make a rigorous training session more enjoyable. You can run along this trail for nearly 10 miles, so it’s the perfect location for long-distance runners. 

Santa Fe Rail Trail 

A lot of the running trails in Santa Fe are fairly challenging, but if you’re looking for a relaxing trail to run, the Santa Fe Rail Trail could be your best option. 

This trail runs parallel to the Santa Fe Railway and goes on for about 16.5 miles, but only 3.5 miles of those have any paving, so while the trail itself is long, it’s not the best for really extensive long-distance runs. 

With that being said, there are many perks to running the Santa Fe Rail Trail. The section between the South Capitol Train Station and the Rabbit Road trailhead is a convenient place to run because it’s close to public parking and there is easy access to the South Capitol Street Shuttle, so you’ll have no problem getting there and back. 

Atalaya Mountain 

Atalaya Mountain 

The trail up Atalaya Mountain is definitely a challenging trail, so we wouldn’t recommend this route to novice runners or anyone who doesn’t feel they can cope with high altitudes. However, if you’re an experienced runner who is up for a challenge, it’s one to put on your list!

While the trail is only about 3 miles long, it’s incredibly steep, climbing by a total of 2,000 feet in those few miles. 

One of the great things about this trail is the fact that you can get the Route M bus near to the starting point, so even if you don’t have any transport of your own, you can still attempt this trail. 

Just make sure to start off slower than you normally would, and take as much care coming down as you do going up because the steep incline can be dangerous to run down. 

Dale Ball Trails 

There are several running trails to choose from in the foothills of Dale Ball. In fact, there are miles of trails (24 miles, to be exact) in this area, so there’s a path to suit everyone, regardless of your preferences when it comes to running. 

The main trail in this area is called Dale Ball Corral starts on Hyde Park Road. However, there is also a trail above Sierra del Norte, which is visually beautiful and the perfect place to take pictures when you want to take a break from running. If you like to spend time in nature, this is one of the main Dale Ball trails we would recommend. 

If you want to enjoy as much of this area as possible, we recommend starting your run at Hyde Park Road and making your way to La Piedra trailhead before completing the Sierra del Norte trail. This whole route is about 3.5 miles long. 

There is parking at the trailhead, or you can get on the bus in downtown Santa Fe and get off at the ski area, which is close to Hyde Park Road. 

Santa Fe River Trail 

Santa Fe River Trail 

Santa Fe River Trail is a paved trail that runs for 5.6 miles initially, and then for 15 miles. While the path itself is paved, making it safe for runners, the main attraction of this trail is the natural beauty that surrounds it. 

Because this is a long trail, it’s ideal if you prefer to run uninterrupted for long distances. While running, you can enjoy the view of the river as well as the greenery. 

We recommend starting this trail at Frenchy’s Field Park so that you can finish your run near the center of town. This makes it easier for you to get the bus back to your destination if you don’t have a car. 

Canyon Rim Trail 

The Canyon Rim Trail is probably the best Santa Fe trail in Los Alamos. The trail is mostly made up of asphalt, so it’s even and safe to run on. You can run along this trail for roughly 3.7 miles by looping around the Pueblo Canyon. The views here are stunning! 

If you’re a history lover, this area will also be intellectually interesting for you. Los Alamos is a significant geographical destination in the history of World War II.

It’s also worth noting that there are other running and hiking trails in Los Alamos that can be found if you venture to the North of Highway 502. 

Arroyo De Los Chamisos Trail 

Arroyo De Los Chamisos is home to one of the best trails for runners who prefer not to run on dirt roads. 

This running trail is paved, so you won’t have to worry about twisting your ankle on uneven paths. You can move between this trail and the Santa Fe Rail Trail quite easily because they intersect. 

When running along this trail, you’ll come across some urban spaces as well as residential areas, many of which make for lovely scenery. 

You can park your car to the west of the trail, either at Sam’s Club or Genoveva Chavez Center, so if you prefer to travel by car than by bus, this trail is one to consider. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, there are plenty of running trails to choose from in Santa Fe. Because of their varied locations, it’s easy to find a trail that suits you in terms of transport, scenery, and road construction. 

Again, don’t be tempted to push yourself too hard on these trails as the altitude can feel intense. Always carry water with you and be careful, but remember to have fun!

Megan Rinzel
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