The ultimate destination for chile and mountain bike trails

Of all the trails in the Sante Fe National Forest, Alamos Vista is one of our favorites to both hike and bike with its epic views and tight singletrack weaving through an endless aspen forest.




A lot of people associate New Mexico with a desert landscape unworthy of further notice, and if you’ve driven across it on the I-40, we get it. As it turns out, Santa Fe is at the base of the lowest point in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range that stretches from Colorado through northern New Mexico as a part of the famous Rocky Mountains. Santa Fe’s little slice contains a wonderful batch of alpine trails easily accessible via Highway 475 or Hyde Park Road, leading up to Ski Santa Fe. Interconnected trail systems blossom out of the road from all sides, starting with Dale Ball near the bottom all the way up to Winsor Trail at the very top. There is a bus with limited seating that will take you to the ski basin where you can either bomb straight down on Winsor Trail or Rio en Medio, or climb up Aspen Vista to ride Alamos Vista or to Deception Peak and Raven’s Ridge. All of this is fantastic, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of ridable trails on this road, so you’ll have to go explore for yourself.


La Tierra’s endless XC trails are great, but it’s always a good time sessioning jumps with friends in the evening.



We mentioned how New Mexico isn’t all desert; well, in fact, the high desert actually sits at around 7,000 feet above sea level. There’s something about a desertscape that can capture the imagination and leave us feeling awestruck by nature’s beauty. On one side of Santa Fe, before you get to Glorieta, there’s Galisteo Basin Preserve, which offers miles of XC trails that lead riders over endless rolling hills and mesas. On the other side, you have La Tierra, which is one of the more beginner-friendly systems in the area with its endless flowy singletrack winding between juniper trees and in and out of arroyos. La Tierra is also home to the local dirt jumps with something for all skill levels located at the Frijoles Trailhead. Santa Fe’s local IMBA chapter, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, has spent years developing all of the excellent trail systems around Santa Fe with the state. They’re meticulously maintained, but still bring surprises around every turn.


Chips and Salsa is Glorieta’s crowning flow trail riddled with unique features that entertain riders of all skill levels.


Glorieta may not strictly be in Santa Fe, but if you’re there for mountain biking, it should definitely be on your to-ride list, as it’s only about 25 minutes away. They have an excessive amount of trails of all styles, from extreme tech to mind-bending flow. One caveat to this place is you must earn your descent or, in other words, pedal to the top. At this point, there are no shuttles to the top, except on special occasions set by the camp director. That said, it’s well worth the climb for trails like Chili Dog, Chips and Salsa, Jagged Axe, and Holy Molé. There is also a green-belt loop for newer riders, and some more wild and raw outer loops coming off Thomson Peak that will take longer to reach for trails like Broken Arrow, 30 Acre and more. It’s all ebike-friendly and on all the map apps, with more info available at www.glorieta.org/trails.


The Broken Spoke wins the best sign award, but has also won the Best in Santa Fe award multiple times for their excellent service and friendly faces.



There are seven fully functional bike shops located in Santa Fe, so it’s not hard to find good service whenever you need it. There are three we’d mention you visit above the others, however: The Broken Spoke, Bike N Sport (www.nmbikensport.com) and Mellow Velo (www.mellowvelo.com). Our very own JJ Squires, one of our editors and wrecking crew riders, was hired out of The Broken Spoke, which he continuously speaks highly of, but don’t let that bias influence your decision. Each bike shop offers a particular service that the others may not offer, so each one is an excellent option. If you ever have questions about trail conditions or where to ride, they’re all very helpful. Specifically, if you’re interested in backpacking, The Broken Spoke and Sincere Cycles are both excellent sources of information. If you’re not sure where to ride, get in contact with Justin at Santa Fe Mountain Bike Tours, and he and his team will lead you on some epic trails (and tell them JJ sent you).




The Cathedral Basilica located just off the plaza in downtown Santa Fe is one of the most photographed buildings in the city and still holds weekly Mass.



Up until now, we’ve only talked about the riding and food in the area, and believe us, we could go on, but let’s mention some other notable stops in Santa Fe. Back in the 1800s, the Santa Fe Trail was a popular cross-country trade route connecting Missouri to Santa Fe. Museum Hill is home to a monument representing the journey’s end for the travelers on the Santa Fe Trail, but also hosts a number of other cultural museums and centers. The Santa Fe Plaza and surrounding downtown area is a cultural and historical hotspot, including the Loretto Chapel, numerous art exhibits and galleries, and a number of museums. Native American and Spanish jewelry, clothing, and furniture are sold in this area, too. On summer nights you can expect to see bandstands and food vendors lining the rim of the Plaza itself as you drive through or walk the brick streets.


For beer, it’s a similar situation as with the food. Santa Fe Brewing Co. is a staple in the area and has a few beer houses in town, as well as their brewery just outside of town on the 14. Second Street Brewing Co. is also a favorite for their brews, as well as the excellent food they serve. There are two locations that each serve a different style of food, all of which are excellent. There are also cider houses and microbreweries just about everywhere, so take your pick. Coffee is also a big draw in Santa Fe, with places like Iconik Coffee Roasters, Ohori’s Coffee Roasters and Counter Culture standing out among the best of them.

How many other places do you know where you can jump over your friend? Chips and Salsa is one of a kind.


You might be surprised to find out that Santa Fe has some excellent and unique food options. After a ride on Winsor, we always take some time at Tesuque Village Market to grab a drink and maybe some TVM nachos before heading back into town. When looking for breakfast, Blake’s Lotaburger’s breakfast burritos are hard to beat, and The Pantry’s Pinon pancakes with blueberry syrup are to die for. A couple of our other favorite places are Tortilla Flats for their quesadillas, Tomasitas for their burritos and green chile, and El Parasol for, well, just about everything. Don’t forget the famous chile, red or green, which really becomes an addiction if you’re there long enough; don’t question it, just embrace it. It’s hard to go wrong with food in Santa Fe.


Taking full advantage of the beautiful golden hour while shooting in Glorieta with buddies.



When seeking hotels or camping spots, Santa Fe leaves little to be desired. From dispersed BLM and Forest Service camping to five-star hotels, there are plenty of options. Sleep at the historic Santa Fe Plaza in the La Fonda Hotel, or choose from the many camping areas along Hyde Park Road on the way to the ski area. There’s a KOA located halfway to Glorieta, or some BLM land in Caja del Rio on the other side of town. There are multiple RV resorts to choose from also. So, whether you’re looking to sleep in the lap of luxury or tough it out in the desert, Santa Fe has plenty of options.


Aside from mountain bike riding, there are a lot of awesome places accessible by foot. Check out Santa Fe’s tallest mountain, Mount Baldy, sitting at 12,632 feet tall in the Pecos Wilderness, or take a desert stroll through Diablo Canyon down to the Rio Grande Basin. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and Bandelier National Monument are both located about an hour’s drive from town and offer great views and historical tidbits. Atalaya is one of the highest points in the foothills of the Santa Fe Mountains that can both be hiked and ridden on a bike, but its gnarly nature makes it more popular as a hike.


Most mountain bikers can’t talk about New Mexico without mentioning Angel Fire Bike Park.
Photo by Kerr Adams


Santa Fe is closer than you might think to a lot of places. Interstate 40 runs about an hour south of Santa Fe, which connects it easily with California, Arizona, Texas, and more. Interstate 25 runs straight through the city, which connects it to Denver and other northern areas. Albuquerque has an international airport and is only an hour away from most accommodations in Santa Fe. Some of the best riding in Colorado is only about four to six hours from the city, too. Santa Fe’s airport is currently expanding to host more and more flight options, meaning you’ll be able to fly directly into town. Angel Fire is roughly two hours away to the north, and Pajarito in Los Alamos is merely an hour away and open on most summer weekends. Speaking of relatively close riding spots, Los Alamos itself has some incredible riding stretching back into the Jemez Mountains. Albuquerque and Tijeras have amazing riding within an hour from town. So, now that you know of Santa Fe, go check it out—or don’t, because it’s a close-kept secret at this point, but be respectful of your fellow trail users when you do.

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