Santa Fe's mountains are beginning their seasonal transformation from green to gold. Snow has already dusted the Ski Bowl. You can still take the Ski Santa Fe Scenic Lift Ride through Mid-October. But to really enjoy the beautiful aspens, consider a day hike.
The Rocky Mountains are at their most glorious in autumn when the aspens turn the mountains gold and the air is clear and crisp. The Rockies actually begin-or end-just outside of Santa Fe as the mountain chain stretches from just south of the city in a continuous formation of peaks into northern Canada.
Located on the doorstep of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range, Santa Fe is the perfect jumping off spot for fall leaf viewing. Driving tours, hikes, and chairlift rides are all within close proximity to the city's historic downtown. A short drive from the Santa Fe Plaza up Artist Road/Highway 475 is the trailhead for the Dale Ball Trail System. Located right on the city limits and offering a variety of walks of different lengths, the Dale Ball trails are at an altitude of just over 7,000 feet.
Slightly higher up along 475-a designated New Mexico Scenic Byway-about a mile into the Santa Fe National Forest is the Boreggo Trailhead located just above the Hyde Park camping area. This is a winding trail that crosses the little Tesuque Creek and is deep in a conifer and aspen forest with different out and back options of varying lengths.
Higher still is the Aspen Vista trailhead located at an altitude of roughly 10,000 feet. This is a prime fall walk through a huge stand of aspens that cover the trail in yellow leaves and form a canopy of shimmering gold for the first several miles of the trail's 7 mile length. At the top of highway 475 is the Windsor Trail, a high-moutain path favored by mountain bikers that climbs to over 11,000 feet through conifer and aspen forest and leads to the 250,000 acre Pecos Wilderness area.