Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers many captivating running trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in stunning natural landscapes.
From rugged mountain paths to serene desert vistas, these 15 best running trails in Santa Fe await discovery and enjoyment.
Whether you’re an avid runner seeking a challenging workout or a nature enthusiast looking for a rejuvenating experience, Santa Fe’s diverse trail network has something for everyone.
In this guide, we’ll unveil the top running spots in and around Santa Fe, each with unique charm and characteristics.
Whether searching for solitude amidst the forest or yearning to witness open views, these trails promise a blend of fitness, adventure, and natural beauty. Get ready to hit the ground and discover the best places to run in Santa Fe.
15 Best Running Trails In Santa Fe
The Atalaya Mountain trail is a stunning out & back trail just outside of Santa Fe.
The entire trail covers 10 km and is considered to be a challenging route.
This is perfect for experienced trail runners that are looking for something different.
On average, it takes around 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete the trail at a casual pace.
Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail and it is also open to hikers and mountain bikers so there may be a fair amount of traffic.
Another out-and-back trail is the Sun Mountain trail. This is a much shorter trail at only 2.6 km.
This is considered to be a moderately challenging trail due to the 224 m elevation.
At a casual pace, it takes 1 hour and 14 minutes on average to complete.
This is a very popular running trail in Santa Fe and is likely to have a lot of traffic. However, the view from the top is priceless.
Although there is traffic, try to stay on the trail to avoid widening paths.
Another short out-and-back trail is St. John’s trail. This is also only 2.6 km long.
However, it is considered to be an easier route due to the menial elevation gain of only 57 m.
On average, this trail should take around 40 minutes to complete.
The great thing about St. John’s trail is that it can be used as a short run or you can continue on to the Atalaya Mountain trail which connects to it.
This gives you more options to explore depending on how your run is going.
Another easy place to run in Santa Fe is the Dorothy Stewart Trail.
This is a loop trail with plenty of areas of elevation.
The total elevation is 93 m. During the winter months, the trail becomes snowy and icy but is still accessible with appropriate gear.
The trail is 3.1 km but you can add an extra 1.6 km by doubling the loop section.
There are likely to be hikers and mountain bikers on the trail so be aware of your surroundings during your run.
Another easy running spot in Santa Fe is the Dale Ball Trails North run.
The trail is 7.1 km long and has an elevation gain of 173 m. on average. With a casual pace, this trail takes 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete.
All along the loop there are stunning views of the surrounding forest. There are also plenty of shaded areas to keep you cool.
The trail can get very busy with other runners, hikers, and bird watchers.
The Chamisa trail could be perfect if you are looking for a more challenging running route in Santa Fe.
This is a loop trail with a significant elevation of 350 m. Because of the significant incline of the trail, it takes an average of 2 and a half hours to complete.
There is a small creek on one part of the trail so be prepared to get wet!
During the winter, the trail can become snowy and icy which can make it a bit treacherous. Make sure to use appropriate gear.
If you are in the Dale Ball area and want to complete more than one trail, the Dale Ball North Loop is a great option.
This is an easy route that covers exactly 5 km. The elevation gain of the trail is 120 m.
There is plenty of signage to help you stay on track during your run. There are also lots of tunnels and trees to provide shade during the hotter months.
North Bell Loop is another fantastic running trail in Santa Fe that deserves recognition. It is in the Dale Ball Trails system and offers a scenic and refreshing running experience.
The trail is short at only 4 km, and because it is easy, it only takes an hour on average to complete. Other trails link up with this one to extend your run.
What makes North Bell Loop special is its versatility. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a manageable distance or a seasoned runner seeking a quick but satisfying workout, this trail fits the bill. The well-maintained path, gentle ascents, and occasional rocky sections excite your run.
Because of the stunning views at the top of the loop, this incredibly popular trail gets very busy.
If you are looking for a long run that will challenge you, the Deception Peak and Lake Peak trails are for you.
This is a 10.6 km trail with an intense elevation gain of 793 m. It is an out-and-back trail that climbs multiple peaks.
As you ascend, be prepared for steep inclines, rocky terrain, and a rigorous workout. These trails are best suited for experienced trail runners due to the demanding terrain and high elevations.
The best times to visit this trail are between June and October due to the weather conditions.
This trail can get very busy in parts and there may be some off-leash dogs.
This is another route in the Atalaya Mountain area. It is a popular and challenging running trail that rewards runners with stunning views of Santa Fe and the surrounding landscapes.
This is shorter than the trail mentioned above, at only 7.1 km. It is an out-and-back trail with an elevation gain of 474 m.
This trail is generally considered challenging, and it can become quite busy with other hikers and runners.
However, visiting earlier or later in the day can offer some solitude. Dogs are allowed to be off-leash in certain areas so keep an eye out.
If you prefer more urban running trails in Santa Fe, there are some incredible routes around the city’s Downtown and Historic East Side.
The Downtown area has an easy 5 km loop. This route features smooth streets that are perfect for an easy run.
Because this is an open street, it can get busy and you might have to dodge some locals and tourists.
If you are going to be downtown but want something a little more scenic than running the streets of Santa Fe, the River Trail is for you.
The route is a multi-use, paved path that runs along the Santa Fe river and passes through several local parks.
There is up to 15 miles of continuous paved path that you can run along.
The path will be being used by locals and visitors so be aware of your surroundings.
The Santa Fe Rail Trail is an easily accessible running trail that follows the path of an old railway line, offering a unique and enjoyable running experience.
The route goes 5.1 miles from the Santa Fe Depot Rail Runner station south to Rabbit Road.
The entire trail runs alongside the railway tracks, offering a different environment than your regular run. It is perfect for runners of all levels, whether looking for a leisurely jog or a longer-distance run.
Heading from the station, the trail is almost exclusively downhill. There are some off-road routes that you can add onto this trail.
For road running favorite option is the Old Santa Fe Trail (also known as route 67). Despite the name, this is not a trail but a paved road. It is a suitable training option for anyone who wants a long training run on a paved surface.
The trail is along the shoulder of a road, but it passes through some stunning rolling hills that highlight the area’s beauty.
You can start at the San Miguel Chapel downtown. The road widens up at Amelia White Park, which is another option to start.
This trail suits runners of various levels, as you can choose to run shorter sections or cover the entire 8.3-mile stretch. It’s a versatile route that allows you to customize your run based on your preferences and fitness level.
There is also vehicular traffic on the Old Santa Fe Trail. If you want to avoid vehicle traffic on your runs, this is not the route for you.
Los Alamos is a place that is steeped in interesting American history.
It is also a popular tourist destination and offers some incredible canyon trails. The best trail in the area is the Canyon Rim Trail.
Although it is mostly paved with asphalt, it feels very rural.
The trail offers a 3.7 mile loop of Pueblo Canyon. You can get some great views from the bridge over the canyon.
Santa Fe area is a haven for runners with its diverse and captivating running trails.
These 15 best running trails in Santa Fe allow you to stay active and showcase the area’s natural splendor.
So, lace up your running shoes, whether you’re a local looking for new running spots or a visitor eager to explore Santa Fe’s running trails.