8 Amazing Santa Fe Hiking Trails For Families With Kids

During the formative years of my energetic and lively children, I noticed an intriguing phenomenon: their boundless energy seemed to diminish in direct proportion to the amount of space around them.

Within the confines of a room, they transformed into whirlwinds of gleeful chaos, resembling mischievous little poltergeists.  However, stepping into the great outdoors worked like a magical charm, instantly soothing their restlessness and fostering a sense of tranquility and cooperation.

Perhaps it was the absence of delicate objects to disrupt or simply the allure of exploring nature’s wonders. Determined to seize these moments of serenity and create lasting family memories, we embarked on countless adventures along the enchanting Santa Fe hiking trails.

Today, I’m thrilled to share with you a compilation of the most captivating and kid-friendly trails in the area. Join me as we uncover the hidden gems that carry both local and official names, revealing the best hikes in Santa Fe for unforgettable outdoor experiences.

Tesuque Creek North Fork Trail, Also known as Big Tesuque Campground

Tesuque Creek North Fork Trail

Embark on a captivating 2.5-mile journey along the Tesuque Creek North Fork Trail, where nature’s wonders intertwine with whimsical stick tepees tucked away amidst the trees. While the Forest Service advises against these charming structures due to fire safety concerns, children can’t help but find them enchanting. To reach this hidden gem, venture approximately 14 miles up Artist Road from Washington Avenue, transitioning into NM 475, Hyde Park Road. Just before reaching the ski area, you’ll discover a spacious parking lot on the right, accompanied by inviting picnic tables visible from the road. Follow the path set by the picnic tables, tracing the gentle flow of the nearby creek until the trail reveals itself in all its splendor.

Aspen Vista Trail, Also known as Forest Road 150

Embraced by local families, the Aspen Vista Trail is particularly beloved during the autumn season, when the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues. Though technically a forest road, its double-track nature comfortably accommodates baby joggers equipped with reliable suspension systems, creating an enjoyable experience for families with little ones. To find the trailhead, journey 13 miles north from downtown Santa Fe Plaza on Hyde Park Road, where you’ll spot its well-marked location on the right (south) side.

Black Canyon Trail

black canyon trail

Escape the summer heat on a delightful hike along the shaded Black Canyon Trail. Spanning a modest 1.6 miles, this trail is perfectly suited for younger hikers seeking an immersive nature experience. To reach this sanctuary, venture 8 miles from downtown Santa Fe via the picturesque Hyde Park Road. As you make your way towards the ski basin, keep an eye out for the sign on the right (south) side of the road, guiding you to your destination. Meander through the campground until you discover the designated day-visitor parking area, welcoming you to commence your adventure.

Chamisa Trail

chamisa trail

Embark on a captivating journey along the Chamisa Trail, where the adventure begins in a sun-kissed, open glade before weaving its way into a serene and shaded forest. While this scenic trail spans approximately 5 miles, our family rarely ventured too far, as my children were captivated by the initial sunny field adorned with blooming flowers, urging us to stay and play. To access this delightful hike, head towards the left (north) side of Hyde Park Road, a mere 6 miles from the Plaza, and prepare to immerse yourself in nature’s embrace.

Dale Ball Trails

Dale Ball Trails

Discover boundless opportunities for hiking within the expansive Dale Ball network, boasting an impressive 22 miles of interconnected trails. Whether you’re accompanied by energetic toddlers who tire quickly or adventurous teenagers capable of hiking all day, there’s a trail for every member of the family.

Located on the southwestern end of Hyde Park Road, near the city, the upper portion of these trails treats hikers to breathtaking views of the surrounding cityscape. With excellent signage featuring trail numbers at each junction, navigating the trails becomes a breeze. To access the trails, you’ll find several parking lots available. One is conveniently situated off Hyde Park Road at its intersection with Sierra del Norte, while another can be found at the junction of Upper Canyon Road and Cerro Gordo.

It’s worth noting that the upper section of the network is more exposed to the elements, so remember to bring sunscreen, hats, and an ample supply of water.

Sor Trail (lower end), Also known as Little Tesuque Creek

Little Tesuque Creek

One of my children’s absolute favorites, the Sor Trail (lower end) continues to hold a special place in their hearts, with frequent requests to return. This particular segment of the extensive Winsor Trail meanders alongside a picturesque little creek, offering the perfect setting for refreshing summertime splashes.

Remember to pack water shoes and a towel for this delightful adventure. While various forks present appealing hiking options along the trail, we often opted for paths that kept us closest to the enchanting creek. Locating the trailhead can be a bit challenging. Starting from downtown Santa Fe, follow Bishops Lodge Road towards Tesuque. Look for County Road 72A near a sharp turn, and make a right turn. You’ll discover two small parking areas. Initially, the trail winds through residential neighborhoods until you reach a wooden bridge spanning the creek—an unmistakable sign that you’ve found the right place.

Tent Rocks National Monument, Also known as Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

Situated 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, the captivating journey to Tent Rocks National Monument is well worth the drive. The hike derives its name from the magnificent cone-shaped rock formations, aptly named hoodoos, which stand sentinel-like near the trailhead. Two distinct route options await explorers: The Canyon Trail immerses visitors in a mesmerizing, narrow canyon, alluring photographers of every age.

Kids take delight in climbing the gnarled roots of the old ponderosa tree near the entrance of the canyon and often enjoy spotting tarantulas that occasionally wander through the area. While these spiders are non-venomous, it’s essential to give them their space.

At the end of the canyon, the trail ascends steeply to the top of a mesa, rewarding hikers with breathtaking vistas. For a less exhilarating but equally rewarding experience, the Cave Loop Trail offers a shorter route spanning approximately one mile.

About Sujana Vij

Hi, this is Sujana. I am an independent strong woman. My noteworthy identity is I am a mother of two children and also a baby site blogger. Besides, the part of my job I love to help parents by giving them useful and practical suggestions that I gained through many difficulties. Normally, we use many products or items for our baby. As a mother, I know how difficult to choose the best product for your baby. In addition, if you are a rookie parent then it's much more difficult. You might need to talk to real parents. That's why I share my experience and feelings upon the best baby products and parenting tips

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