North America

Santa Fe, NM

Courtesy Tourism Santa Fe

Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States, a patch of high desert tucked into the northern Rio Grande Valley at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. At 7,000 feet, the city’s elevation makes running tough — but tough runs make for amazing training progress! This is our guide to running in Santa Fe.

Just be sure to take it easy until you’re acclimated to the altitude. The terrain in Santa Fe either slopes up towards the mountains or down towards the desert, with the easiest routes situated closest to the center of town. The Rail Trail is a good place to hop on for a run in many parts of town, as is the multiuse Arroyo de los Chamisos Trail. Though still in development, the Santa Fe River Trail has a few miles of good running downtown. Visitors may also enjoy running in the Historic East Side neighborhood for a look at some grand Santa Fe homes, or the Old Santa Fe Trail which stretches from downtown towards the Cerros Negros. Once you’re ready for some more elevation, head to the hills for some challenging trail running on the Dale Ball Trails or Atalaya Mountain.

Without a car, the main method of transportation in Santa Fe is by bus (see maps and schedules here). There is even a free shuttle which will pick you up and drop you off at main points of interest around town — handy for planning a one-way run! Whichever routes you choose, make sure to take your time, hydrate, and listen to your body — you’ll want to save some energy to check out Santa Fe’s amazing southwestern arts and food scene.

Note we’ve also completed a guide for Albuquerque, some 60 miles south.

Great Runs in Albuquerque
  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Santa Fe Rail Trail

Santa Fe, NM

The nicest and easiest to follow section of the Rail Trail begins at the South Capitol Trail Station and continues south towards the Rabbit Road trailhead for about 4 miles.
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Dale Ball Trails

Santa Fe, NM

The Dale Ball Trails are a good taste of Santa Fe’s trails — located in the foothills just a couple of miles from downtown. The system includes 24 miles of trails where runners of all skill sets can piece together a loop for their ability level on well marked, easy to follow single tracks.
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Historic East Side

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe is known for its history and artistry — you can get a dose of both while running through the East Side neighborhood, the site of some of the city’s grandest homes and the historic Plaza, with its walkway of Native handmade offerings, shops, and eateries.
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Atalaya Mountain

Santa Fe, NM

Local experts describe Atalaya Mountain as “crazy steep,” so it should only be attempted by experienced trail runners. However, due to its impressive summit views and close proximity to town, Atalaya is one of the most popular trails in the Santa Fe region.
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Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe, NM

Another favorite among road runners in Santa Fe is the Old Santa Fe Trail, which runners can pick up right downtown and follow all the way to the Canada de los Alamos, where it turns to dirt.
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Santa Fe River Trail

Santa Fe, NM

Following the Greenway along the Santa Fe River, the path is currently 5.6 paved but noncontiguous miles. Eventually, it will include 15 miles of paved continuous greenway comprised of parks and trails along the Santa Fe River.
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Dale Ball Trails

Santa Fe, NM

The Dale Ball Trails are a good taste of Santa Fe’s trails — located in the foothills just a couple of miles from downtown. The system includes 24 miles of trails where runners of all skill sets can piece together a loop for their ability level on well marked, easy to follow single tracks.
Explore

Historic East Side

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe is known for its history and artistry — you can get a dose of both while running through the East Side neighborhood, the site of some of the city’s grandest homes and the historic Plaza, with its walkway of Native handmade offerings, shops, and eateries.
Explore

Average annual rainfall is about 14 inches.

SantaFe.org is a great resource for accommodations and travel in Santa Fe.

The Running Hub is Santa Fe’s go to for shoes, group runs, and route advice. The Santa Fe Striders also host group runs a few times per week.

Running Event Calendar, kept by Santa Fe Striders.

Santa Fe Run-Around. May. A large community affair held each June, starting at the town’s historic central plaza, with options of 5K, 10K or a 1K children’s race.

The Big Tesuque Race. October. A twelve mile high-altitude trail run organized by the Santa Fe Striders each year since 1985. Beginning at the Aspen Vista Trailhead fourteen miles NE of Santa Fe, the run climbs from an initial altitude of 10,000ft to the radio towers on Tesuque Peak at 12,003ft, then returns back to the start.

Fowl Day Run.  5K cross country in November

Corrida de los Locos. Jan/Feb. cenic and challenging course around the city’s municipal course and scenic byway.

Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon. September/October. Popular point-to-point race, climbing from downtown to Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque, N.M. It begins with a tough climb and ends with a fast downhill in the final few miles to the resort.