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. See also our guide to running in Taos, 70 miles north.
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.