Improved Sun Mountain Trail Re-opens to the Public

Editor | - June 14, 2012

From a Santa Fe Conservation Trust press release...

The foothills property near Old Santa Fe Trail made headlines in 2009 when concerns about a proposed development plan prompted “Save Sun Mountain,” a citizens’ movement to purchase and protect the iconic 22 acres. Working with the Trust for Public Land and garnering financial support from throughout the community, the $3.2 million purchase was completed in 2010 – thanks to this citizen movement.

Just in time for the summer hiking season, in recent weeks the City of Santa Fe completed trailhead amenities, volunteers and the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe defined the footpath and the trail and today Sun Mountain is open for public enjoyment. Until now, people wishing to gain access to the mountain top had to use a rustic informal trail.

“The preservation of Sun Mountain was a real victory for those who cherish Santa Fe’s world class hiking trails,” said Charlie O’Leary, executive director of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, one of several community partners responsible for the preservation of the mountain. “We were pleased to be a part of this community-wide effort to help the city ensure that Sun Mountain and its trails will always be open to the public.”

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust holds an easement on the property, ensuring that land lying at the base of Santa Fe’s Sun Mountain received permanent legal protection and will never be developed. Public access has been preserved and the trail will forever remain a part of the dity’s open space program. This land conservation success story was a real community effort by several groups and private donors, including Save Sun Mountain, The Trust for Public Land, The City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Conservation Trust and the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe.

About the Sun Mountain Trail

Location: Old Santa Fe Trail, 1/4 mile north of the intersection with East Zia Road

The dedicated public trail access is a sliver of land starting at Old Santa Fe Trail, moving uphill to the base of Sun Mountain and on to the summit. The trail provides access to 249 acres of city-owned open space on Sun and Moon mountains.

Condition: The Sun Mountain trail is an unimproved rustic trail not suitable for mountain bikes.

Altitude gain: About 700 feet from the trailhead to the summit of Sun Mountain.

Visuals: The view from the summit is a breathtaking 360-degree panorama, and native plants and wildlife are abundant.

Rules: All City of Santa Fe rules for parks and recreation areas apply here.

Distance from Trailhead to foot of Sun Mountain - 0.4 km (.25 miles)

Distance from Trailhead to top of Sun Mountain - 1.45 km (.9 miles)

Roundtrip hike from Trailhead to top and back - 2.9 km (1.8 miles)