Hike: The Chamisa Trail

Paige Victoria - August 25, 2011

"The hike is surrounded by beautiful aspens, which makes it quite lovely in the fall"

This is another easy hike in the Santa Fe area. The Chamisa Trail gains a lot of elevation on your way up, but the trail down is smooth riding. It’s a great trail for jogging and biking. The trail is very versatile – the hiker has the option of making this a short, moderate, or day-long affair. The flowers are beautiful in early August, and the aspen trees are stunning during early autumn.

Distance from Plaza: 6 miles / 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy with steep climbs

Trail Length: About 5 miles / 3 hours

Pets: Yes

Bikes: Yes

Weather Conditions: The hike is pretty shaded, but it can get warm in the summer.

Directions to Trail Head: From the Plaza, head out on Old Santa Fe Trail and turn left onto Washington Avenue.   When you cross over Paseo de Peralta, it becomes Bishops Lodge Road. Turn right onto Artist Road – following the signs for the Santa Fe Ski Basin.  Drive 5.6 miles, and you will see a gravel lot on your left, with overflow parking on the right.

About This Hike: I always start at the trailhead, but I bet bikers like to start at the end of the trail, which is a bit to the left of the trailhead.  The hike climbs 700 feet through well-shaded forests for a mile and a quarter, until you have reached the crest. To do this and back takes about an hour, which is a wonderful quick hike, and something I have done when time allows no more fun. 

From this point, the trail continues downhill to a dry stream. The hike is surrounded by beautiful aspens, which makes it quite lovely in the fall.  After a mile, the hike comes to a meadow and then after another quarter mile, the hike intersects with Winsdor Trail. The Chamisa Trail ends here, but you have the option to continue hiking in the Ski Basin.

Caution: When returning, turn left at the two trail markers you encounter.  When you come to the highest point on the trail again, you can stay left and return on the same path you began with, but I always stay right and hike along the dry river. The sand is very loose in this area.

Hint: This is part of the Dale Ball Trails. They post maps of the trails at every trailhead, and at some intersections. I like to take pictures of the maps for reference if I don’t have a trail map with me.