Hit the Trails at the Galisteo Basin

Susie Morgan - November 17, 2014

'Open to the public to enjoy some of the most magnificent landscapes in all of Santa Fe County.'

The Santa Fe County Horse Coalition events - Galisteo Basin Preserve Trail Ride and Trail Building days - were a great success.  About 35 people turned out for the SFCHC benefit ride on Saturday October 11th, and an astonishing 28 horsemen turned out to work alongside hikers and bikers to build trails on Sunday, October 12th.   Horsemen trail builders identified themselves by wearing a bandana, a practice we hope will catch on in all trail building venues.  These events, combined with an earlier cocktail party, raised over $6,000 for SFCHC to donate to build future multi-use trails at Galisteo Basin.  SFCHC was formed as an advocacy group to represent horse-related issues in Santa Fe County.

The Galisteo Basin is considered a special place by anyone who has walked a dog, ridden a bike or horse or simply hiked out here.  Located off 285 between I-25 and Lamy, this area has been set aside as a preserve thanks to the foresight of Ted Harrison and the people at Commonweal Conservancy.  It is open to the public to enjoy some of the most magnificent landscapes in all of Santa Fe County.

Currently about 27 miles of the originally planned 50 trails have been built.  The newest section, built in October off the Cottonwood Trailhead Parking, is called Annie’s Amble and connects back to South Wagon or Andorra Valley Wagon Trails.  The updated trail map has yet to be posted, but here is a link to check back for updated trail info at a later date. http://galisteobasinpreserve.com/pdf/GBPTrail%20Map_2013-9-12.pdf

The trail ride was enhanced by Jarratt leading a High Intensity group over the trails.  Jarratt and his gray wild mustang (which he adopted and trained from The Horse Shelter ) were up to the task, because Jarratt lives in the Galisteo Basin development himself and knows the trails like the back of his hand. 

At 3pm, all the riders and trail-builders were invited to a catered picnic lunch provided by La Plancha Restaurant in Eldorado.  It’s hard to say if the steak burritos or the chicken sandwiches were the most popular, but everyone agreed on the fresh baked potato chips and the homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

On Saturday, Ted Harrison, President of the Commonweal Conservancy, was on hand to help organize parking in the morning, and returned at picnic time to provide an overview of the Commonweals plans and objectives and answer questions for equestrians.  Julia Jarvis, VP of SFCHC, also spoke to thank everyone for their support of Galisteo trails.  On Sunday, Gretchen Grogan organized the trail builders and accomplished all the trail building she had planned.   The trail builders were aided by Joyce’s beautiful pack donkey, Carlotta, who moved equipment down the trail for workers.

On hand both days were dedicated horsemen Eldon and Karen Reyer.   Eldon, you may recall from an earlier blog recounting a harrowing fire incident clearing trails up in the Sangres (pictured here on his palomino), and Karen volunteered to manage check in for riders and build trails on Sunday.

Although many of the home sites have been sold, there are still stunning properties available for sale in the Galisteo Basin – several are over 100 acres in size.  For more information, please contact Ted at ted.harrison@commonwealconservancy.org.  Better yet, come walk the trails and see for yourself!


All photos courtesy of Piar Marks