Santa Fe mountain biking trails are some of the best in the country. It’s a bold claim when there are so many good trails around, but we did earn a Silver level designation from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) in 2014. And our riding has gotten even better since then.
Santa Fe mountain biking ranges from big burly rides that require big burly bikes to more gentle cruises on flat trails and everything in between. Nothing is super easy here due to the elevation, but not everything climbs thousands of feet in elevation, either. The variety of terrain — from dusty desert to tacky forest trails — is refreshing. It is possible to ride through multiple climate zones from the top of the mountains back into town. It’s also possible to ride year round as many of the lower elevation trails remain dry in the winter.
Without further ado, here are our favorite mountain biking trails in Santa Fe. And if you think we’re missing something, let us know on our Facebook page.
1. Winsor Trail
This is the most popular mountain bike trail in the Santa Fe area, and for good reason. The trail goes all the way from the village of Tesuque (just over the hill from Santa Fe) all the way to Ski Santa Fe. If you’re fit, you can climb the trail as well as your fitness allows. But many are shuttling the trail these days with the aid of the “Blue Bus” which takes you from town to the ski area for just $5. (The bus is running during the COVID-19 outbreak, but reservations must be made.
Just make sure to ride at a reasonable speed and be courteous of other trail users. While the top section of the trail (which is technical and oh so fun) is lightly trafficked by hikers, but the lower sections are generally busy.
2. Galisteo Basin
This trail system is one of the newest in the area, but it offers a good variety for all types of riders. Fit riders will enjoy pedaling fast and hitting the many twists and turns at high speeds. Beginners will enjoy that there aren’t many sustained climbs or overly technical sections. Everyone will enjoy that this place is beautiful. Galisteo Basin Trail Map.
3. Dale Ball
25 miles of trails that you can ride your bike to from town? Sign us up. The Dale Ball Trails really helped put Santa Fe mountain biking on the map. The trails have a good mix of flow, tech, climbing and descending. Best of all, each trail juncture is marked and mapped, so getting lost is out of the question.
The trails are divided into 3 sections. Dale Ball South can be accessed from St. John’s College and has the most technical trails. Dale Ball Central has a great mix of flowy tech sections with moderate (by Santa Fe standards, anyway) climbs for the most part. Dale Ball North is generally the easiest section and the most trafficked since it has a large parking lot.
4. La Tierra Trails
La Tierra is also close to town and offers some easier trails for those who are getting into riding. That being said, the trails are fun enough for any level rider, with plenty of twists, turns, jumps and bumps. The Flow Trail and Whoops are must-rides. And if big jumps are your jam, there’s a whole park devoted to going big, brah.
5. Glorieta Camps
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Speaking of going big, Glorieta has constructed a series of downhill trails that will seriously challenge your strength and skill. The trails are so good they twice hosted national competitions. There are some easier options, but this is definitely not a place for beginners. Oh so fun. Note access to this private property is allowed, but you will need to park down the street at the old church and take the Baptist Bypass trail to the main trail system.