#2 in Series of Top Recommended Santa Fe Day Trips – See part one here: http://pueblobonito.wpengine.com/top-recommended-santa-fe-day-trips.html
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Santa Fe Tourist Attractions To See During Your Day Trip
In north-central New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, lies a unique and breathtaking scenic geological area known as Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. The location makes for a perfect destination for a Top Santa Fe day trip! Whether driving from Albuquerque Sunport to get to Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe or departing Santa Fe to return to Albuquerque, we highly recommend this Top Santa Fe Day trip to make your visit memorable! NOTE: Approximate drive time is 40 minutes.
Kasha-Katuwe or” white cliffs” as known in Keresan (the traditional language of the Cochiti Pueblo people) is now a US National Park that features large, tent-shaped rocks that hug steep cliffs of the Peralta Canyon. It is stated that these rocks were created from powerful forces of vulcanism and erosion, having been built up and then torn down to create a one-of-a- kind landscape. Theory states that during the last million years, a tremendous volcanic explosion northwest of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks spewed rock and ash for hundreds of square miles, leaving volcanic debris up to 400 feet thick. Over time, water has cut into these deposits, creating canyons, arroyos and other area features. Cone-shaped rock formations where wind- and water-eroded pumice and tuff deposits make for spectacular viewing. Formation tops feature hard, erosion-resistant caprocks which have protected the softer “tents” below over time. While uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet- something Santa Fe visitors will enjoy photographing and hiking in this slot canyon.
To create a TOP Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks day trip we recommend the following: Make a full day trip by leaving Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast in downtown Santa Fe after a hearty breakfast to include red chile pork tamales, then out of town South to I-25S (Albuquerque). Access to the park is via Cochiti pueblo. (Direction are below). Hiking and exploring this slot canyon can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2+ hours- the farther you hike into the formations the more amazing the tents! When finished in the park, back track through Cochiti Pueblo, but this time head toward the Santo Domingo Pueblo! An actively inhabited Northern New Mexico pueblo that will add to your Top Santa Fe Day trip adventure. Continue to head toward I-25 and take N toward Santa Fe or S to Albuquerque. If returning to Santa Fe consider this side trip! Take highway 14 (Turquoise Trail)- officially a scenic byway, Highway 14 will take you past Cerrillos NM an enchanting old coal mining town and into Madrid, NM. This once popular and economically hopping town was originally founded to fund the energy war efforts. Coal mining companies came in which allowed settlers to stake claims and live in this small, but influential town years ago. After the war, the coal mines withdrew leaving the town virtually abandoned. Around the 1980’s this area became rediscovered by east coasts artists who have today made this sleepy little village a fun and funky visitors stop on the Turquoise Trail! We suggest planning lunch or happy hour at the Mine Shaft Tavern as they are known for their Madchile cheese burger (winner of Santa Fe Smackdow) and Madchile margarita!
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe and 50 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the most direct access from Interstate 25. Take the Cochiti Reservoir exit from I-25 to NM Route 22 and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo. Turn right at the pueblo water tower (painted like a drum) onto Tribal Route 92 (connects to Forest Service Road 266). Travel 5 miles on a dirt road to the Tent Rocks parking area, which is marked with a sign. This is the only parking area for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks.
Looking for New Mexico lodging in Santa Fe that creates a one-of-a-kind travel experience? Look no farther- Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn provides historic adobe downtown lodging that no other can replicate! Check out our history here: Availability here: Special Travel Deals Here!
New Mexico Fall Colors
Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the glorious southern Rocky Mountains, offers plenty of places to view the fall leaves changing colors. To find out where the fall foliage colors are in New Mexico during the season, you can access the National Forest Service toll-free fall color hotline beginning in September at (800) 354-4595. Here are our top picks for places to see the gorgeous scenery of fall and vibrant fall colors in New Mexico, nearby Santa Fe.
Santa Fe – Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast is a great starting point for lots of beautiful drives- in particular a trip up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is spectacular. Spanning two hundred miles from their origin in southern Colorado, to their ending point in Santa Fe, New Mexico, these mountains offer high peaks, traditional pueblos, peaceful meadows, alpine lakes, aspen forests and more. Especially during the fall, the mountains blaze with fall colors. Leaves begin changing somewhere around the third or fourth week of September, especially in the upper elevations and high valleys. Ski Santa Fe, just a 16 mile drive north of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast Santa Fe offers chairlift rides up to the top of the ski basin for a scenic views and exceptional hiking on existing ski trails.
North of Santa Fe, leaving Inn at Pueblo Bonito- Santa Fe you will want to take Route 4 into the Jemez Mountains for magical color late in September. An area particularly beautiful during the fall when the intense golds and oranges of the changing leave complement the soaring red rock cliffs is definitely a must do! The nearby location of Bandelier National Monument, Painted Cave and Puye Cliff Dwelling can turn this daytrip drive into a full day or weekend adventure! Pair this short trip with wine tasting at nearby Estrella de Norte winery on the road to Chimayo or spirit tasting at Don Quixote distillery just down the mountain outside of Los Alamos and create your own memorable Santa Fe Fall Travel Experience!
South of Santa Fe, about 20 minute drive from Pueblo Bonito b&b. Take I-25 to 285 south then head west toward the sleepy village of Galisteo NM. Surrounded in old oak and elm trees with aspens added into the mix you’ll find a glorious array of fall colors lining the meadow valley and rolling hills of this enchanting little village. Pair the fall glory of colors with the annual Galisteo Studio tour held this year (2015) on October 17 and 18 and you’re in for a real treat!
South of Santa Fe heading I-25 N then into the village of Pecos, NM via the Old Santa Fe Trail will bring you to another area of fall splendor and vibrant colors. This area is full of wildlife from fish in the Pecos river to Deer and Elk. The plentiful aspen and other leafy vegetation help keep the deer and elk populations alive through harsh winters in the Pecos mountains. Animals feed on leaves and new shoots from young aspens and the bark of taller trees but the glorious colors in the fall definitely are inviting to local New Mexico inhabitants as well. Autumn’s shorter days and cooler nights quickly create vibrant pigments of yellow, red, and blue – which one can see in the red and purple of maples or the bronze or brown of oak and beech in this dense vegetation of the Pecos wilderness.
Though color viewings can vary from year to year as seasons depend upon weather conditions….. I’ve heard it said that if New Mexico autumns are warm and rainy, leaves are less colorful- but to my knowledge that doesn’t exist this year! Views from Inn at Pueblo Bonito – Santa Fe show a full splendor of colors in the Sangre de Cristos! Our trip up to Ski Santa Fe and ride on the Big Chief chair lift to the top was spectacular; breathtaking; pictures on this blog simply do not pay God’s creation justice! Come join us and BOOK NOW to experience the full brilliance of New Mexico autumn enchantment!
The Cross of the Martyrs is an easy, enjoyable, and often-overlooked historic monument site just northeast of downtown Santa Fe plaza. This iconic site is a great idea for guests of the Inn at Pueblo Bonito to enjoy during their Santa Fe vacation. The Cross of the Martyrs is excellent for an evening stroll, Sunday city view, or an anytime free history lesson of Old Santa Fe! The vantage point at the top offers dramatic views of The Plaza, the entire city and valley it’s located in, as well as a glorious sunset viewing! Among all of these views, the peek into the history of the oldest capital city in the United States is the best reason to make incorporate it into your Santa Fe to do list.
The walk or “hike” up to the top is not an arduous climb, but it does take moderate fitness. A consistent inclined brick walkway provides a series of switchbacks interspersed with steps that climb to the ridge above Paseo de Peralta in Hillside Park. The project was a gift to Santa Fe visitors made on it’s 375th anniversary (Santa Fe is currently over 400 years old as of 2015). Handrails and sure footing on the commemorative walkway are abundant with ample reasons to stop, read, and catch your breath; a series of display plaques offer interesting historical facts to provide momentary diversions from the climb. Remember that Santa Fe’s elevation is more than 7,000 feet above sea level.
The twenty chronologically ordered plaques give visitors a glimpse into the events shaping Santa Fe’s blending of primary cultures (Native American, Spanish and Anglo). The walk accurately paints a journey through history starting at 500 AD to our modern era. At the top of the walkway, a bricked plaza area reveals a steel cross – erected to honor the 21 Franciscan Friars killed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
The Pueblo revolt of 1680 was organized at the Taos Pueblo and led by Popé – a San Juan Pueblo medicine man- and was a mass insurrection by natives of the area pueblos against the Spanish interests. Popé became the ruler of all the pueblos of New Mexico for a dozen years as result of the successful revolt that killed 400 Spaniards and caused the survivors to flee to El Paso del Norte (El Paso, TX.) While the revolt did not remove the Spanish from the area permanently, it did cause changes in the way the Spanish dealt with the Pueblo Indians after 1692.
A cobblestone platform surrounds the cross. The site is a wonderful place for reflection, to take in the city views, or to take sunset photos of Santa Fe. Picnic tables are available nearby, offering the opportunity to take extra time to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the place and moment.
Getting to The Cross of the Martyrs from the Inn at Pueblo Bonito is simple: a guest would head to the Plaza, taking East Palace Avenue to Paseo de Peralta. From there, you would go left on Paseo de Peralta and follow it past Tommy Mascione park (to your right) and the Santa Fe Girls Club. Just past the entrance to the Girls Club is the entrance to the walkway on your right side. Legal parking places are at a premium but can be found on the street surrounding Tommy Mascione park.
On Fiesta weekend, a candlelit procession to The Cross of the Martyrs from Saint Francis Cathedral occurs after a special Mass. Fiesta weekend is celebrated the weekend after Labor Day in Santa Fe, NM.
Whether you’re planning a New Mexico vacation, a Santa Fe visit or permanent relocation, you’ll come to realize that Santa Fe is “the City Different”. Why, you ask?
Unlike many vacation destinations you may have visited, Santa Feans are extremely friendly and while our town itself is smaller, more intimate- it boasts attractions that easily stand up to many a metropolis:
World Class art galleries and museums– 3rd largest grossing art sales in the world!
Family entertainment, events, and festivals- Folk Art Market, Indian Market, Spanish Market, Balloon Fiesta
Gourmet dining– Restaurant Martin; La Boca; El Farol; Geronimos; La Casa Sena; Osteria;
Unique local cuisine– tamales; green chile stew; posole; Indian Tacos; Green chile cheeseburger;
Opera/Symphony performances and other cultural nightlife- Santa Fe Opera; Lensic Theatre; Desert Coral; Aspen Ballet
History, Rich Native American culture, Unique architecture – Adobe, Kivas, Hornos, Vigas, Ceremonial Dances, etc.
World-class shopping- Santa Fe Plaza; Overland Sheepskin Company; Ortega Jewelers; Maloof Outfitters; Canyon Road
Easy access to nearby sites and day trips- Chimayo; Ghost Ranch; Abiqui; Pecos Wilderness; Taos Pueblo; Rio Grande Gorge
Easy walking around downtown, historic sites, cultural events, performances etc. Palace of Govenors; Oldest House in USA
Santa Fe is “the City Different” because, unlike other cities, our history is an integral part of our day-to-day life, augmented by modernity rather than erased by it. Established by indigenous hunters and gatherers, influenced by Hispanic immigrants and explorers, and populated over the centuries by numerous other European descendants, Santa Fe continues to embrace new diversity and to celebrate our cultural heritage. Legacies from these earlier groups endure in harmony: in nearby pueblos and reservations, through diverse festivals and traditions, even in the local foods grown and eaten and in the beauty that nurtures us.
No American city has ever been more beautiful and well preserved. Centuries ago, newcomers were drawn to this area because of the scenic splendor. They stayed because the earth offered bountiful lands providing precious
minerals and gems, including gold, silver, and turquoise. Today, unique among many cities, Santa Fe, New Mexico boasts spectacular views and experiences of nature. Several mountain ranges – visible wherever you turn—beckon to hikers, skiers, birdwatchers, horseback riders and nature enthusiasts. The Rio Grande replenishes the high desert plains and valleys, sustaining productive fields to supply local farmers and markets, as well as pastures for domesticated cattle and buffalo and the wild herds of antelope will take your breath away when you sight them from the highways and byways.
Finally, Santa Fe has earned its nickname because it truly is different, in indescribable ways. There is a spirit here which defies definition, yet you feel it in the purity of the air, in the vivid colors of each season, in the deep blue of the heavens and the vastness of the night sky. There is an ethereal quality that turns mere neighbors into lifelong friends as locals take things a little slower, living by the unspoken code of “mañana”. One stands a little taller, breathes a little easier, relaxes and smells the roses in the City Different.
We invite you to come and experience this delightful City of Difference and allow us at Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn to provide your accommodations- making your Santa Fe vacation a time to remember. Call us at 1-800-461-4599 or book online at www.pueblobonitoinn.com