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 ablaze 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 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 day trip 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 by 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 chairlift 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!