A high desert ride, the Caja del Rio outing is rated moderate as there are some short, steep climbs along the “Jeep” trails. This area of Northern New Mexico is remote and rugged – it was dotted millions of years ago by volcanoes, the remnants of which are still visible. Enjoy expansive views of the Rio Grande at the turnaround point.
The Rail Trail is the perfect ride for beginners, visitors acclimating to Santa Fe’s altitude, and especially families with younger children. Starting just south of Santa Fe, this bike trail follows the historic rail spur to the town of Lamy, an 18-mile spur that opened in February 1880 and connected Santa Fe to the AT&SF’s (now Amtrak) Chicago to Los Angeles cross country route. The Rail Trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains – the Sangre de Cristo, the Sandias and the Jemez Mountains – and is particularly lovely in the Fall when the sunflowers and asters are in bloom.
Located to the southeast of Santa Fe, Glorieta Mesa is studded with farms set amid gentle rolling hills and open spaces. The bike trail is approximately 10 miles round trip – it is a path traveled occasionally by 4WD vehicles but generally unused with expansive views to the north of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
A challenging alpine adventure, the beginning of the trailhead is located at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Ride the Aspen Vista Trail to the top of Tesuque Peak (12,045 feet) – a strenuous and long climb, 6 miles up; it’s not for the faint of heart. The views, however, are spectacular and it’s a particularly beautiful ride in the autumn when the aspens are changing color.
Starting near the village of Abiquiu and along the Rio Chama, this is a wonderful excursion for those wanting a scenic and idyllic mountain bike ride in O’Keeffe Country. Stop for lunch along the river or, for a bit more of a challenge, ride up to the Abiquiu Dam. Total round trip ride to the Dam is 17 miles.
Ride an easy and visually stunning trail along the west rim of the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, New Mexico. Traverse the sage-covered plateau in an area known as the Rio Grande Rift Valley, stop to enjoy views of the river 600 feet below the rim, and learn about the volcanic history of New Mexico. If you’re lucky, you may just catch a glimpse of a herd of bighorn sheep in the canyon.
Located to the southwest of Santa Fe, White Ridge offers intermediate to experienced mountain bikers both spectacular views and a challenging ride along 15 miles of trails. As a blogger put it: “New Mexico mountain biking at its best. The White Mesa loop is fast and flowing, with a few technical hurdles, some exposed ledges and a couple of grunty climbs.”