Santa Fe: Typical Where to Ride Post:-)-
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  1. #1
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    Oct 2010

    Santa Fe: Typical Where to Ride Post:-)

    Sooo me and my two buddies are going to be in Santa Fe at the beginning of August. All three of us turn 50 at about the same time. Birthday/midlife crisis trip. :-)
    Thursday, 8/1 we're going to Angel Fire so I'm looking at additional riding in Santa Fe on Friday and Saturday.

    We're planning on hitting Dale Ball on Friday. Starting at the Cerro Gordo TH then going north. Looks like the common route is rolling counter clockwise and the outer trail would make about a 10 mile loop. Is there a good way to roll this into a 15 - 20 mile route? South of Cerro Gordo looks like some pretty big climbing. Is that ridable by average humans. :-)

    Saturday we were thinking of hitting Galisteo Basin. Kind of the same question...would it be reasonable to get 15 - 20 miles of fun out of that area?

    Appreciate any thoughts or insight provided.


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    I may not be very fast...but I sure am slow!!!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2016

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  3. #3
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    Jan 2004
    Nice, welcome to Santa Fe. plan sounds dandy, I would maybe switch one of the Santa Fe days with a day at the Glorieta trails. Super fun purpose built trails that you have to climb to to ride. Plenty of YouTubes around to look at the trails. If tech and steep are part of your vocabulary when talking about fun rides then I would suggest Atalaya/Dale Ball South trails over the Central and North sections. Have a great visit. Eat food.

  4. #4
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    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Thx SSweetleaf. We just got back from our trip. It turned out awesome.

    Here is some info regarding our trip. Hope it will be useful for anyone else looking for trail info for the area from an outsiders point of view.....

    Day 1: Angel Fire:
    This was an absolute hoot. Keep in mind that we are three guys right at the 50 y/o mark. All of us have xc/all mountain type experience and only one had any kind of gravity experience and that was pretty limited. We were basically complete newbs to this scene. Here is what I took from it:
    - Even if you really enjoy riding up trails everyone should try downhill/lift assist type riding because the trails and experiences are just different then anything you're going to get in the XC/all mtn scene. Carved berms, table top jumps, steeps, etc.
    - Just because you're 'just going downhill' doesn't mean it is easy. This is hard. I ride about 2500 miles a year with a lot of elevation gain and believe I'm in pretty darn good shape but this humbled me a bit. You're using a different muscle set than normal riding.
    - This was just plain fun.
    - We rented bikes from the bike shop right there at the lift. The shop and staff was really awesome. Got us set up really fast, seemed very prepared and offered a lot of info that was helpful to us being new to the downhill scene.
    - If you haven't done this before and you ride the whole day it's likely you're gonna be a little sore the next day.
    - Everyone involved in this scene from the guys and gals at the bike shop, to the folks running the lift to the riders on the trails were all super friendly and really helpful.
    - Did I say this was just plain fun? :-)

    Day 2: Dale Ball Trails (North section):
    This was getting back to my style of riding that I do here in Phoenix...but without the trees and elevation. We parked at the Cerro Gordo TH. I had read pros and cons about riding clockwise vs counterclockwise (heading north form the trail head). We chose clockwise which seemed a mellower way to start the ride. Going north there are options that can get you at least 10 miles but I think you have to take some of the side trails and get a bit creative to get there. Another way to get bigger miles would be to ride up to the trailhead from wherever you are long as it is within a reasonable distance from the trailhead. ;-)
    There is a lot of climbing involved with this trail system but it's rideable if you are fresh. I ended up HAB a few spots mainly due to being a little bit spent from the downhill from the day before.
    Even though this trail system is lined by housing it provides a really nice riding experience. The trails are well put together and there is a lot of signage to help keep you on track. There is a nice mix of groomed trail with some tech, rocks and a few roots thrown in to keep it interesting.
    Word of warning to the flat landers....this trail starts at 7,300 feet and goes up from there. If you aren't prepared for the higher elevation you should keep your expectations in check. :-).
    You should at minimum cross to the north side of 475 and ride Sierra del Norte (Dale Ball #2 - #3 on Trailforks). It's not very long but really well put together and provides some really cool vistas.
    Visually speaking the Atalaya/Dale Ball South just looked like they are monsters comparitively speakin....lots more elevation gain/loss than the north section. May have to try that next time but will need to be fresher than I was this time. ;-)

    Day 3: Galisteo Basin Trails:
    We found this to be a really fun/mellow trail system. This one differs from Dale Ball in a number of ways.
    - This is located in more of the high desert type terrain so it isn't tree lined.
    - It is about 1,000 feet lower than the Dale Ball trails.
    - The trails are all well groomed and there really isn't any tech out there that I saw.
    - Way less climbing per mile.
    Galisteo is really well put together. Mainly groomed trails with very little tech but lots of highspeed terrain. Most of the trails seemed to have really nice line of sight so if you do run into hikers or horses you can see them with plenty of time to slow/stop and let them pass.
    Definitely less climbing than the Dale Ball trails but there is elevation gain for the taking if you work the northern most trails. Most climbing is at a reasonable grade. We opted to park down at the Cottonwood Trailhead which I believe was the southern most TH. We chose this as it appears that it pretty much guarantees you a fun/flowing downhill run back to the truck regardless of which trail you choose for the return. :-)
    There is really good signage on this trail and it looks like you could probably rack up 25 - 30 miles with little repeats if you plan the ride right.
    I will definitely come back to this trail system as it provides a really chill type of riding experience. I believe they are going to be working on even more trails as time goes on.

    Other random thoughts:
    - Almost everyone we encountered on the trails were really cool. No trail grumpy trail users. Most everyone was really friendly.
    - Santa Fe has some really good food.
    - We were in the touristy are of Santa Fe but the people we interfaced with all seemed pleasant and pretty relaxed.
    - Santa Fe has a really nice mix of all types of trails.

    I'm sure we'll be back. I think next time we'll definitely get another day in at Angel Fire but will probably look to fit aWinsor run in and will probably look at adding in Glorieta as well. I'm sure we'll hit Galisteo again. Lots of other options in the area that I need to explore as well like setting up a shuttle to do South Boundary or maybe take a chill day and ride West Rim.

    Pretty fun place to be.

    I may not be very fast...but I sure am slow!!!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Klainmeister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    DC, thanks for the write-up. It's always fun to read someone else's impressions of our local trails! Also, as board member of the local mtb club, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society who have spent years creating and installing the signage, developing connectors, and maintaining those trails you rode, it's really great to hear positive feedback. Glad you enjoyed it!

    And yes, you are absolutely right regarding Dale Ball's the more technical/steep version of Central/North. Most folks find themselves doing hike a bike here and there, but it's also well marked and pretty raw for those who enjoy that type of riding.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    No problem Klainmeister. I typically check MTBR (as well as other sources) for info on places that we're looking to ride.
    I really like getting input from locals as well as visitors. Sometimes visitor reviews are the most beneficial since it's all new to them. Just hoping someone else can get value out of our experiences.
    My hat is off to you, the club, the city and all who are involved in putting everything together in regards to the local trail systems. It's really well done.
    Can't wait to get back!!!

    Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk
    I may not be very fast...but I sure am slow!!!

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