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Santa Fe & Taos: Walking New Mexico

National ParksJoin VBT as we explore the austere beauty of New Mexico’s dramatic landscapes, up close and on foot.

  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 3 - 6 mi
  • Daily Walking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Walking Activity
  • Ideal for those who walk for a morning or afternoon on a regular basis. Footing may be on a variety of surfaces. No extended ascents or descents, but some rewarding climbs.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Santa Fe & Taos: Walking New Mexico

Trace the steps of Georgia O’Keeffe as we traverse trails through her beloved Ghost Ranch. Witness the vast Rio Grande Gorge and marvel at the famous Ancestral Pueblo rock dwellings at Bandelier. Gaze upon yawning canyons and towering rock formations that reveal millennia. Along the way, feed your spirit and your curiosity during a tour of ancient Taos Pueblo with one its residents, a cooking demonstration at the Santa Fe School of Cooking and at welcoming lodges just steps from renowned art galleries.

Cultural Highlights

• Enjoy a day at Ghost Ranch, home of artist Georgia O’Keefe
• Follow Chimney Rock Trail to the tip of beautiful mesa
• Explore the gentle trail through colorful Box Canyon
• Discover the dramatic Pueblo dwellings at Bandolier National Monument
• Hike to the floor of Fijoles Canyon and visit a cliff dwelling
• Share a delightful picnic lunch in the midst of ponderosa pines
• Have free time to make your own discoveries in exciting Santa Fe
• Learn about regional culinary techniques with a local chef
• Admire the starkly beautiful Sangre de Christo Mountains
• Visit Santurio de Chimayo chapel, a pilgrims’ destination
• Admire the beauty of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
• Delight in 5 nights in charming inns and lodges
• Travel back in time during a visit to Taos Pueblo
• Walk the extraordinary Wild River Recreation Area
• Hike the Devisadero Loop Trail at Carson National Forest

What to Expect

This tour offers a range of terrain and is ideal for energetic beginners and experienced walkers. Walks are on well-traveled footpaths and trails. We walk at an average altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level, which may cause us to keep a slower uphill pace. Every day, rewarding walk options with nominal elevation gains are available. Our VBT van support is available at designated points along our routes.

Average Daily Mileage: 3 – 6 miles
Average Walking Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Santa Fe
Sept 80°/47°    Oct 69°/32°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Santa Fe
Sept 1.6  Oct 1.4

What’s Included:

• 5 nights in centrally located inns and lodges
• 12 meals – 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
• FREE use of our VBT walking poles
• Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
• VBT van support
• Daily route directions and maps
• Welcome reception
• Sightseeing and cultural activities
• Transfers
• Entry into two National Monuments and two National Recreational Areas
• Guided walks in Santa Fe and Taos Pueblo
• A cooking demonstration and meal at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
Good Buy Discount

  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation. See details.

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Land Only Single Supplement: $645

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Arrive Albuquerque / Discover Santa Fe

Make your own arrangements for travel to Albuquerque. We strongly recommend arriving in the area a day prior to the start of the trip. This will eliminate the possibility of missing any portion of your vacation due to a delay, and give your body some time to start to acclimate to the elevation of northern New Mexico prior to walking.

VBT will offer a scheduled transfer from the Albuquerque International Sunport (airport code: ABQ) to your first inn in Santa Fe. We will be making a single departure from the airport at 12:30 p.m. Transfer reservations are neither required nor available. Please follow signs for “Ground Transportation” and meet inside the terminal next to Baggage Claim #1 at 12:15 p.m. Your Trip Leaders will be sporting the “VBT” logo.  Please have lunch prior to joining the transfer.

If you are arriving after this transfer departs or if your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach the Inn on the Alameda in Santa Fe. Sandia Shuttle (www.sandiashuttle.com) and Roadrunner Shuttle (www.rideroadrunner.com) offer private as well as shared-ride transport from the airport to Santa Fe. Travel time is about an hour and ten minutes.

Guests driving to the tour may leave their car at Albuquerque International Sunport (on-airport parking is available from $7 per day) and take advantage of our included transfers from and back to the airport. Alternately, parking is available at the Inn on the Alameda, without charge, for the duration of the stay in Santa Fe, and in a public lot in Santa Fe (for a fee) while in Taos. Trip Leaders will drop guests in Santa Fe for their cars on the last day of the vacation (at about 10:45 a.m.). However, guests parked in Santa Fe will miss our final walk and picnic, which take place en route to the airport in Albuquerque.

Our group meets at the Inn on the Alameda, our comfortable accommodation in Santa Fe. The inn’s official check-in time is 4:00 p.m., and the lounge, library, and garden are open to you should your room not be immediately available on arrival. At 2:00 p.m., join your VBT Trip Leaders for a safety briefing and walking pole-fitting clinic. Please contact the Inn on the Alameda to advise of any travel delays or changes; they will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders.

After your briefing, stretch your legs with an orientation walk. Depart from the inn on foot at 2:10 p.m., in the company of your local guide, and head to the plaza for a helpful guided walk of Santa Fe’s highlights. Known for its sixty shades of brown and simple adobe architecture, Santa Fe is a rich blend of Native American and Hispanic cultures. You’ll admire the many buildings built in the styles of Pueblo Indians, Spanish colonists, and settlers. At 6:30 p.m. back at the inn, meet the group for a tour orientation and welcome reception before your 7:00 p.m. dinner in the inn’s private dining room.

Hotel: Inn on the Alameda
Meals: D
Daily Options: 3 miles

DAY 2: Hike Bandelier National Monument

After breakfast, transfer to Bandelier National Monument, named for the Swiss-American ethnologist who studied Pueblo ruins in the late 1800s. This vast swathe of land, comprising 33,750 acres, has only three miles of public roads but 70 miles of trails. The highlight of Bandelier is the ancestral Pueblo dwellings carved into the cliff sides long ago.

You’ll begin with a hike down into the visitor center on the Frey Trail, a switchback path to the canyon floor. As you walk, enjoy a bird’s eye view of Tyuonyi, the remains of an Anasazi village on the floor of Fijoles Canyon, and the cliff dwellings. If you prefer, you may shuttle down to the visitor center, from where you can easily walk to view the ancestral Pueblo dwellings. Farther along Frijoles Canyon, you’ll visit Alcove House, a cliff dwelling reached only by wooden ladders. Other walk options include the Falls Trail, leading to Frijoles Canyon’s Upper Falls through a sparsely forested area of box elders, Apache plume, and vanilla-scented ponderosa pines. Your Trip Leaders have prepared a picnic lunch for you to enjoy in this spectacular setting.

In mid-afternoon, you’ll return to Santa Fe with time to enjoy one of the town’s excellent museums, browse the galleries on Canyon Road, or soak in a hot tub at the inn.

You are free to dine on your own at one of Old Santa Fe’s many excellent options, all within an easy walk. Your Trip Leaders will have plenty of suggestions.

Hotel: Inn on the Alameda
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 2 miles and/or 2 miles and/or 3 miles

DAY 3: Explore Ghost Ranch / Walk Box Canyon / Culinary Academy dinner

After breakfast, travel about an hour north to O’Keeffe Country and spend the day at the fabled Ghost Ranch. Artist Georgia O’Keefe made Ghost Ranch her summer home from 1934 to 1949. Your walks here connect you to her inspiring paintings and provide sweeping views of the Chama River Valley. You’ll follow the Chimney Rock Trail up a short and mildly strenuous path to the tip of a mesa just opposite magnificent Chimney Rock, a dramatic free-standing spire.

Later, you’ll have time to enjoy a relaxing lunch at the ranch’s restaurant, perhaps sitting out on the shaded patio while savoring the ranch’s own farm produce when in season. This afternoon, continue your exploration by foot on gentler trails through the colorful Box Canyon, where you’ll walk along the creek bed. Alternately, you may choose to visit the anthropology or paleontology museums on site.

You’ll walk tonight to the Santa Fe Culinary Academy for an informative and entertaining presentation and demonstration by a local chef. This is a unique opportunity to learn about southwestern cuisine at its best from someone who prepares it every day with an eye toward creativity and cultural heritage. Then enjoy a private dinner showcasing the best of New Mexican cuisine.

Hotel: Inn on the Alameda
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 3 miles and/or 4 miles

DAY 4: High Road to Taos / Explore Chimayo / Walk the Rio Grande Gorge

You’ll travel the “High Road to Taos” today, marveling at the starkly beautiful Sangre de Christo Mountains. Take a break in your journey in the small village of Chimayo. The town’s small chapel, the Santurio de Chimayo, is known for its healing powers, and it has drawn pilgrims and visitors for more than 200 years. During your visit, observe the fine weavings of the Ortega Family, who first started their practice here in the 1700s. You’ll pause for lunch at a long-established family restaurant, lodged in a charming hacienda, and known for its use of the town’s unique red chilies in the preparation of its cuisine.

After lunch, you’ll continue on to visit the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. You’ll have your first glimpse of rugged, wide-open plains, towering volcanic cones, and steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths. This impressive natural wonder was declared a national monument in 2013. You’ll follow some of its footpaths over gently rolling terrain to a beautiful overlook of the Rio Grande Gorge.

Later, you’ll arrive at your luxurious accommodation in Taos, El Monte Sagrado, just three blocks from Taos Plaza. Savor its seclusion, tranquility, and its scenic setting. Take advantage of the resort’s amenities, which include a full fitness center, an aqua center with two pools and a hot tub, and a full-service spa. You may have dinner on your own at the resort’s De La Tierra Restaurant or select one of the restaurants in town this evening.

Hotel: El Monte Sagrado
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 2.5 miles and/or 4 miles

DAY 5: Visit Taos Pueblo / Hike Wild Rivers Recreational Area / Farewell dinner

Step back in time today during your visit to Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Inhabited for more than 1,000 years, this UNESCO World Heritage Site belongs to a Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe. Its adobe houses are richly hued in earth tones and stand as many as six stories tall. About 150 people live here today, and you will meet one of them for a guided walk and an enlightening discussion within the pueblo walls. You’ll have some free time in the late morning to walk around this fascinating town, admire the colorful plaza with its shops and galleries, and enjoy some lunch.

After lunch, you’ll shuttle to the Wild River Recreation Area, north of Taos, for a different glimpse of the Rio Grande Gorge, this time at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Red Rivers. The 242,000-acre park with its 800-foot canyon provides excellent protection for wildlife and birds, as well as an uninterrupted natural haven for the eyes. You’ll have a couple of choices for your walks, one a moderate descent on a well-maintained trail into the canyon. After a rest on the river’s banks, you’ll ascend the canyon trail and return to the top, admiring breathtaking views at every step. Or you can walk along an easier well-trodden path that skirts the rim of the canyon, with sweeping views of the its’s walls and river-sliced floor.

This evening you’ll celebrate the week over dinner with your fellow travelers and Trip Leaders.

Hotel: El Monte Sagrado
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 2 miles and/or 3.5 miles and/or 2.5 miles

DAY 6: Explore Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument / Depart for home

This morning, early risers are welcome to gather before breakfast on the nearby Devisadero Loop Trail, part of the Carson National Forest, named for American pioneer Kit Carson. The name of your trail means “lookout” in the region’s ancient language, and the Taos Pueblo tribe once stood guard on the nearby peak against the Apaches. Your short morning climb offers stunning views over the greater Taos area.

After breakfast, you’ll depart for Albuquerque via Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. You’ll arrive at this fascinating site before noon with a choice of two short but delightful walks. A 1.2-mile loop provides a great overview of the site and its unique topography of massive cone-shaped rocks known as “hoodoos.” You might also continue farther up a narrow canyon to the top of a mesa for a breathtaking view of this striated landscape and the rugged mountains beyond. Walk as much or as little as you’d like. Take advantage of the spectacular setting to savor a final picnic and share memories of a week well spent.

Your VBT vans continue to the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), arriving at approximately 3:00 p.m.  Flights departing before 5:00 p.m. are not recommended.

Meals: B, L

Daily Options: 2 miles and/or 1.5 miles and/or 2 miles

New Mexico Walking Tour Map

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Accommodations

Santa Fe & Taos: Walking New Mexico

El Monte Sagrado

Elegant and tastefully decorated, El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa is just three blocks from Taos Plaza yet provides the seclusion of a remote desert sanctuary. During your stay, treat yourself to the amenities of its award-winning spa, spacious fitness center with an indoor pool and hot tub, welcoming bar, and contemporary dining room serving global cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy garden or mountain views from your balcony or deck and stroll into town for shopping and browsing art galleries. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
Free WiFi Included

Inn on the Alameda

With its central location just steps from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, the Inn on the Alameda puts you closer to the city’s Canyon Road galleries than any other downtown hotel. You can also easily walk to Santa Fe’s restaurants and cultural spots from this adobe-style property. Savor a hearty buffet breakfast in the morning and a complimentary wine-and-cheese hour in the afternoon. On-site parking and Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel are included. The inn’s ten buildings, set behind cozy adobe walls, rest upon two acres, providing a tranquil garden setting.  Each room offers either a patio or balcony. The Inn on the Alameda is locally owned and operated.
Free WiFi Included
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