NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As the leaves begin to change and the weather begins to cool, it’s the perfect time to experience the outdoors. Hiking is a great option, but for those looking for a more leisurely experience, a nice fall drive can do the trick.
There are great options all around New Mexico, but here are a few favorites from KRQE. Each drive includes a description from Zoe Mintz.
Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway
“Only 16 miles, this is a great quick way to get a taste of fall colors. If you don’t want to go for a long hike, drive up NM HWY 475 from Santa Fe Plaza to Ski Santa Fe. There are numerous overlooks for viewing the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains along with the changing gold and orange leaf hues.”
Jemez Mountain Scenic Byway
“Easily one of my favorite drives in New Mexico – it starts and ends in Albuquerque. Leaving from Albuquerque, go up through Jemez Springs then Los Alamos to loop back around through Santa Fe and eventually back to Albuquerque. The loop takes about 4 hours, or 165 miles, to complete. There are dozens of stops along the road with beautiful overlooks. If you want to hike along the way, I’d suggest San Antonio Hot Springs or the Valles Caldera.”
Sandia Crest Scenic Byway
“The most beautiful golden Aspen trees everywhere you look. The drive up from Albuquerque takes about 45 minutes, or you can take the tram to get to the top. At over 10,000 ft above sea level, the views are fantastic. Either way, you do not want to miss out on the leaves changing colors in the Sandias this fall.”
Bonus: Zoe’s fall hikes
If you want to do more than just drive, here are a couple of hikes Mintz recommends. For more hiking options, check out Grant Tosterud’s favorite fall hikes.
Option 1: Santuario de Chimayo
“Interested in checking out some fall foliage with a taste of history? Look no further! The historic site features 19th century chapels and some beautiful natural landscape and scenery. It’s beautiful all times of year, but especially in October.”
Option 2: Sacramento Mountains
“If you want to head south towards the Sacramento Mountains, look no further than Nogal Peak Trail – only 1.1 miles with some beautiful views of fall foliage. If you want something a little longer there is the Osha Trail (2.5 miles), Old Cloudcroft Highway Trail Loop (2.8 miles), and Little Apache Trail (3.2 miles). Either way, there’s a lot of places in the Sacramento Mountains to see some beautiful fall foliage.”