Santa Fe, NM is a hiker’s paradise. With its shaded forests, open meadows, and mountain summits, the state’s capitol draws trekkers from all over. While these back-country destinations typically come to mind when one thinks of hiking, Santa Fe also offers other adventurous hiking experiences closer to the city. And the New Mexico Rail Runner Express can easily get you there!
“I plan two different hikes in Santa Fe using the Rail Runner,” says Cathy Intemann, a volunteer hike leader for the City of Albuquerque Senior Centers’ Hiking Group. One begins at the Santa Fe Depot Station, located at the Santa Fe Railyard, and the other at the Zia Station.
On Tuesday November 12, a group of 6 seniors took the #510 train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe for the hike that departs from the Santa Fe Depot. Intemann led the hike from the station.
Along the Trail
“We went down the Santa Fe River Trail,” says Intemann. From the Depot, the group walked along Alameda for a short way, and then continued along the trail as it diverted from the street.
“It goes all the way to Siler Road,” she says. “We stopped at Frenchy Field, which was formerly the Frenchy Sunshine Dairy. There are some historical buildings there, like an old barn.”
The trail is part of the original Camino Real. It follows the Santa Fe River and the riverbed. There’s running water for part of the trail. Then, after a while the hike follows a dry riverbed.
As the trail goes through a semi-urban part of the city, there is much to see along the way. “There are lots of interesting murals,” says Intemann. “There’s an old truck that is mounted on a cement block. It’s a 1941 Dodge half-ton pickup. We also walked past the John F. Griego Vietnam Veterans Park.”
After turning around and completing the hike back at the Railyard, the group stopped at the Second Street Brewery for refreshments before getting back on the #515 train to Albuquerque.
A Great Way to Explore Santa Fe
The overall hike was just shy of 3 hours long. “It’s all a paved trail,” says Intemann. “It’s more of an amble. It’s not a hard hike.”
While Intemann leads these particular hikes for the Senior Centers’ Hiking Group, she encourages everyone who is interested in walking, or just an enjoyable day trip, to try it out.
“Anyone can do this if they want to,” she says. “It’s really easy to get on the train, do the hike, then get back on the train and head home. It’s a nice way to spend the day outside and explore Santa Fe in a different way.”
Intemann adds, “I never get tired of the train ride. I always enjoy looking outside the windows. This time we even saw some cranes in the fields.”
To plan your own hiking trip on the train, visit www.riometro.org to view the train schedule, and take a look at the Santa Fe Depot Station page to learn more about the area. To learn more about the Albuquerque Senior Centers’ Hiking Group visit http://aschg.org/jsp/home.jsp.