Ride to Santa Fe National Forest

Albuquerque – Galisteo – Pecos – Cowels – Santa Fe – Santa Fe Ski Area – Santa Fe

October 20, 2011

Ride to see the aspens turn in the Pecos Wilderness and Santa Fe Ski Area – Take NM 313 to NM 14 north, cut across to Galisteo on Co Rd 42, then north on US 285, east on I-25 8 miles to exit 299 Glorieta/Pecos (NM 50), turn left on NM 63 for 20 miles-where the road ends turn around and ride back to Santa Fe and the US 285/Lamy exit-east on Old Vegas Highway to the first light, then right, then left on Old Santa Fe Trail, right on Paseo De Peralta, right on Otero, right on Artist Road/NM 475 for 15 miles to Santa Fe Ski Area—then return to Santa Fe, left on Paseo De Peralta, left on US 285, south on I-25 to Albuquerque

Ride is 250 miles, but around 6.5 hours riding time.

Google Maps

My wife was off work for a couple of weeks off and she wanted to ride into the mountains before the aspens lost all their leaves. So I took Thursday off to take my wife to the Pecos Wilderness and the Santa Fe Ski Area. We stopped for a late lunch in Santa Fe before heading back to Albuquerque.

We got up like a normal work day and got our daughter to school by 7:00. But then, we started our day off together with breakfast. Eating breakfast, just the two of us, gave the day a perception of “vacation for two”. By 8:30 we dressed and off on our ride.

We rode I-40 to the edge of town then exited on to NM 313 and took NM 14 north. It was cool, but not cold and the leather gear blocked all the wind making the ride pleasant. We passed through Madrid and Cerrillos before turning right onto Co Rd 42 for the brief ride across to Galisteo.

There was a spot I had found breathtaking a couple miles north of Galisteo last weekend and wanted my wife to see it.

We stopped and looked, but the view had changed, still pretty but not what I had seen before. This event was a real reminder that views and landscapes of a road change with the season and the time of day. No two rides, even on the same road, are the same.

We caught the Interstate over to exit 299 and drove the few miles into Pecos. They have built a “Dollar Store” in Pecos, it changes the town and not for the better.

At Pecos we turned right onto NM 63 into the Pecos Wilderness. We rode 20 miles up the canyon along the river into the mountains. There was almost no traffic on this road, it made the ride a wonderful experience.  About 18 miles up NM 63, where the road really narrows and weaves up the mountain, they were doing road construction. We only saw a couple of fisherman along the river and nobody at the trail head at the end of the road.

We drove back down NM 63 and returned the way we came to Santa Fe. Then we went through Santa Fe to Artist Road/NM 475 for the 15 mile ride to the Ski Area. This road is filled with twists and turns and the more aspen then any other area in New Mexico. Today however most of the aspen had dropped their leaves on this side of the mountain range.

There was still some color flickering in the breeze, but most were bare. Two weeks early my wife and I rode to Santa Fe for a ride to the the ski area, but turned back because it was snowing on the mountain. In the shaded areas along the road some of that snow could still be seen.

It was 2:00 before we made it back to Santa Fe for lunch, we had a place in mind to eat, but it was closed. Made our way through the road construction to another place we saw and it wasn’t yet open. Finely we found the “Flying Tortilla” were we stopped for light lunch before we rode home. We took the Interstate home, making it back to our door by 3:30.

It was nice spending the day with my wife, I’m lucky that she enjoys riding on the bike.

I loved taking the day off in the middle of the week and spending it with my favorite person riding back roads.


  1. bruce hoover says:

    Looked like a fun ride.

  2. Michael k says:

    Very nice report! Thanks!

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