With close to 300 days of sun and a landscape featuring caves, mountains, deserts, forests, rivers and lakes, New Mexico is dream vacation spot for the traveler who loves the outdoors.
The cooler temperatures that come with fall make the season a perfect time to visit and enjoy New Mexico’s great outdoors. Ballooning, hiking, biking and rafting are just some of the activities especially fun as summer draws to an end but before winter comes.
New Mexico truly is the best place to glide through the sky in a hot air balloon. Travel + Leisure Magazine is just one authority that praises the experience of climbing high above Albuquerque and the Rio Grande – especially during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta each October. New Mexico’s air temperatures and wind patterns set the stage for the perfect ascent, descent and ride. Rainbow Ryders, among other companies, offer breathtaking balloon rides that will never be forgotten.
Hikers can head for the mountains in just about every part of the state to explore volcanoes, remote wilderness areas or accessible – family-friendly – trails. Shaded trails through wooded areas stay cool during the fall and offer hikers the yellows and oranges of turning foliage. Visitors to New Mexico will quickly discover that the open landscape and clear air result in views that seem to stretch on forever. Climb to a high point, and the open views can reach close to 100 miles. New Mexico’s diversity means that trails range from paved, accessible paths overlooking Albuquerque along Sandia Crest (reachable by road, trail or Tramway) to quiet wooded paths where you’re more likely to see wildlife than humans, to the dunes of White Sands National Monument.
Bikers have plenty of options to ride mountain trails and open roads in New Mexico. In fact, Santa Fe was recently named one of the country’s top mountain biking towns by USA Today due to its 50 miles of varied trails along with deep history and arts scene. Biking tour companies, such as Albuquerque’s Routes Rentals & Tours, offer guided rides that fit every skill level and just about any interest (they also offer equipment rentals). Albuquerque has several bike-friendly roadways and a paved trail that runs through the Bosque along the Rio Grande. The Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway (NM-14) links Albuquerque and Santa Fe by winding through the San Pedro and Ortiz mountains, which make for spectacular scenic views, and the artist community of Madrid.
While rafting is a great springtime and summertime activity, fall is the perfect time to enjoy calmer waters with a beginner’s trip or a relaxing river float! Los Rios River Runners is one rafting company offering a variety of adventures and leisurely floats through the fall.
If you can’t make it to New Mexico in fall, don’t worry: The trails and roadways will still be here once winter arrives, but Central and Northern New Mexico will become playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders who crave New Mexico’s light-weight snow and varied terrain under bluebird skies.
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy fall in New Mexico outdoors? Tell us about it below!