Living at 7,000′ has its ups and downs, particularly for someone still acclimating from life at sea level for the past 5 years. One of the positives though is easy access to alpine riding. Well, easy is subjective for sure but if you only have a few hours to kill and want a quick loop that’s equal parts hard as it is beautiful and most importantly, fun, then have I got one local Santa Fe ride for you…
First off, we should acknowledge the Jicarilla Apache and Pueblo Tewa land. New Mexico has a wonderfully diverse history, of which is laid out in the book Blood and Thunder, yet it is not written by an indigenous author so even its perspective is skewed. The indigenous people of New Mexico have long been underrepresented and treaties have been broken, resulting in a landscape that is as nuanced politically as it is beautiful.
Recreating on sacred lands such as Tesuque Peak is a point of contention with the Pueblo Nation. White settlers colonized the land, built radio towers, a ski basin, and trails on this mountain. When organizations have reached out to the Pueblo, they are met with dissent, and rightfully so. We are all on stolen land but we cannot even fathom what this means to the land’s first inhabitants.
While recreation such as mountain biking is accepted and allowed in the area, it doesn’t make these conflicts go away. It is my job to acknowledge them and pay respects to the original inhabitants of this region. Reading resources like Native Land really helps put this in perspective.
As a recent transplant to the area, I am in search of indigenous writings, specific but not limited to New Mexico, so if you have a recommendation, I’d love to hear it. Drop them in he comments.
Alamos Vista Trail
This loop was brought to my attention by the fine folks at Santa Fe Singletrack. The photographer, web developer, and brain behind that website is Kyle Klain, who has contributed a few stories to this website and was one of the riders in this very story. He was commissioned by the Broken Spoke to make SFST, which is jam-packed with fun mountain bike rides, of all skill levels, in the Santa Fe region. Once the state is back “open” to visitors – current restrictions require all visitors to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state – you should really check out these rides if you find yourself in the area.
Parking at Aspen Vista trail, or even riding Winsor trail from town if you have the time and fitness, you’re met with a beastly fire road climb. Before ascending to the radio towers, there’s a cutty fall line trail, as part of the ski slope you can carefully navigate. Chunderous rocks line the “trail” and with every summer monsoon, new lines emerge, so pick your poison carefully!
Once you hit “the meadow”, you’re met with glorious aspen trees, and the trail snakes it way through this healthy grove. Don’t be surprised if there are one or two trees down across the trail!
All-in, this ride is not that difficult, and what effort is required is rewarded with some of the most stunning views of the mountainous landscape surrounding Santa Fe. That said, I hope you’re adjusted to elevation and while you can ride this on a rigid MTB if you’ve got the skills, I wouldn’t recommend taking your gravel bike down it…
Enjoy this gallery, it was a lot of fun documenting this ride!