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The Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe

The Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe

These are some of the best trails for hiking with kids in Santa Fe. 

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Dale Ball Trail System

  • No Restrooms
  • Free parking 
  • Access the trails at
    • Hyde Park Rd
    • Cerro Gordo Rd
    • Upper Canyon Rd
    • Camino Cruz Blanca
    • St. John’s College
    • Dorothy Stewart Trailhead
    • Wilderness Gate Trailhead
  • Near Museum Hill, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, Hyde Park, and the Santa Fe Plaza

The Dale Ball trails are an extensive trail network that cater to different abilities. These are easy unpaved trails recommended for beginner hikers and kids. The Dale Ball trails encompass over 25miles of trails near Santa Fe.

The Dale Ball trails connect with including the La Piedra, Little Tesuque, Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, Dorothy Stewart, and Atalaya Trails.

The trail heads are accessible through on Hyde Park Rd., Cerro Gordo Rd., Upper Canyon Rd., and Camino Cruz Blanca.  Additional parking options are at the St. John’s trailhead, Dorothy Stewart Trailhead, and the Wilderness Gate Trailhead.

The Sierra del Norte Trailhead is the most flat area of the Dale Ball trails while the Cerro Gordo trailhead houses many of the more difficult areas of the trail system.

Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe

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Diablo Canyon

Old Buckman Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87506

  •  Restrooms (use at your own discretion)
  • Free parking and camping
  • Campsites available
  • Different difficulties for most hiking abilities. 
  • Climbing access
  • Far removed from the city 

If you want spectacular movie-quality views (no joke they have filmed many movies here) try Diablo Canyon. The name is intimidating but this canyon offers an opportunity for exploration for kids and adults. Enjoy the towering canyon, a glimpse of the river, and trails and rocks to wear out your energetic children. There are areas with flat sand substrate, as you move further into the canyon the terrain gets rockier and more difficult allowing you the opportunity to assess you abilities and turn back if you need to.

Diablo Canyon is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They offer great kids programs through their website and glimpses into other great hiking areas. The BLM rates Diablo Canyon as just above a 5 in difficulty, so not easy but not hard.

There are restrooms but they are poorly maintained. There is no potable water so bring supplies and be ready to pack out your waste. Day use and camping are free at Diablo Canyon. There are camp sites, and a large open space for gatherings.

Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe: Diablo Canyon
Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe: Diablo Canyon

If you don’t mind the drive, another spectacular view hiking area is Pecos National Historical Park. Visiting the park is free and there are great kid-friendly hikes!

Aspen Vista

  • Free Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Great for beginner hikers
  • Just beyond Hyde Park
  • Picnic Area

Aspen Vista trailhead is just beyond Hyde Park and offers unmatched views of the Fall color change in October–around balloon fiesta time. An extensive aspen colony occupies the mountains. Even when the leaves aren’t changing my kids love watching the aspen leaves dance in the wind.

Parking during the fall can be competitive but it is free. The trailhead has restroom facilities. There are picnic tables and benches. There is no overnight camping. The trails are well groomed dirt trails that are popular as school field trips. 

If you want overnight camping, just further down the road is Hyde Park where you can purchase day and overnight camping passes.

Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe: Aspen Vista

La Ceineguilla Petroglyphs

Design Center

418 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501

  • Free Parking
  • No Restrooms
  • Good for beginner-slightly experienced hikers
  • Near Santa Fe Brewing Company and the Santa Fe Airport

These petrolgylphs are a glimpse into history and are easily accessible from Santa Fe. Did you fly directly into Santa Fe? Just down the road from the airport is the trail that accesses the petroglyphs.

Some of the petroglyphs seen is this area are the iconic flute players and birds often depicted in modern Santa Fe art. The hiking here is rocky

There are no restrooms or potable water so be sure to bring supplies. Luckily the proximity to the city makes this an easy hike to enjoy for a couple hours and then take a break nearby.

Best Trails for Hiking with Kids in Santa Fe: Cieneguilla
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We’re finding more…

The goal for this page is to create a long list of kid-friendly hiking spots for you to enjoy with your kids. We’ll keep adding more as we personally review the hiking areas. Have any recommendations, let us know!

1 Comment

  1. Adwoa

    Wow !! This is a really well thought through article. I love hiking with my kiddos and posts like these come in real handy. Thank you for sharing.


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