How to Spend Fall in Santa Fe
While the Summer season may bring the biggest crowds, Fall is one of the best times to visit Santa Fe. The city is quieter, the weather is beautiful, and there’s plenty to do whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, stellar food and drink, art and culture, or just pure relaxation. If you’re thinking of visiting Santa Fe in the Fall, check out our tips for where to go, what to do, where to eat, and more!
View the Fall Foliage
When you think of dazzling fall foliage and bright autumn colors, New Mexico might not be at the top of your list. But it should be! Santa Fe offers plenty of opportunities to take in golden aspens in the crisp mountain air.
Ski Santa Fe Scenic Chairlift
While the Santa Fe Ski Basin may be a more popular attraction once there’s snow on the slopes, the extensive trails and bright autumn leaves are worth the drive up the mountain. At the top of the Ski Basin, you can enjoy scenic chairlift rides to the top of the slopes and back. The Skin Basin also features a variety of live music, drinks, and entertainment every weekend throughout the fall leading up to ski season.
Hike the Aspen Vista Trail
If you’re in the mood for a scenic hiking trail, Aspen Vista is aptly named for its stunning views of the aspens as they change color. The trail is a moderate out-and-back route of approximately 11 miles, perfect for serious treks and casual strolls alike. It’s often crowded during peak foliage season, so try to go early in the morning or on a weekday to beat the crowds!
High Road to Taos
The High Road to Taos is a scenic trip any time of year, but especially shines during peak foliage season. Drive through golden aspen-lined roads and visit historic New Mexican towns on the way from Santa Fe to Taos and back. This scenic byway is one of the best spots to view the changing leaves, and offers dramatic sights of high desert landscapes throughout.
Enjoy the Farm Fresh Harvests
As the days get shorter and the air gets crisper, the warmth of summer still lingers on in the bounty of the season and the smell of roasting green chile in the air. Northern New Mexico is full of thriving small farms, and the Fall season showcases their bumper crops. Check out our recommendations for the best places to stock up on fruits, vegetables, and more!
Santa Fe Farmers Market
The Santa Fe Farmers Market is held in the Railyard district of Santa Fe every Saturday from 7-1 year-round, and Tuesdays from 8-1 May through November. On market days, the Railyard comes alive with shops, stalls, and tents serving up fresh produce, dairy, meat, artisanal goods, and much more. We recommend getting there early for the best selection and to beat the crowds. And be sure to stop by the Farmers Market cafe for a bite of locally grown, seasonal dishes!
What’s fall without apple orchards and pumpkin patches? Wagner Farm is located about 45 minutes south of Santa Fe in scenic Corrales, New Mexico, and offers up a wealth of fruits, vegetables, and more. Join them for u-pick apples and pumpkins on their Fall Festival on October 12th and 13th, or simply stop by to stock up on fall produce and get your green chile roasted for free!
Heidi’s Raspberry Farm
Every Saturday from 9:00am-12:00pm before the first frost, Heidi’s Raspberry Farm hosts raspberry picking in their fields in Corrales, New Mexico. Explore the scenic fields, enjoy the warm New Mexican sun, and eat as many raspberries as you can! Raspberries go for $6 a pint, and parking in the nearby lot is $5.
Celebrate at Festivals and Fiestas
Summer might be high festival season in Santa Fe, but Fall still has plenty to offer. From Fiestas de Santa to harvest festivals and much more, the autumn season is a great way to celebrate all things New Mexico.
Harvest Festival at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas
This historic farm and ranch, used by Spanish settlers for hundreds of years, is now a living history museum, giving visitors a taste of what life was like on the Spanish frontier in New Mexico. The harvest festival features a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, the opportunity to make cider using a traditional cider press, live animals, entertainment, and more. El Rancho De Las Golondrinas is located a few miles to the south of Santa Fe, and is a beautiful place to explore on a crisp autumn afternoon.
Where: El Rancho De Las Golondrinas, 334 Los Pinos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87507
When: October 5th and 6th, 2019
Cost: $8 for adults, free for children 12 and under
Fiestas de Santa Fe
Fiestas de Santa Fe is a festival that takes place each Fall, commemorating Santa Fe’s reconquest by Spanish settlers in 1692. Although it stems from a complicated historical event, Fiesta is a longstanding tradition in Santa Fe, and draws locals and tourists alike to the Plaza to enjoy live music, carnival food, people watching, and a festive atmosphere at this unique event.
When: September 1-10, 2019
Where: the Santa Fe Plaza
Wine and Chile Fiesta
The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta brings together over 90 different wineries from around the country, along with 75 of Santa Fe’s world-class restaurants. The resulting collaborations blend nationally recognized wine and cuisine with the unique culture and traditions of northern New Mexico.
When: September 22 – 29, 2019
Where: In and around Santa Fe
Cost: $25 - $200+
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a sight to behold. For nine days each October, multicolored balloons light up the early morning sky in a magical display that draws visitors from all over the globe. These enormous hot air balloons soar through the vast New Mexico skies, delighting locals and tourists alike. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air ballooning event in the world, with over 500 hot air balloons launched each year. The event also features food, drink, live music, weekday and evening events, and much more! Check out our guide to the Balloon Fiesta for more info!
When: October 5th-13th, 2019
Where: Balloon Fiesta Park, Albuquerque, NM
Cost: $10 per person