June 24, 2022. Not just around the Plaza. It’s easy to stay close to the historic center. Plenty to see. Even more to eat. But a lot’s happened here since 1610. For a Walker, a lot’s happened here since 2010.
That’s when the landscaping at the new Railyard Park was completed. The old railyard’s now a narrow, almost-mile-long park. Beautifully designed and planted. Santa Fe’s version of New York’s Highline.
I’d start here, a couple of miles southwest of the historic center, and enjoy a mile of sunflowers, flowering vines and water sculpture. If I had a choice, I’d do it on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. When the Farmers Market opens at the north end of the park. Cider and apples from Pat Montoya’s Family Orchards. Fresh mozzarella and goat cheese from Old Windmill Dairy. Bread and pastries from Crumpacker’s.
Then another mile past the New Mexico State Capitol building and along the tree-shaded Santa Fe River Park. Through Cathedral Park and right into town. Around and through the Plaza, alongside the old Palace of the Governors. Indian Market was in full swing when I was there a few weeks ago. Hundreds of Native American craftsmen from every tribe in the western U.S. showing and selling pottery, weaving, jewelry and painting. The Plaza and all the surrounding streets were filled with their tents. The town was packed.
Great town. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Seems like everybody wants to visit. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is three blocks off the the Plaza. Today’s 2.5-mile Short Walk burns all the calories in your Farmers Market breakfast. And brings you to or near most of what you’ll want to see.
Including some great food. It’s all “southwestern”. Or “southwesternized”. My long-time favorite and still the champ: Café Pasqual’s. No reservations for breakfast or lunch. Just stand in line with everyone else waiting for a Breakfast Quesadilla or the Blue Lady Enchilada. If you’re lucky enough to get a dinner reservation, their mole sauce is the best I’ve had outside Mexico City.
There’s a fork in the road on your Way to the historic Plaza. Where my New Santa Fe Trail lets you add miles to make A Longer Walk that burns your breakfast and lunch calories. Two miles out and back along Canyon Road. All the details in the big Google Map I made for you. Nearly a mile of art galleries. Nothing but art galleries and restaurants. Wind sculptures whirling, wind pipes chiming and more free chardonnay than you can imagine every Friday night for the new show openings.
If you want The Long Walk, you can continue 1.5 miles along Upper Canyon Drive to the trailheads for the Dale Ball Trails. When you get there, spend an hour or two on some of the 22 miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails. The Nature Conservancy Trail is a great 1.5-mile loop around the old reservoir and the original route of the Santa Fe River. You’re in the middle of Santa Fe’s version of high desert terrain. Sage everywhere. Smells great.
Do it all and you cover nine miles over a wonderful four hours. You’ll burn about 1,500 calories. That’ll cover three well-chosen meals at Café Pasqual’s.
Every Thing Is Everything
“… modest levels of physical exercise during middle age increased the probability of successful aging beyond 70 years … [reducing] osteoarthritis, falls and hip fracture, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cancer, obesity, diabetes…” Evidence Regarding the Benefits of Physical Exercise, Archives of Internal Medicine, JAMA
Put the Ate in the Walk
La Choza opens at 11 am. It’s just a block from the south end of Railyard Park. The red chile and green chile are famous. For a reason. A big meal for $8.
Café Pasqual’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is great. Really. Their mole sauce is the best I’ve had outside Mexico City.
santacafé is the prettiest place in town for lunch. A series of small dining rooms built around a big open courtyard shaded by a huge tree. The crispy calamari and the cactus & mushroom spring rolls.
Put the Walk in Santa Fe
Railyard Park is a project of The Trust for Public Land. TPL conserves land for human enjoyment and wellbeing, from inner city to wilderness. TPL works in cities and suburbs across America to ensure that everyone — in particular, every child — enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground, or natural area. You can probably find an example of their great work near you.
A really cool nearby hike
Through the weird and beautiful landscape of Tent Rocks National Monument.