July 15, 2012
A wonderful ride that proceeds from about 10,000’ and ends at the summit of Santa Fe’s ski basin at around 12,000’. Although there are numerous sections of up to 25-30 yards of rocky climbing, this is a nice steady uphill over lots of easy-riding packed dirt and smooth crushed rock. We rode up during the monsoon (generally afternoon rainy) season on 7/13/2012 which meant there wasn’t any loose sand but no unavoidable mud to speak of either. Incredible views of aspen trees which transitioned into just huge pines at around 11,000’. Although I wouldn’t say this is an overly technical ride, definitely be ready for the thinness of the O2 in the air at these altitudes! Be prepared to hang around at the summit for a while as you’ll love the incredible views! When we headed up the mountain from Santa Fe at 9am, the temp was around 72 and when we got to the base of the Aspen Vista Trail it had dropped to 60. It got successively cooler as we ascended the mountain which was enhanced by the rains around the area. As we descended, a slight rain began to fall. Along our descent, we stopped several times just to listen to the contrast of the forest silence accented by the wonderful sound of the big raindrops falling through the trees and hitting the forest floor. As we were loading our bikes at the trail head, here came a robust rainstorm complete with tiny hail which took the temps down to around 50. We sat on the rear deck of our SUV, watching it rain, and watched as several other riders arrived and proceeded to head-up the trail undaunted by the rain/hail. This is undoubtedly one of our favorite trails in all of the southwest. We saw many more hikers of all ages and only a very few cyclists. Although we failed to do so, definitely take a light slicker if you’re riding in July.