Santa Fe Canyon Preserve
For an easy saunter close to town, head for this 190-acre patch of the foothills managed by The Nature Conservancy (505/988-3867). The area is open only to people on foot—no distracting mountain bikes, and no pets allowed either. The preserve covers the canyon formed by the now-diverted Santa Fe River, which farmers once attempted to tame by building a two-mile-long rammed-earth dam (a herd of goats did the ramming).
An easy interpretive loop trail leads around the area for 1.5 miles, passing the remnants of the dam and winding through dense stands of cottonwoods and willows.
The trailhead is on Cerro Gordo Road just north of its intersection with Upper Canyon Road.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition