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Late Snow and Winter Walks

Snowshoeing above Aspen Vista in Santa Fe

Although the calendar says Spring is almost here, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, and this past weekend she gave another touch up to the 155 inches of snow (!) she has showered on our peaks. Forecasters promise warmer weather in Santa Fe this coming week, however, and that was a sufficient spur to have a hike up at Aspen Vista after the skies cleared Sunday.

There’s nearly always plenty of parking at the Aspen Vista trailhead, maintained by Santa Fe National Forest. This popular trail is only about a 25 minute drive from downtown.

Easy parking at Aspen Vista

The Forest Service has a few helpful hints posted there:

Winter in the mountains

Just getting out of your car will get you this view of Big Tesuque and the soft, sensual western face the Sangre de Cristo Mountains presents to Santa Fe, far below:

The view south from the Aspen Vista Trailhead

Even if you only have a short time to make a drive up to see the snow on your Spring Break, you’ll enjoy a stop here:

Aspen Vista Trailhead

But if you have a little more time, and are feeling adventurous, be sure and rent a pair of snowshoes and head off on your own. You’ll see aspects of the forest you really can’t enjoy any other way – like these hypnotic tangles of aspen covering entire ridges:

Among the aspen

From place to place the trees open up to give marvelous views of the mountains in their winter garb:

Big Tesuque

When the clouds part, the alpine sky embraces you in blue:

Reaching for the sky

In places the trees part to reveal unexpected meadows:

A snowy meadow high above Aspen Vista

These are good place to stop and find a fallen tree to rest on, and enjoy a warm drink. You might see evidence of other mystic activity – obviously someone is maintaining the Snow Spiral in this meadow:

The Snow Spiral

It even has a banco built in!

With the parade of storms we’ve had this winter, Ski Santa Fe is having a great season, and there’s no reason why they won’t be going strong all the way until they close at Easter. And if you’re not comfortable striking off in snowshoes on your own – or if you want to explore a trail you’d never find otherwise – engage a local guide from a company like Outspire or Santa Fe Walkabouts to help you out. You’ll probably discover that a guided adventure like this will be the absolute highlight of your trip to Santa Fe, and something you’ll remember for a long long time.

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