Santa Fe is high desert and has an elevation of 7,000 feet. That means thunderstorms most afternoons in the summer. Mornings were always clear, but shortly after noon, the clouds would come in, and by mid afternoon we would have the most amazing thunderstorms.
If hiking, just make sure you have some kind of exit strategy, and if not that, hunker down so that something else is taller than you are.
A byproduct of an afternoon thunderstorm is the most gorgeous sunset.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Traffic is Terrible
Nearly all the time, but especially at peak commute hours, the main artery being Cerrillos Road is jam packed. it is typical to see it backed up 3-4 blocks at the stop lights. The other main street of of St. Francis Dr (Hwy 84/285) going north is slow with much traffic for 4-5 miles heading out of town or coming back into town.
- Road Trip
Parking is expensive
The garages they try and get people to park in are the highest in price. There are 4-5 multi story garages that I noted; maybe more. Each stated $2 for 1/2 hour, and $4 for an hour, then goes up from there by $2 an hour with max of $10. I do not like to pay that amount. Soooo, I and many others look and find spots along the street where Sundays are free, but other days meters are not much better and limits of 2 hours.
High altitude sickness
Albuquerque is 5300 feet (1600m) above sea level and Santa Fe is at 6500 ft (1980m).The surrounding mountains can reach 12,000 feet (3660m).
There are a lot of beautiful hikes in New Mexico.
But, if you are used to lower altitudes, you need to be aware that hiking in the mountains may give you a headache or make you slightly dizzy. If this happens do not climb any higher, as the symptoms could get worse and could become serious.
Enjoy your swim!
It was the notice beside the swimming pool at a hotel near Santa Fe that caught old Cliffie's eye: "Snakes occasionally fall into the pool; please use the net to lift them out or call a member of staff for help." Well, that put paid to happy yells and running leaps into the pool for a morning swim. Instead, it was a careful walk around the pool for a cautious reconnaissance each morning. Never found any snakes, though, unlike the people in the movie “Cold Creek Manor” (photo courtesy Touchstone).
In most states, uninsured motorists are not too much of a problem. Not so much for New Mexico. The vehicle "inspection" process is a mere visual check to make sure the car actually exists and the car your registering isnt "to be stolen at a later date". We have by far more uninsured motorists than any other state. And if you get hit by one...guess what, your chance for legal restitution is slim. You can sue them, but chances are if they have no insurance they dont have much you can take from them. So drive defensively in New Mexico, espescially Santa Fe around Cerillos Road.
We've had a drought the past few years, so there have been periodic closures of forest areas, including campgrounds and trails. If you plan to come to NM to camp or hike, it's a VERY good idea to check in advance with the Forest Service or other responsible organization to avoid disappointment. (There's still plenty to do in NM, of course, but it'll be a very different trip.)
- National/State Park
The burglary capital of New Mexico. Lock your car, store your valuables (camera, CD case, luggage) in the trunk, and double-check the lock on your hotel room. However, muggings are rare, and purse-snatchings aren't all that common, although they do happen. (A little common sense about walking alone after dark is called for.)
Recently there's been a rash of burglaries and pocket-pickings in the Canyon Road area, so keep track of your belongings as you stroll the galleries and shops. (Someone actually stole the donation box from Project Tibet, a nonprofit where I volunteer -- talk about bad karma!)
Be careful when you walk by this sculpture at the Frank Howell Gallery. It has mystical powers and will make you do strange things.
- Arts and Culture
- Hiking and Walking
Santa Fe River
What was once a raging river is now a trickle and great disappointment.. They used to river raft down the downtown sector-Now you would scrape bottom and have to walk the raft all the way.