Fall is a spectacular season, when aspens turn a shimmering gold and the weather cools to perfect temperatures. The air is filled with the aromatic scent of New Mexico green chile roasting at roadside stands and farmer's markets. There's so much to see and do. Hike mountain trails through colorful fall foliage and celebrate the season at one of the best harvest festivals in the country.
Savor regional cuisine and international wine at a long-running wine and chile fiesta and meet dozens of artists on a studio tour along the historic Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway. Whether you visit Santa Fe County for a weekend or a week, you'll quickly see why fall is a favorite season for locals.
The Colors of Fall
Head to Hyde Memorial Park in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for one of the best spots to view nature's vivid palette of fall colors. The sweeping views along Aspen Vista Trail reveal aspens aglow in hues of gold, orange and crimson. Take an easy hike that meanders through aspen groves and you'll be surrounded by fantastic fall foliage.
Further up the road, the Ski Santa Fe resort runs fall chairlift rides that glide you through the aspens, to heights of more than 11,000 feet. The fall fun includes live music, disc golf, a beer garden and grill and other activities. It all takes place on weekends, September 17 through October 9.
The Dale Ball Trails also offer prime places for leaf-peeping, as you wind through the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Panoramic vistas of striking fall foliage are yours to take in along a high-desert network of trails that, according to Travel + Leisure and Sherman's Travel, offer some of the best hiking opportunities in the country.
Fall in New Mexico is green chile season, when everybody's fired up for the harvest of this beloved crop. New Mexico’s green chile is legendary, a prized ingredient that has long been a staple in kitchens and restaurants across the state. With its unique combination of sweet, smoky, earthy and often spicy flavors, green chile goes well with just about anything, from our famous green chile cheeseburgers to stews, soups and sauces that smother enchiladas, burritos and other New Mexico specialties. Green chile is also used to spice up pizza, mac’n’cheese and even ice cream and cheesecake. It's even traveled into space with NASA astronauts who grew New Mexico green chile on the International Space Station and then reported that it tasted out of this world on tacos. A great place to find freshly roasted green chile is at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, where growers slowly turn their crop in roasters, filling the air with an unmistakable earthy aroma.
Art Along the Turquoise Trail
A journey along the historic Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway is always an artful adventure, with majestic mountains, expansive skies and nature-sculpted red rock formations. The Turquoise Trail Studio Tour, which debuted last year, takes your encounter with art on this road to new levels. More than 40 artists in 38 studios along the Turquoise Trail, from Santa Fe to Cedar Crest, will be on hand to talk with you about their work in ceramics, photography, painting, sculpture, stained glass, jewelry and many other media. As you drive through old mining towns bustling with restaurants, boutiques and galleries, stop for a bite at favorite local's restaurant before heading back out on the tour, in search of treasures to take home. Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18 and September 24–25, 10 am–5pm.
The Taste of Wine & Chile
The pairing of New Mexico's iconic chile and the noble grape is the focus of the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta, an annual feast of flavors, held September 21–25. The menu includes guest chef demos and tastings, wine seminars and auctions, a sommelier throwdown, a Gruet Golf Classic, and the debut of the Fiesta Gravel Bike Ride. The big event, The Grand Tasting, brings together 60 local restaurants and 90 winery partners from around the world, serving samples and sips.
Celebrate the Harvest
This year's 50th anniversary celebrations at El Rancho de las Golondrinas continue with the living history museum's longest-running event, the 50th Annual Harvest Festival, held October 1–2. Stomp grapes to make wine, roll tortillas by hand, make ristras by stringing red chile together. Take in traditional music, dance and an artist market. USA Today readers named this family-friendly event one of the top fall harvest festivals in the country.
The Wonderful World of Wool
Revel in the rich world of fiber arts, from the animals that give us wool to the artists who transform it into fiber art creations, during the 39th Annual Mountain and Valley Wool Festival at Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. This family-fun event includes a regional wool market featuring juried artists, crafters and vendors offering their works of art as well as wool, fiber, yarns, fiber arts-related tools and equipment. Meet the sheep, alpacas, goats and angora rabbits and their fabulous fur in the Fiber Critter Corner. Take in demonstrations of spinning, dyeing, shearing sheep and many other fiber-related skills. There's also a silent auction, food vendors, live music and other fun events. Saturday and Sunday, October 1–2, 9 am to 4 pm, and admission is free.
A high-desert camping adventure awaits at KitFox, where glamping involves luxurious, safari-style tents, healthy gourmet food, campfires and hiking on 160 acres in the gorgeous Galisteo Basin Preserve. Book now for the Orionid Meteor shower on Thursday, October 20 for a wondrous night filled with shooting stars, but any night you spend at KitFox, beneath New Mexico's celebrated dark skies, will be a night of stargazing to remember.
Film Santa Fe County!
Q: Where was the world's first movie filmed?
A: The world's first movie was filmed in New Mexico in 1898 by Thomas Edison—Indian Day School on Isleta Pueblo.
Stay in touch with the Santa Fe Film Office to discover more about New Mexico's fascinating filmmaking history, as well as the exciting film, television and other productions currently being filmed in the Land of Enchantment.
Follow the Santa Fe Film Office on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned for Instagram in the near future!