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New Mexico Hikes: Nambe Falls

When you think of New Mexico, you might not think of waterfalls. Most think of the arid dry southwestern photos they have seen time and time again, and while this is very predominant within the state, there are several hidden gems amongst the sandy and rocky terrain worth checking out.

Nambe Falls, located a bit north of Santa Fe is one such location. Driving toward the falls the terrain is rough and rocky. The dusty landscape paints a desert like picture which continues well into the park itself.

Entry to the park is $15 per carload per day which grants access to both the lake and falls areas. If you would like to camp, there are camping options near both the lake and hiking areas for $30 a night for basic camps or premium camping with water and electricity in the Ramada spaces for $45 a night.

Noted as one of the most impressive natural waterfalls in New Mexico, the waterfall rests within the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is a part of a a park which encompasses both the falls and a man made lake.

Upon entering the park, you will find 2 trails to the falls, a lower viewpoint and an upper. Both of these trails are relatively easy in nature but are not ADA trails. The upper will require a slight climb in elevation and has a bit of an uneven rocky surface so I would recommend shoes with gripping soles.

The lower trail is much more even in elevation however there are a couple of points where you will have to make a choice as to how you wish to proceed with your navigation. On one of these areas I was able to navigate carefully on rocks through a watery area. If you were equipped with water shoes you could walk through the water in this area as well as it is not deep in this area. You could also scale over a large boulder if you prefer.

To get to the falls itself on this lower path you will have to walk through very shallow water a short distance to reach the final point. However if you opt to proceed only to the paths end you will see a couple of low flowing fall pools which cascade down the trail alongside the streams path.

The trails here are a great way to see a unique portion of the New Mexico landscape often overlooked by a visit through the states most popular cities alone. While the lake offers retreat which is common amongst the states 35 parks, this one stands out above the rest hands down.


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