As we were riding up Hyde Park Road on our way to ride the Ski Santa Fe fall foliage chairlift ride I realized it was Monday of the October holiday weekend. A year ago on this holiday Monday we rode the chairlift at the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff. We could be onto a trend. It was a perfect day; most of the foliage was at peak or just past it. Steve attributed it to the recent rains combined with fairly warm temperatures. We’d brought warm clothing as it can get cold at the top, but the weather was perfect sweater weather, at least until we neared the top of the mountain.
A bit about Santa Fe Fall Foliage
One of the things I miss about not living in New York are the wonderful fall colors: reds, oranges and yellows abound. In Santa Fe we don’t have a lot of deciduous trees. The two main varieties are aspens and cottonwoods. Some say that aspens are the largest organism. The trees all grow from a single root interconnecting and growing up as individual trees, but it’s that root that counts. Read more about aspens here.
Riding the Ski Santa Fe fall foliage chairlift
We got our tickets, which like ski tickets must be attached to you and visible. Mine went on my cross-chest purse and Steve’s on his camera strap. You don’t want loose stuff on this ride or it might go flying off. The ride up was slow. The guy at the loading station said it would be about 20 minutes but it was closer to a half-hour. There isn’t a lot to see on the way up; the best views are on the descent. We were warm until we got about 2/3 of the way up. It got windy and a bit cold and I regretted leaving my coat and gloves in the car. We got off at the top. Shot a few photos and were ready for the ride down.
Getting back on the lift the attendant warned us to hold onto our hats as the wind was blowing up the mountain so we did. The way down was downright chilly. I had my hands up into my sweater sleeves. They emerged only to shoot a photo and then went back in. We got some great shots which totally made the trip worth it.
We got back in the car and headed down the mountain. We had to make a few stops along the way to take advantage of great photo opportunities. The parking areas were packed. A lot of people were taking advantage of this glorious day. All of the parking areas and pull-outs on the road to the Ski Santa Fe fall foliage chairlift were pretty full. Besides the opportunity to take the Santa Fe fall foliage chairlift ride there are great hiking, picnicking and photo opportunities. We’ll be back up the mountain same time next year to see those aspens turn color and maybe to ride the Ski Santa Fe fall foliage chairlift.
If you go
The chairlift is open weekends in September and the entire week of Balloon Fiesta which starts the first weekend in October and runs through the following one.
Hours: 10am to 3pm. Last chair down is at 3:30.
Tickets: You can buy either a one-way or roundtrip ticket. Many were riding up and walking down. Because you ride up over the trees, the great views are on the way down. If I were going one way I’d walk up and ride down, but many seemed to be riding up and walking down. The choice is yours.