Your group's magical trip to Santa Fe via the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway begins at 9AM and ends at 8:15PM. Mike Potter will be your Santa Fe in a Day guide. He has made this trip countless times and has led dozens of tours on the Scenic Byway over the last 20 years. Mike has done all the exploring and research for you and will narrate all that you and your family and friends see and experience on this breathtaking trip.
CHECK-IN: 9AM, PARK & RIDE AT I-25 AND US-550
Your group will meet at 9AM for check-in and be dropped back off at 8PM at the Montaño Rail Runner Station Park & Ride located at 130 Montaño Road NW in Albuquerque. If you have your own vehicle, you can park it in the lot all day at no cost. If you will be using a ride service like Uber or Lyft, give your driver the address.
STOP #1: 10AM, WALATOWA VISITOR CENTER
Our first stop will be at the Walatowa Visitor Center on the Jemez Pueblo. On the drive there, you'll see the Sandia Mountains behind you and the Jemez Mountains ahead. As we approach the Jemez Mountains, you'll see the Zuni Pueblo in the distance with arroyos cut in the red rock and towering mesas all around. In the tiny town of San Ysidro, we'll get on the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway. You'll notice as we begin our climb that the mountains around us will get higher and the rock will start turning red. The red rock will be at it's peak after we drive by the Jemez Pueblo and make our stop at the visitors center. You'll have 45-minutes to take pictures by the red rock walls, shop their beautiful collection of local Native American pottery, jewelry, and cultural gifts, and walk through the Walatowa History Museum. (Restrooms Available)
STOP #2: 11AM, JEMEZ SPRINGS
Our next stop will be quaint mountain town of Jemez Springs. Formerly called the Pueblo of Guisewa, it was occupied until the 15th century by ancestors of present day Jemez (Walatowa) people. Spanish missionaries arrived in 1541 and established missions in the area, one of which was San Jose de Guisewa built in 1621. These stone ruins still stand at the Jemez Historic Site. In addition to seeing this, you can visit art galleries and shops and grab lunch in one of the coffee shops or restaurants. We'll have only an hour here, so your guide will help your group make a plan of action beforehand! (Restrooms Available)
STOP #3: 12:05PM, SODA DAM
You can't travel the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway without stopping for a quick photo op at Soda Dam. This unusual geologic feature, which is essentially a hot springs deposit, is estimated to be 7,000 years old. The dam extends more than 300 feet in length across the Jemez River Valley. In addition, it is 50 feet high and 50 feet wide at the bottom. Where the river flows through the dam, it creates a unique natural soda bridge over the stream and a scenic waterfall. We'll make a quick stop to take some pictures.
STOP #4: 12:30PM, SAN DIEGO CANYON OVERLOOK
Our next stop will be high above the canyon floor among the pines of the forest at 8,200 feet elevation. Once we leave Soda Dam, the real climb begins! We'll wind our way to the top and stop at the San Diego Canyon Overlook. On our way up, you'll get several looks at the beautiful Jemez River as it flows down the mountain, and we'll pass a huge natural phenomenon called Battleship Rock. Once we arrive at the overlook, a short walk through the forest with your camera in hand will take you to an incredible clearing where you will see the canyon floor and grandiose mountains in the distance. (Restrooms Available)
STOP #5: 1:10PM, CALLES VALDERA OVERLOOK
This stop will take your breath away! The Valles Caldera is the sight of a spectacular ancient volcanic eruption that created a 13-mile wide circular depression known now for its huge mountain meadows and abundant wildlife. We'll stop on the edge of it where we'll get out and take it all in - including Redondo Peak, an 11,253-foot resurgent lava dome located entirely within the caldera. Your guide will tell you all about the caldera - including which movies and TV shows have been shot here!
FINAL STOP: SANTA FE! 3PM
The final one-and-a-half hour drive into Santa Fe is eye candy for the soul! You may be tempted to catch a bit of shut-eye, but oh, the sights you would miss! Canyons, ravines, mountain tops, forests, wildlife - and before you know it, we'll be making our way through the narrow, life-filled streets of Santa Fe's Old Town. This is what you came for, right?! Santa Fe is a city like no other. Legendary history, culture, and architecture. An art scene that spans from traditional to contemporary. And food! So many fantastic restaurants! You'll have 4 hours to explore Old Town Santa Fe where you will experience everything just listed within walking distance. You will make dinner reservations through us beforehand, and your guide will help you decide the best way for you to conquer Old Town. (Restrooms Available)
BACK TO YOUR CAR AT 8:15PM
We'll leave Santa Fe at 7PM for the drive back to the Montaño Rail Runner Station Park & Ride located at 130 Montaño Road NW in Albuquerque. Your group will be dropped off at your car, or if you'll be using a ride service like Uber or Lyft, you can have your driver meet you there at 8:15PM.
Physical Requirements: Light. All of the stops will require walking to some degree, but you can walk as much or as little as you'd like. Walking surfaces at each stop will be mostly hard surfaces. When we stop at Soda Dam and Valles Calderas, there will be some stones you'll need to walk on.
Packing the Day of: Storage space is limited in our transit van. We recommend bringing a small backpack. Ladies may also bring a purse. The weather at higher elevations in NM is often cooler with a higher chance of rain, so please pack a jacket. Bring a water bottle! Hydration is key in NM. There will be stops along the way where you can refill. Also, even if it's cool in NM, the sun is still relentless! So, please bring and wear sunscreen. Some type of hat is also highly recommended. And needless to say - Bring a camera!
Additional Costs: The cost per person is below. There are no additional costs required by Santa Fe in a Day, but you'll need money for lunch in Jemez Springs and dinner in Santa Fe. You may also want to bring money for shopping throughout the day, but please limit your purchases to smaller items as space in the transit van is limited. Credit cards are accepted everywhere we go. A gratuity for your guide is always welcome!
Weather: The weather in New Mexico is beautiful with 280 days of sunshine each year. However, weather can be a bit unpredictable at times - especially in the mountains. Most of the things we do can be done even if it's raining, but if there is snow that affects travel conditions, the trip may have to be cancelled. If so, you will receive a full refund.
COST: $199 PER PERSON
The cost of this once-in-a-lifetime 11-hour daytrip is $199 per person. This tour is a private tour for groups of 4 (minimum) to 10 (maximum) people. Get your group together and click the button below to begin the process of scheduling your own Santa Fe in a Day tour with your family and friends!