The Parks of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Gravestones line the green hills of the historic Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico
Gravestones line the green hills of the historic Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico | © Glenn Nagel / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ildiko Hetesi
21 July 2020

Nature is never too far away when discovering New Mexico, even when in the city. In fact, without paying attention to the landscape, there cannot be real understanding of the people, history or culture of New Mexico. If time is cut short, the parks in and around Santa Fe are a good place to start to understand the nature of New Mexico.

Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve

Natural Feature
Map View

A 25-minute drive 15mi (24km) outside of the city center of Santa Fe, this natural preservation area is a great place to find out about indigenous plants, trees, birds and various animals living in marshy areas of the Southwest. Take a guided tour to get an exciting, in-depth view of nature and the preservation work. Visits are possible in all seasons, but make sure to check opening times before you go.

Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary

Natural Feature
Map View

A great diversity of wildlife lives in this 135-acre (55ha) park of natural wonders, including over 190 species of bird. By visiting this site, you also pay homage to two outstanding individuals of the Southwest. Randall Davey, a painter and art educator, had his studio in Santa Fe (fitted with early 20th-century furnishings, murals and a prohibition-era secret bar), which you can visit. The other of course is James John Audubon, an early American ornithologist and author of the 19th-century color-plate book called The Birds of America (1827).

Railyard Park Conservancy

Natural Feature
Map View

What used to be a giant rail yard belonging to the Santa Fe Southern Railways is today an urban space offering gardens, playgrounds, public art and performance space. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, there is a lively farmers’ market here with local produce, and the Railyard Artisan Market sets up tents on Sundays offering jewelry, pottery, herbal products, paintings and a lot more. It is relaxed, kid-friendly and a great chance to engage with the local art community.

Santa Fe National Cemetery

Cemetery
Map View

Although a little on the somber side, this is a must-visit for all history buffs and everyone who would like to pay their respects to the heroes of the nation. The beautifully laid out cemetery commands great views of the majestic skyline of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and provides a chance for long, meditative walks.

Cathedral Park

Park
Map View

For those who would like to see green, yet don’t wish to wander too far from the Plaza, right behind the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi there is the quaint little Cathedral Park. It is a great place to sit and people watch, ponder the long history of the place and admire the view of the cathedral. There are a number of plaques describing and commemorating historical events connected with Santa Fe.

These recommendations were updated on July 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.