Rio En Medio
You can lose the crowds just by heading a little farther from town: Rio en Medio Trail (no. 163) begins north of Tesuque and leads along a clear stream to a series of waterfalls and then up some rather strenuous switchbacks to a large meadow that’s filled with wildflowers in springtime. From the trailhead to the first cascade is 1.7 miles; the meadow is at the 3.5-mile mark, and then the trail converges half a mile later with Nambe Trail (no. 160), where you’ll probably want to turn around, for a hike that will take a total of four or five hours.
To reach the trailhead, drive north out of Santa Fe on Washington Avenue, which becomes Bishop’s Lodge Road (Highway 590). Drive straight through the village of Tesuque and then turn right in less than a mile onto Highway 592, following signs for the village of Rio en Medio. In the village, which you reach after 6.5 miles, the road turns into County Road 78-D, a very unpromising-looking dirt track that winds through front yards for 0.8 mile before ending in a small parking area. A forest road carries on from there for a short stretch, and then the trail proper heads off to the right and down along a stream.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition