Ten Great Outdoor Activities for Winter in New Mexico

Valles Caldera by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble on Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).

View of Valles Caldera from start of Coyote Call trail. Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr (CC-BY-2.0).

Winter weather can sometimes keep even the most adventurous of us hunkered inside. Here are suggestions from our board and staff to inspire you to bundle up and get outside in the new year.

  1. Go cross-country skiing. Colleen McRoberts suggests the Sandia Mountains (when there’s enough snow): “It’s beautiful, serene and great exercise.” Cindy Griesmeyer seconds her Sandias recommendation and adds Chama as a good cross-country destination, saying, ”I would love to try a yurt in Chama…I have heard it’s a great adventure.”
  2. Take a walk in the Rio Grande bosque to find porcupines in the naked trees!
  3. Snowshoe through Valles Caldera. Rent snowshoes at the preserve (limited availability) or from a ski shop on your way. There’s a free “Winter Trails Day” coming up on Jan. 10.
  4. Stroll through the neighborhood. While NM-newcomer Cass Landrum is still figuring out her favorite out-of-town trips, she spent a fun day exploring Old Town Albuquerque. Have you ever explored your town’s historic neighborhoods?
  5. Soak in hot springs. Jemez Springs and Ojo Caliente are two of Kathryn Venzor’s favorites.
  6. Visit a zoo. An insider tip from Kathryn, who works at Albuquerque’s Zoo–Winter is a great time to avoid the crowds and still see lots of animal activity. There are also zoos or wildlife centers in Carlsbad, Clovis, Alamagordo and Edgewood.
  7. Birdwatch at Bosque del Apache. Tens of thousands of Sandhill cranes and snow geese flock to the wetlands each evening. Your local pond or wetland is home to migratory waterfowl this time of year, too. What birds have you spotted this season?
  8. Hit the slopes in Taos. Weekend warrior Jamie Radenbaugh travels from Albuquerque to Taos each weekend. “Taos mountain has great terrain, and the adrenaline and fresh air is just the change of scenery I need to feel refreshed, albeit sore, on Monday morning!”
  9. Hike or bike in the sunny south. If the cold winds have you shivering, consider a day of hiking or biking in the Mesilla Valley around Las Cruces or the Chihuahuan Desert around Carlsbad. Many southern NM destinations have winter daytime temps in the 60s.
  10. Look up anywhere! Barbara Garrity loves walking in the bare trees and being able to see the birds nests. From your backyard to a nearby park to the forest, you can look up anywhere and enjoy nature in winter.

What outdoor winter activities would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below.

This article was originally published in EE Connections in January 2015 [PDF].