The climate in northern New Mexico is mild. The summer and fall months are characterized by daytime temperatures in the mid-80’s and chilly nights. Winters are also mild, but snow depths can average 8 to 10 feet. The monsoon season normally begins mid-July and lasts until mid-September. Hikers and campers should prepare for these rainstorms.
Fishing is a great way to enjoy the forest. The SFNF has more than 620 miles of streams and lakes. Many of these aquatic areas are stocked with Rainbow Trout and the native Cutthroat Trout. Fishing licenses can be obtained at the New Mexico Game and Fish Department.
Game animals roam the Santa Fe. They include mule deer, elk, turkey, black bear, mountain lion, and bighorn sheep. There are many species of smaller animals and song-birds. Wildflowers abound.
There are 291,669 acres of wilderness in the Santa Fe. Wilderness is land set aside as part of wild America, where man is visitor. The natural environment has not been disturbed and travel is restricted to foot or horseback. No mechanical equipment is allowed. Wilderness areas include Pecos, San Pedro Parks, Dome, and the Chama River Canyon. Together these areas contain a rich, diverse resource, including 13,000 foot alpine peaks, large grassy and aspen filled meadows, streams, rivers, and glacial lakes, dramatic colorful canyons, and a broad range of wildlife, cultural resources, and recreation opportunities.
There are 1,002 miles of trails, some maintained by volunteer groups. Opportunities abound for hiking, horseback riding, trail-biking, and 4-wheel drive exploring. Many summer hiking trails become cross-country ski and snowmobile trails in winter.