How to Pack for Your Santa Fe Vacation
If you're heading to Santa Fe...
...you’re about to get high. Really high. As in a mile and a half above sea level. Because of the altitude, a lot of visitors arrive unprepared. People think, “Santa Fe’s in the desert, so it must be hot, right?” Nope!
Santa Fe is located right where the high desert bumps into the Rocky Mountains, nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo range (Blood of Christ). Altitude in the mountains of Northern New Mexico makes such a huge difference in temperature, that even going from the southwest part of town (flat desert) to the north side (base of the mountains) you’ll notice a change. Head up Artists Road to the hiking trails near the Santa Fe ski basin, and the temperature can easily drop 10 degrees.
There’s also the sun to consider. At 7,000 feet and higher, the sun is intense! Just moving from sun to shade, you’ll feel a significant change in temperature. And then there’s the dry air. In the summer in Northern New Mexico (at high altitude), the highs might reach the low 90s for a brief time during the mid afternoon, but with no humidity, it feels much cooler. Just relax in the shade with some cold water, and you’ll be perfectly comfortable. (Important note: drink LOTS of water all day! It keeps you hydrated and helps your blood absorb oxygen. Altitude sickness is not fun. If you feel a headache coming on, drink more water.)
Crushable Hats to Pack in Your Suitcase or Backpack
Backpacks and Fleese
Backpacks come in handle whether you're in town or on the hiking trail.
What does all this mean in terms of packing?
For clothes, it means layers.
- T-shirts or tank tops with long sleeve shirts.
- Shorts AND long pants. (For those of you packing in the heat of summer, do not let the temperatures where you are stop you from packing long pants. It gets chilly in the high desert at night.)
- A lightweight jacket or sweater. (Yes, even in the summer. It gets chilly at night!)
- Sandals are fine during the day, as long as they’re flat and comfortable. Hiking boots or athletic shoes are better. (You’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven sidewalks, dirt roads, and gravel parking lots.)
- A hat! (Again, the sun is really intense.)
- If you’re renting a vacation condo, don’t forget house shoes and a bathrobe. Most casitas in Santa Fe have tile floors that help keep them cool. (Very few homes have air conditioning.) Those floors can be cold on the feet first thing in the morning.
Other things to pack:
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Saline nose spray (To prevent nose bleeds.)
- An umbrella (For portable shade and those afternoon showers.)
- A backpack or big tote bag (You’ll need this for carrying bottled water and the layers of clothing you’ll be taking on and off throughout the day.)
Spring and Fall: pack all the above plus a heavier jacket. Fleece vests are also a great layer to add. You might want a heavier bathrobe as well. Even in late August, I frequently start a fire in the morning to get the chill out of air.
Winter: add a heavy coat or parka, gloves, scarves, and a warmer hat. Leave off the umbrella since you’ll be getting snow, not rain.
The weather in Santa Fe is an absolute dream, but you really will experience a variety of temperatures throughout the day. Just dress in layers. And drink lots of water!
Learn More About Vacationing and Living in Santa Fe
- Skip the Santa Fe Hotel, Try a Santa Fe Vacation Rental
With so many charming neighborhoods walking distance to the Plaza, Canyon Road, and the Railyard, a vacation rental is often the better option for the perfect Santa Fe experience.
- Guide to Neighborhoods in Downtown Santa Fe
If you're looking for a vacation rental or thinking about buying a home, learn what each neighborhood downtown has to offer.
Book a Santa Fe Vacation Rental
- Casas de Santa Fe | New Mexico Vacation Rentals
Whether you want a casita right downtown or a luxury home with mountaintop views, Casas de Santa Fe has something for everyone and offers above average service.
Thing to Do in Santa Fe
- SantaFe.com - Your source for all things Santa Fe
Guide to Santa Fe restaurants, galleries, shopping, hotels, real estate and events calendar.
- Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau: santafe.org
Official Santa Fe, New Mexico tourism information, home, hotels, travel, museums, arts and culture, events, history, recreation, lodging, restaurants and more.
- THE COLLECTORS GUIDE: SANTA FE MUSEUM DIRECTORY
The Collectors Guide to art, lodging, and travel in Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Santa Fe Restaurants: Restaurant Reviews by 10Best
Find the best Santa Fe restaurants in Santa Fe NM. Read the 10Best Santa Fe reviews and view user
- Day hikes in Santa Fe New Mexico - Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works
- Santa Fe Railyard - Home
- Ski Santa Fe New Mexico
Welcome to Ski Santa Fe - Skiing and Snowboarding in Santa Fe, New Mexico
More by this Author
Whether you’re just starting a collection and want entry-level pieces or have a hunger for the real thing but not the pocket book, you have lots of options for finding treasure at a bargain. In this hub,...
Santa Feans are a demanding crowd when it comes to food, so it’s hardly surprising that even the lowly burger is elevated to new heights here. One ingredient does it all: freshly roasted Hatch green chilies! ...
With so many hidden treasures tucked away down narrow streets, it can be hard to choose. Fortunately, downtown Santa Fe is so small, once you’re there, pretty much everything is walking distance. There are some...