Weekend Getaways: From High Desert Adventure to Luxurious Mountain EscapesSarah Innerarity
If scenic hikes, museums, and endless culinary options sound like the recipe for a perfect weekend, Santa Fe is an ideal destination. Located in northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo foothills, Santa Fe was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610 and its architecture is influenced heavily by the Pueblo Spanish Revival style with adobe, signature flat roofs, and courtyards. New Mexico is famous for Southwestern dishes with red and green chile, which vary in spiciness based on the restaurant. Santa Fe also has upscale options for French cuisine, Italian food, tapas cafes, and steakhouses.
The Dale Ball trail system is a 25-mile network of trails for hikers and bikers in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Just minutes from downtown Santa Fe, the trails provide access to the mountains and a variety of options with beginner, intermediate, and challenging terrain. Native cacti, sage, and juniper dot the landscape and offer prime views of the city. Signage, arrows, and maps make these trails easy to navigate and connect to other area trail systems including Little Tesuque, Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, and Dorothy Stewart. With a sunny arid climate and average high temperatures in February and March in the upper 40s to mid 50s, it’s a comfortable time of year for hiking and biking; make sure to dress in layers and wear sunscreen.
Santa Fe is also home to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, which welcomes art buffs throughout the year. O’Keefe is renowned for her landscapes, abstract flowers and animal skulls, and this venue in central Santa Fe features her works via rotating exhibitions. Her former home in Abiquiu, 60 miles from Santa Fe, is also open to guided tours during certain months. Meow Wolf, the immersive experience now in multiple cities, began in Santa Fe. With over 70 rooms of explorable and interactive art, allow plenty of time to discover the space with secret passageways, mysterious portals, and a mystery for guests to solve.
For a luxurious mountain getaway, journey to Aspen for refined culinary options, high-end lodging, and on-mountain adventures. Founded in the 1880s as a mining camp during the silver boom, this destination in the Elk Mountains has become a favorite locale for celebrities, skiers, and international visitors.
This mountain hamlet has a vibrant arts scene with the Aspen Art Museum featuring rotating exhibitions and events throughout the year. Aspen also has over fifteen galleries to explore which is exceptional for a town of 7,000 residents. Whether you’re interested in abstract paintings, sculptures, or pieces that evoke the Native American history of the area, art enthusiasts can find inspiration in Aspen.
For an elevated Après option, AspenX Beach Club features DJs, champagne and cocktails, and a beach party collaboration with artist Gray Malin at 11,200 feet. Another high-end offering this winter is skiing to a private leisurely lunch at Buckhorn Cabin, with stunning views of nearby Mount Hayden. Following this Chef-curated gastronomic delight at 10,870 feet on Aspen Mountain, a snowcat will ferry you and your guests back to town as the sun sets behind the mountains.
The storied Hotel Jerome has hosted everyone from Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson to 10th Mountain Division troops over the years. Cozy up with a craft cocktail or enjoy a unique dining experience. Taikun Sushi offers premium omakase sushi from New York City-based Chef Kei Yoshino at Hotel Jerome’s Bad Harriet through March 1st. Guests can enjoy a 14-piece, 9-course meal paired with bespoke cocktails, Champagne and sake.
Just a short road trip from Colorado, Moab in Eastern Utah offers hiking, mountain biking, and unrivaled access to National Parks. Canyonlands is the largest national park in Utah, and the Islands in the Sky district captivates visitors with its breathtaking views from the top of a 1,500-foot mesa. Abundant hiking trails and roads for four-wheel-drive access to the backcountry allow endless options for exploration.
Located just 5 miles north of Moab, Arches National Park has the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. The park, which offers over 76,000 acres of terrain, is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch are among the most well-known formations and have been featured in movies including Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and Thelma & Louise.
Considered a mountain biking Mecca, Moab is famous for the Slickrock Bike Trail, 9.6 miles of challenging, technical riding. But the area also offers beginner and intermediate trails including Bar-M Loop Trail with views of Arches National Park. In the Amasa Back Area, Rockstacker is physically demanding trail, with a climb of 500 feet to the Pothole Arch Trail and an 11% grade. Dead Horse Point State Park’s intermediate Prickly Pear Trail offers 3 miles of twists, climbs and descents through prickly pear forests, as well as glimpses of the West Shafer Chasm. The Klonzo trail system is less than 30 minutes from downtown with variety of beginner options that can be pieced together to choose your own adventure.
After a dusty day on the trails, kick back at the Moab Brewery. They offer an extensive list of craft beers along with burgers, flatbreads, and tacos. https://www.themoabbrewery.com/ For lighter options on Main Street, fuel up for adventure at Love Muffin Café, with coffee, housemade granola, salads, and freshly made sandwiches.