Nambe Falls – Hidden Gem of New Mexico!
Nambe Falls in New Mexico may not have the grandeur of Niagara Falls, that massive tourist attraction that forms part of the border between the state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario that sees over 30 million visitors a year. Nambe Falls may not have the ease of access like its sister waterfall in Washington state, Snoqualmie Falls does; an area that sees over 1.5 million visitors each year. But one thing is for certain, Nambe Falls, located just sixteen miles outside of Santa Fe New Mexico has culture and tradition aplenty to go along with its rugged and beautiful landscape.
Owned by the people and not a state run park, the area of the falls is more primitive and far less commercial than what you would see in a National Park. It is a registered historic landmark, but the signage and roads are lacking and of the dirt variety respectively. Not that that should deter you from visiting this hidden gem, in fact quite the opposite as it is a natural place in its very natural state and one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Mexico.
Nambe Falls makes a great day trip from Santa Fe, and gets you out of the city and into the fresh mountain air, where you can commune with nature, marvel at the spectacular scenery, splash in the little ponds and rivers or climb and hike for amazing waterfall views. The area is at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and encompasses some 19,000 acres surrounded by national forest.
A short 15 minute hike gets you to the base of the Nambe waterfalls and then you can either relax in the spray or paddle in the pool at the base, or you can choose to climb up the side of the canyon, following the path of course, which will afford you a bird’s eye view of the falls and surrounding rock formations.
Sitting above the falls is the Nambe Dam and lake, the lake being 56 acres in area and fully stocked with trout, making it a great place for those fishermen and women among us. Boating is also a popular activity on the lake that is cooler than those further downstream, great for those hot summer days! Sure to be a great addition to any Santa Fe vacation package, this area is nature at her finest coupled with plenty to do to keep the whole family entertained.
Nambe Falls is only open Thursday through Sundays, and they allow you to picnic in the Plaza surrounded by adobe picnic shelters and even stay over to camp in one of the campsites on the premises. If camping isn’t your thing, the falls and surrounding area are in close proximity to many Santa Fe hotels and the many attractions that big city has to offer. Although it isn’t as commercial as other sites, this natural gem shouldn’t be missed!