The 17-mile Santa Fe Rail Trail follows the old Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway line, beginning in the Railyard park in town and continuing along the tracks to Highway 285 through El Dorado to Lamy, incorporating urban, suburban and rural characteristics. Beyond the capital city, it runs along hilly, red-dirt terrain among a countryside of yucca and green junipers.
The Santa Fe Rail-Trail offers a flat, if jolty, journey. It's paved and accessible between the Railyard and Rabbit Road. Beyond that it's unimproved. A few steep climbs, arroyos (dried creek beds) from rain run-off cutting gulches across the surface and "goathead" sandspurs lurking in the soil produce plenty of hang-on-to-your-britches moments. Some stretches, like near Rabbit Road, are particularly bumpy, making it mostly used by mountain bikers. Be warned, however, a little rain can change the trail in minutes and make for a soupy ride if you're caught in it.
Trail managers do have plans to re-align segments and resurface some areas of the Santa Fe Rail-Trail to reduce erosion and make the trail safer.
To reach the Rabbit Road trailhead in Santa Fe, head south on S. St. Francis Drive until you pass under I-25. Take a right heading west on Rabbit Road and follow for about a half-mile until you reach the railroad tracks and a small parking lot on the left. At the southern end, outside of Lamy, the trail and railroad tracks can be picked up near Cerro Alto Road off Highway 285.
You can find other trailheads with parking at the trail intersections with Nine Mile Road, Avenida Vista Grande and Avenida Eldorado. Users can also access the trail at Spur Ranch Road, but there are no facilities.