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While Picacho Peak isn't as popular of a hike as nearby Atalaya Mountain, this route offers a shorter, less strenuous peak hike option near Santa Fe. The trail starts near Santa Fe Canyon Preserve in a wooded area, climbing steeply up the mountainside.
The hike passes through a forest of juniper scrub, ponderposa pine, and pinon pine.
Eventually, the trees thin, and expansive views of the area begin to open up before you.
"The last mile of the hike is up numerous short switchbacks," and the final 500 yards is even steeper, according to Denis LaBlanc on [OutdoorProject.com](https://www.outdoorproject.com/united-states/new-mexico/picacho-peak-hike). At the summit, Picacho Peak provides stunning 360-degree views over Santa Fe! This short hike provides "perhaps the biggest return for the effort" of any hike in Santa Fe, according to LaBlanc. Since Picacho Peak is located in the Dale Ball Trail System, you can either return to your car via the same route or utilize other trails in the system to create a longer hike.
If you're up for a big day in the mountains, you could even connect to Atalaya Mountain for a big loop, tagging multiple peaks. Sources: https://www.outdoorproject.com/united-states/new-mexico/picacho-peak-hike https://wandernewmexico.com/blog/best-day-hikes-near-santa-fe