2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Dale Ball Trail System is accessible from numerous trailheads along the eastern side of Santa Fe.
Despite being so close to town, this respectably-sized trail system does a superb job of spreading out the trail traffic.
This excellent traffic management is due in part to the numerous cross trails and intersections that allow trail users to form loops of various sizes and varieties instead of all following the exact same route.
That said, there are a couple of recommended routes through the trail system.
The route mapped here, roughly following the perimeter of the Dale Ball Trails, is one of the longest and most popular routes. The Dale Ball Trails "contain a mix of smooth, silky lines and chunky, rocky ledges," according to [Broken Spoke Santa Fe](http://brokenspokesantafe.com/trails/dale-ball/).
This assessment is a great way to sum up the trails here.
The singletrack has a tendency to change from flowy, buff track with low berms in the corners to rocky, ledgy, chunky tech in a moment's notice… and then back again.
While you won't find any extended climbs in this trail system, the climbs tend to punch straight up the short, steep hills.
The cursory switchback or two does little to alleviate the lung-busting grades, especially if you're trying to power through this network at a good clip.
The constant up-down-up-down will cause your heart rate to spike and remain at max.
While you're never that high above Santa Fe's 7,000-foot elevation, this trail system can and will punish you! But those who are willing to brave chunky rocks and steep climbs will find a delightful network of singletrack that just never seems to end!