Southwest Mountains Provide Cool Summer Breezes For Hikers, Bikers, Sightseers
When it’s crackling hot in the high desert of the Southwest, locals and visitors alike gaze longingly at the mountains – and many of them get up there to cool off.
In Arizona and New Mexico this summer, the chairlifts are running, and the resorts offer a plethora of warm-weather activities to entice folks into the high country.
Here’s a snapshot of what resorts in The Grand Canyon State and the Land of Enchantment have to offer:
Arizona Snowbowl. Chairlift operates Friday-Sunday and deposits riders at 11,500 feet for panoramic view of Flagstaff and northern Arizona area. Disc golf course wins awards, and there’s plenty of hiking.
Sunrise. Open Fridays-Sundays, the chairlift does double duty for sightseers and mountain bikers to the eastern Arizona mountains. A summer tubing hill, disc golf course and bag jump add excitement at the base, and there’s fishing and boating nearby at Sunrise lake.
Mount Lemmon. A half-hour lift ride rises nearly 1,000 feet to the 9,100-foot summit, where views of the San Pedro Valley, Reef of the Rocks Tucson and distant Phoenix mountains spread out below. Sky Ride lift open Thursdays through Sundays.
Pajarito.Two dozen mountain biking trails wind down the New Mexico resort. Lift access on Saturdays only through Labor Day, but hiking and biking trails always open. Concerts, food fests and famed ULLR Fest in September dot the summer calendar.
Taos Ski Valley. New Mexico’s largest resort just opened its first mountain bike trail, the Berminator, from top of Lift 1, which runs Thursday-Sunday to Sept. 1. Beginner area Pioneer lift accesses modest base terrain. Disc golf and horseback trail riding also on tap.
Angel Fire.The mountain biking at this New Mexico resort is renowned, but there’s also an 18-hole golf course, disc golf, horseback riding, and ziplines to keep everyone entertained. Nearby Monte Verde Lake holds trout. Chairlift to 10,650-foot summit runs daily into September.
Sipapu. Northern New Mexico guides offer up free fly fishing workshops every Saturday on Rio Pueblo, and a world-class disc golf course winds around the base area. Lift doesn’t run in the summer, but hiking trails run into the cool pine woods. Free geocaching goes on all summer in two locations.
Ski Apache. On Thursday-Sunday, the Southwest’s only gondola climbs to 12,000 feet in elevation for panoramic views of southern New Mexico. Gondola has mountain bike hooks so riders can hit the 5.5-mile downhill trail. There’s disc golf and hiking to keep things active, too.
Sandia Peak. Presently, the trails at the resort above Albuquerque are closed due to fire danger, but the world-famous Sandia Peak Tramway runs daily to the 10,400-foot summit of Sandia Peak. Check Website for openings.
Photo: New Berminator bike trail at Taos Ski Valley (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)