A day with Santa Fe Walkabouts: tour of Santa Fe

Families looking for an active way to see the New Mexico desert outside of Santa Fe will definitely want to book a tour with popular local tour company Santa Fe Walkabouts. These guys offer more than a tour of Santa Fe: they take you outside the city limits either on foot (for a hiking tour), on bike, or in their unique Pinzauer off-road vehicle.


We decided to try their half-day (3 hour) Pinzauer Tour to La Bajada Mesa, which takes families from downtown Santa Fe to the historic (original) Route 66 in the high desert. This 4×4 adventure starts out calmly enough along dirt roads to the national forest boundary, where the Swiss military vehicle gets the challenge the rocky, steep, and sometimes daunting descent down the La Bajada hill road. Guests ride in the back of the Pinzauer, on cushioned benches with lap seat belts. There are roll bars to hang onto. We were in great hands with our driver (and owner of the tour company) Georges. During the tour, it was clear to me that Georges and his partner Sue love their jobs: they were able to point out many natural and historical sights along the way, while keeping us safe in the vehicle.


The ride in the Pinzauer was certainly windy, but not uncomfortable. I recommend the tour for families with older kids, as there are long periods of sitting and riding. My tweens and teens would get a big kick out of the many steeps grades and rugged terrain navigated. At times, the vehicle listed (safely) over 20-40% in either direction, and took at least 30% grades.

Along the way, we were lucky enough to have a Route 66 expert with us, who was able to point out remains of the original Camino Real trading route and road. We also stopped to see petroglyphs and even spotted a rattlesnake (and then gave it a wide berth).

Keep in mind that bathrooms are not available during the tour, and you’ll want to bring layers to wear during the windy ride. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must!


Tip: for parents who want to dig deeper into area history and culture (and have a sitter at the hotel), we recommend attending a lecture by Southwest Seminars . The team here has rich knowledge of the region, and incredible insight. Lectures are held almost every Monday evening at 6 pm at the Hotel Santa Fe.

Tour cost:

The 3-hour Pinz ride and hike we experienced costs $83/person, very standard for this quality of tour. We were offered bottled water as needed, but bring your own snacks if you’ll want them. You’ll be back in time for lunch.

Contact information:

Santa Fe Walkabouts picked us up at our hotel. Call the company to book a tour and find out where to meet them: 505-216-9161.

As I disclose whenever applicable, Santa Fe Walkabouts hosted me during my tour, for the purpose of review. Without their hospitality, I would not be able to share this experience with my readers.



About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



Leave a Comment