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En route, vast vistas of amber-tinged badlands, azure mountains and abundant opportunities to hike, bike, ski, camp, picnic or snowshoe make this byway a refreshing break from Santa Fe's cultural deluge.
The road jogs through Hyde Memorial State Park, where the massive stone-and-log Hyde Park Lodge recalls fabled Old World hunting castles. For campers who prefer the comfort of civilized digs, the park offers seven electric sites in addition to group shelters, picnic areas, trails and 50 developed campsites. Trailheads, picnic areas and campgrounds beckon travelers into the backcountry, where aspen meadows and sparkling waterfalls could lead one to forget this is the high desert – if not for the vistas of the Arroyo Seco badlands beyond. Winter snowfall lures snowshoers and cross-country skiers to backwoods trails and downhill skiers and snowboarders to the groomed slopes of Ski Santa Fe, where chairlifts rise 1,650 vertical feet to Tesuque Peak at 12,000-feet elevation.