Santa Fe Botanical Garden – Santa Fe, New Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Santa Fe Botanical Garden

This high desert botanical garden is a unique display of New Mexico’s ecology and culture. 


This is not your average botanical garden. There are no manicured lawns or giant beds of flowers here. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden, located on the New Mexico capital’s Museum Hill, features a mashup of native and non-native plants, all chosen to survive in the high desert environment where water is scarce. 

The first part of the garden features an orchard, flanked by meadows and xeric gardens. Xeriscaping, the art of using landscaping techniques to preserve water in arid conditions, is prevalent all over the garden. This area also features an “Art Trail” featuring sculptures by local artists. The statues are replaced from time to time, creating a new experience with each visit.

The next section, across Kearny’s Gap Bridge, features the Ojos y Manos (Eyes and Hands) Garden. This section of the garden serves as an educational and cultural space. The Horno Plaza, designed by landscape architect W. Gary Smith, features a collection of traditional adobe outdoor ovens. The amphitheater is used for a variety of cultural demonstrations, from weaving and cooking to concerts and theatrical performances.

Just past Ojos y Manos is the Piñon-Juniper Woodland, over three acres in size. This section is left relatively unaltered, and is a great place to experience the natural ecosystem of northern New Mexico. The Botanical Garden also manages several outside trails, including one designed for bikers. Others wander along the arroyo, alternating between thickets of flowering desert bushes and views of the surrounding landscape. There is perhaps no better place to learn about the high desert environment of New Mexico.

Know Before You Go

Wear sunscreen and hiking shoes, as some of the trails are narrow and steep. Plan on spending at least two hours here and walking over a mile at altitude if you desire to see the entire garden, including the arroyo trails.

Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for children aged 4-17, and free for children aged 3 and under. Membership comes with a variety of benefits, including free admission to the garden year-round. 

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