Santa Fe rests at an altitude of +7,000 feet and is nestled at the base of 12,000-foot mountains. Although Santa Fe is in a high mountain desert, our weather has four distinct but hospitable seasons. We receive an average of 14 inches of rain annually and enjoy 320+ days of sunshine a year (more than Florida!), with an average relative humidity comfortably below 35 percent. Evenings are cool even in summer, and winter generally brings snow for skiers. The rain showers of the summer monsoon season usually start up in the afternoon and last for an hour or two at most, leaving the rest of the day sunny and the evening pleasant and cool.
Given the above, please remember to hydrate and hydrate often. You should also consider sunscreen just to avoid any chance of burning.
What to Wear in Santa Fe
January: It’s winter! You’ll need stout shoes or boots to stay warm and dry, and a winter jacket is a must. Gloves are a necessity and definitely bring a hat, especially if your ears chill easily! Since the sun is usually out, lightweight down is a good choice, and be sure to pack at least one sweater.
February: There may still be snow, so your planning should still be winter-wear. On a nice day, a heavy sweater and down vest may be enough for a hike, but when evening comes, you’ll want headgear, gloves and winter jacket.
March: Spring is around the corner, so you can lighten up, although spring in Santa Fe is as changeable as it is elsewhere. Nights will still be somewhat cold, but sunny days may be fine with just a sweater and a lightweight polar-fleece or down vest. Gloves and a scarf will keep you warm if windy days blow through.
April: Sunny days can alternate with April showers or even a rare snowfall, so it is best to be prepared! A warm yet lightweight jacket is still a good idea at night. Daytime temperatures allow for much lighter outerwear. Long, lightweight pants are better than shorts for walking around the Santa Fe Plaza and the museums.
May: You can bring your sandals for daytime now, but you may still want socks or warmer shoes at night. Your outerwear can be lighter, as long as you have long sleeves underneath for nighttime. And you can bring the shorts too, but plan to change into warmer leg wear for the evenings.
June: Summer has arrived! Summer clothes for day will do at this altitude, but evenings will still be cool. A light jacket or sweater will get you through most occasions, and shorts or a casual skirt will keep you cool in the daytime. Sandals are great, but you’ll do lots of walking, so make sure you’re thinking comfort.
July: Although a cool night in Santa Fe may still require a shawl or sport coat, you can bring your summer clothes. The summer monsoon season brings most of Santa Fe’s annual rain, but it usually blows through town in an hour or so, cooling the day down nicely. Sunscreen, a sun hat and a t-shirt with sleeves will keep you from getting unwelcome, +7000-foot sunburn.
August: Afternoon rains are still likely, but since it’s mostly warm and dry in the daytime, protect your skin from the altitude and the sun. Casual summer clothing works best and it is always wise to have a light wrap handy at night. And your sturdy outdoor gear is a must if you plan to do some hiking, rafting or fly-fishing!
September: Autumn arrives and so does cooler weather. It may be like summer, or you may wish you had packed something warmer, so do that in advance. Yes to a light jacket, and if you are a “cold hands warm heart” person, bring a sweater too. Sandals are okay, but also flat shoes will be fine without socks. Or you can pick up a cool pair of moccasins while you are here – they’ll fit nicely into a Santa Fe spiritual tune-up.
October: You know you’ll want to be outside, because it’s so glorious now. Walking shoes, a warm but lightweight jacket, long pants and a scarf should all be in your suitcase when you unpack, and bring gloves if you plan to hike up in the higher country. Casual attire is Santa Fe-style, even for dining or visiting great museums like the O’Keeffe.
November: Snow is just around the corner, if it hasn’t already made an appearance. Now you’ll need a proper winter coat, even if you shed it over the back of a chair, and the gloves, hat and scarf will come in handy. Even with snow, Santa Fe streets dry up very quickly and, if boots take up too much luggage space, you can do without.
December: The last month of the year is not necessarily the snowiest month, but we always hope that the snowflakes will make an appearance for the holidays! You’ll need standard winter gear, inner wear and outer wear, and silk underwear makes a nice lining in case of a real cold snap. On a sunny day, you may get by with a wool sweater and a down vest, and on really sunny days, you may even be taking the vest off! Hat, gloves, scarf and boots are a good idea, especially if you plan to walk around downtown to see the farolitos on Christmas Eve, a wonderful Santa Fe tradition.
Santa Fe Weather Chart
|January||15°F to 43°F (-9° to -6°C) Light to heavy snow possible, plenty of sunshine|
|February||21°F to 49°F (-6° to 9°C) Still plenty of snow, the sun often melts it by afternoon|
|March||26°F to 56°F (-3°C to 13°C) Occasional light snow or rain – the Plaza starts to come alive|
|April||30°F to 64°F (-1° to 18°C) Light rain showers possible, as the flowers begin to bloom|
|May||37°F to 72°F (-3°C to 22°C) Comfortably warm spring sunshine, occasional light rains|
|June||47°F to 82°F (8°C to 28°C) Santa Fe life swings in the warm dry weather|
|July||52°F to 84°F (11°C to 29°C) Warm and dry mornings with refreshing afternoon monsoon rains for about an hour|
|August||51°F to 81°F (11°C to 27°C) Brief afternoon thundershowers relieve the heat of the day|
|September||44°F to 75°F (7°C to 24°C) Everyone heads outdoors to enjoy the approach of fall|
|October||34°F to 67°F (3°C to 19°C) Crisp and sunny, the leaves are turning|
|November||24°F to 55°F (-4°C to 13°C) Bundle up for a crisp, clear autumn|
|December||16°F to 48°F (-9°C to 9°C) Step out in a scarf or snuggle by the fire – snow may be in the air|