Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe wants guests to get out of their rooms and go explore their surroundings.
The luxury hotel is home to an exclusive adventure center, from which guides will lead guests through the stunning landscapes of northern New Mexico. And that includes taking guests to a secret hiking area on the “Journey to Abiquiu.”
On the Journey to Abiquiu, guests will visit an area known as “Valley of Shining Stone,” which offers hikers the chance to see a variety of hidden canyons and vistas, each filled with history, geology, ethereal rock formations, and quiet wonder.
This area is on private land owned by Dar al Islam mosque. “It’s gated and requires an access code,” Hans Loehr, the hotel’s experiences architect, tells Travel + Leisure. “We have a written agreement to visit.”
As Loehr explains, the site is only accessible by car. Intrepid guests will drive down a rough gravel road from Abiquiu, New Mexico. After a 45-minute drive, guests then take to a short — but steep — trail by foot.
“It’s considered a sacred place, hence the remote location and limited permits,” Loehr says. “I am not aware of any other outfitter having a permit, most definitely no other resort.”
Loehr adds, “people visiting it should consider themselves lucky to even find it. Archaeologists estimate the construction of the site took place in the late 1300s, consisting of about 400 rooms. Due to the remoteness, we send two guides, one of [whom] is an archaeologist or geologist. It’s a rewarding all-day adventure.”
“The idea is to provide a guided, narrated, interpretive drive to Plaza Blanca with an experienced guide,” Loehr says. “The ‘Yogihiker’ will take over once we reach the destination, Plaza Blanca, an area of stunning beauty, loved by Georgia O’Keeffe, with very limited access allowed.”
A short hike will bring the guests into the “gateway,” where they will then take part in a smudging and intention-setting ceremony. This is followed by a hike through the White Place, yoga, and a Mandala meditation. Finally, guests will head back to the gateway for a delicious lunch.
Guests can also try additional excursions at the Four Seasons’ adventure center, including guided hikes, mountain biking, hot air balloon rides, and much more. Of course, guests can also head back to the resort to indulge in its spa, sit by the pool, or relax in their personal casita. Learn more about the hotel and all its adventurous offerings here.