San Diego Canyon Overlook ~ Santa Fe National Forest
There are many nooks and crannies in western National Forests that are well worth checking out when passing through. Where a major road passes through a National Forest there usually are several attractions that can be found along the way. The Santa Fe National Forest is a good example of this, because all along New Mexico State Road 4 there is one unique outdoor adventure attraction after another waiting to be discovered!
Starting at San Ysidro in the valley and heading all the way up the mountain to Bandelier National Monument, a tourist will see several riverside fly fishing parking areas, recreation areas, historic sites and campgrounds along State Road 4. Santa Fe National Forest roadside signage for hiking trailheads, rock climbing sites, hot springs and scenic overlooks can be seen along this road too. For a first time visitor, some of these National Forest attractions may come as a total surprise, because all too often these kinds of fun destinations will barely show up on a map. Since not everybody is aware of these lesser known destinations, overcrowding is rarely a problem, so this is like music to the ears of those who just want to get away from it all.
One such interesting little destination that is all too easy to overlook when cruising on SR 4 through the Santa Fe National Forest is the San Diego Canyon Overlook. By the official description, this scenic overlook has a short nature trail that offers nice views of the heavily forested San Diego Canyon. It is not till a visitor hikes the short nature trail that the best part of this scenic overlook appears, which has nothing to do with views of the canyon below. In fact, the sight of San Diego Canyon may be pleasant, but it is nothing to write home about, especially since the bushes and trees obscure the view from the nature trail vantage points. The best part about this overlook definitely is not the scenic view! It is the picnic tables that are nestled in the tall pine forest that makes this tiny speck on a map so great!
Folks that like to do picnics know what is meant when they see a spot that looks perfect for a picnic, which is an accurate description of the San Diego Canyon Overlook. This area has plenty of shade, a cool breeze usually blows over the mountain ridge line and the pleasant fragrance of the tall pine trees is incredibly strong in this area, especially during the spring season. Fresh pine scented clean mountain air does have a way of invigorating the soul! A picnic basket full of cheese, bread, wine, fruit and charcuterie specialties is all that is needed for a memorable relaxing afternoon in the great outdoors.
Not everybody goes to the National Forests to participate in strenuous physical sports, especially after doing hard work all week long. Just like fans of Yogi The Bear already know, the National Forests are a favorite picnic spot for those who just want to get some fresh air and relax. The San Diego Canyon Overlook is easily overlooked when passing through and the view of the canyon is not that good, but the fresh aroma of the pine trees in the crisp clean mountain air is what will make a picnic here a memorable one!