Official State Tourism Site:
Official State Home Page:
National Parks and Monuments http://www.nps.gov/parks.html
National Monuments: Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Capulin Volcano, El Malpais, El Morro, Fort Union, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Petroglyph, Salinas Pueblo Missions, White Sands
National Parks: Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Culture Historical Park, Pecos Historical Park, Santa Fe Historic Trail
Forest Service www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml#newmexico
USDA site for National Forests: Carson, Cibola, Gila, Lincoln, and Santa Fe
GORP (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages)
National Parks, Forests and Monuments, State Parks, recreation areas, archaeological sites, The Best Of New
Mexico, Feature Articles.
New Mexico Magazine www.nmmagazine.com
Nation's oldest state magazine, "a portal to explore the Land of Enchantment".
New Mexico State Parks www.emnrd.state.nm.us/nmparks
Bluewater Lake, Bottomless Lake, Brantley Lake, Caballo Lake, Cimmaron Canyon, City of Rocks, Clayton Lake, Conchas Lake, Coyote Creek, El Vado Lake, Elephant Butte Lake, Fenton Lake, Henry McAdams, Heron Lake, Hyde Memorial, Leasburg Dam, Living Desert, Manzano Mountains, Morphy Lake, Navajo Lake, Oasis, Oliver Lee Memorial, Pancho Villa, Percha Dam, Rio Grand nature Center, Rockhound, Santa Fe River, Santa Rosa Lake, Storrie Lake, Sugarite Canyon, Sumner Lake, Ute Lake, Villanueva
Outdoor Tourism www.nmsu.edu/~redtt/
Links page with listings for biking, birds and wildlife, caves, Chihuahuan Desert, cliff dwellings, fishing/lakes/water sports, golf, horseback riding, hot springs, hunting, parks and monuments, river rafting, rock climbing and hiking, rocks/geological sites, sand dunes, skiing, volcanoes.
Roadside America www.roadsideamerica.com/map/nm.html
Cities and Towns
Acoma (Sky City) Occupied some time before 1150, this is one of the nation's oldest continuously inhabited sites. The residents tended fields on the plains below, then climbed 350 feet to their village on the mesa each night.
Founded in 1898 as a railroad stop, the town is primarily supported by tourism and the Holloman Air Force Base. Rocket research is conducted at the Air Force Missile Development Center, and work done at National Solar Observatory is an essential part of base operations.
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park Named for one of the state's most colorful characters, this park in Dog Canyon features his fully restored 19th-centruy ranch house and historical exhibits. Year-round water feeds a surprising variety of plants, which attracted prehistoric and modern inhabitants to the otherwise harsh landscape. On a west-facing flank of the Sacramento Mountains, the Apache used this deep ravine as a stronghold during 19th-century hostilities with the United States military.
Space Center www.spacefame.org
This enormous compound encompasses International Space Hall of Fame, Shuttle Camp, Stapp Air and Space Park and Astronaut Memorial Garden. Featured are tributes to trailblazers, international space program articles and an outdoor presentation of launch vehicles and spacecraft.
Toy Train Depot This old depot displays hundreds of toy trains and models. Outside there is a 16-inch gauge train trip running through neighboring Alameda Park.
Astride the Rio Grand between mesas and mountains, this city embodies the diverse cultures of the Anglos, American Indians and Spanish. Views take in the sweeping plateaus of the Rio Grande Valley, the Sandia Mountains, and dormant volcanoes silhouetted against colorful sunsets. Favorite attractions include Historic Old Town, Petroglyph National Monument, and the world-renown annual Kodak International Balloon Fiesta. Home to Sandia National Laboratories, the University of New Mexico and Kirtland Air Force Base.
Albuquerque Aquarium www.cabq.gov/biopark/aquarium
Gulf of Mexico habitats and marine life are exhibited, including sharks, stingrays and other types of fish.
Albuquerque Museum Of Art & History www.cabq.gov/museum
Exhibits depict Rio Grande Valley history pre-1680 to present, features of contemporary and historic regional artists, children's exhibits, and sculpture garden. Art classes, workshops and other programs are available.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
Several rare rattlesnakes are featured, as well as films and exhibits concerning snakes and other reptiles.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center www.indianpueblo.org
Arts and crafts market and museum featuring history and culture of New Mexico's 19 pueblo communities, some continuously inhabited since long before the discovery of America. Craft demonstrations and traditional dances presented on weekends.
Kimo Theatre www.cabq.gov/kimo/index.html
Newly renovated 1927 masterpiece of Pueblo Deco architectural style offers a pleasing variety of dance, music and theater productions.
Mission Of San Agustin De Isleta This heavily buttressed 1613 structure has been in continuous use since its 1692 restoration after the re-conquest.
National Atomic Museum www.atomicmuseum.com
at Kirtland Air Force Base traces the evolution of the nuclear age through photographs and films, and extensive outdoor exhibit of aircraft and hardware such as an original hydrogen bomb, missiles and artillery pieces. A documentary on the Manhattan Project is shown daily, and exhibits examine alternative energy sources.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Examines the geological origins and history of the Southwest. Hands-on exhibits include a time machine, walk-through volcano, replica of an ice age cave, life-size dinosaur models, naturalist center, learning garden and saltwater aquarium.
Old Town is the original 1706 city center named for the Duke of Albuquerque. A blend of small town and big city, boutiques and galleries bordering Old Town Plaza offer delightful foods, arts and crafts. Visitors enjoy bargaining with artisans and American Indian craftsmen selling handicrafts in the plaza.
Rio Grande Botanic Garden www.cabq.gov/biopark/garden
Exhibits including formal gardens, desert conservatories, plus water and plant displays examine the Southwest and desert climates. A changing demonstration garden is featured.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park www.frgnc.org
This 270-acre riparian forest offers refuge for 100-year-old cottonwood trees and 260 species of birds along 2 miles of nature trails beside the Rio Grande. A park highlight is the glass-walled library offering a unique opportunity to view bosque birds and wildlife. The visitor center offers hands-on activities and naturalist-led hikes.
Rio Grande Zoological Park www.cabq.gov/biopark/zoo
Exhibits representing over 300 species range from New Mexico prairie to Australian out-back to African plains. Among 1,300 animals featured are bison, polar bears, Komodo dragons, lowland gorillas and white Bengal tigers. Daily marine mammal feedings can be observed at a 350,000-gallon tank.
Tinkertown Museum A miniature circus and Western town inhabited by beautifully carved wooden people and moving vehicles are surrounded by a fence of 48,000 glass bottles.
Turquoise Museum A collection of rare turquoise specimens from around the planet.
University of New Mexico www.unm.edu
The modified Pueblo-style buildings of this 640-acre campus house the Centennial Museum, Symphony Orchestra, plus Art History and Thompson galleries.
Center for the Arts Features Southwestern artifacts, arts, photos and paintings from early 1800's to date.
Geology Museum of the University of New Mexico Twenty two exhibits explore geological time periods, the constitution of a variety of minerals, and the geology of the earth.
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology www.unm.edu/~maxwell
Over 10 million items from around the globe display worldwide culture and history of mankind through archaeological, photo, ethnological and skeletal collections.
Meteorite Museum Displays include meteorites found worldwide. The museum also engages in research and teaching of planetary and space sciences.
Angel Fire www.angelfirechamber.org
At the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this year-round resort was named by ancient Ute Indians who saw mysterious streaks of red and orange shooting into the morning sky. Year-round pastimes include water sports, horseback and mountain bike riding, hunting, hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails.
DAV Vietnam Veterans National Memorial
This sweeping memorial was proclaimed a National Monument in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. Dedicated to Vietnam War casualties, the hilltop chapel offers inspiring views of the surrounding valley and mountains.
Named for an enormous underground water reserve, oil and natural gas are also plentiful here. The area is home to the nation's first underground school, built to house 2,500 citizens during a nuclear attack. It is an easy drive to many natural recreation areas. Local activities include golf at Artesia Country Club.
Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center offers historical and art exhibits focused on local artists.
Brantley Lake State Park At 3,300 feet, this desert park is a delightful area for year-round camping and picnicking as well as fishing, water sports, trails and wildlife viewing. The visitor center presents historical displays of the Wild West Town of Seven Rivers.
Founded in 1890 across the Animas River from ancient Pueblo ruins, local activities include horse drawn carriage rides from the Historic Downtown livery to the Aztec ruins, auto racing at Aztec Speedway and Historic Main Street.
Aztec Ruins National Monument Misnamed by settlers, this ancestral pueblo was actually built by the Anasazi people in the 12th century. A quarter-mile self-guiding trail winds through the large West Ruin, a multi-story 400-room pueblo. The visitor center shows a video titled
"Anasazi", and forest rangers sometimes give interpretive talks.
Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village offers a collection of pioneer and American Indian artifacts, fossils and hundreds of historic photos. Numerous buildings reconstructed from original regional buildings include an 1880 cabin, blacksmith shop and schoolhouse. A lighthearted shootout is held each day at high noon.
Bernalillo Settled in the late 1600s, to the northwest is the Spanish-American village of San Ysidro and the Zia and Santa Ana pueblos. The mission at Santa Ana (closed to the public) is one of the oldest in the nation.
Coronado State Monument A self-guided trail takes visitors through the partially reconstructed ruins of the Pueblo of Kuaua in a Tiwa village settled in the 1300's, where Coronado wintered in 1540. Rare murals and artifacts have been found. There is a museum, river walk and overlook of the Rio Grande.
Zia Pueblo And Mission Established on a desolate mesa in the early 1800's, the ancient Zia sun symbol now appears on the New Mexico State Flag. Though the mission was shortly abandoned, the Zia keep old traditions alive through their prominent pottery works, arts, ceremonies and festivals.
Bloomfield World renowned as one of North America's finest fly fishing areas, the San Juan River runs south from 15,000-acre Navajo Lake reservoir, then directly through the city. The reservoir offers complete sport and recreation amenities. Activities include snow-sports 60 miles away at Purgatory Ski Resort, golf, and hundreds of miles of mountain bike, hiking and horseback trails. Popular with photographers, the region boasts bountiful wildlife.
Heritage Park displays re-creations of numerous historic and prehistoric dwellings of the San Juan Valley people. Ancient figures are etched into stone in the semi-underground Basket Makers pit-house.
Navajo Lake State Park A full array of water sports and services are available at this 15,000-acre lake, a short drive from town at 6,100 feet. It is nationally recognized for excellent trout fishing on the San Juan River below the dam. Hikers explore the primitive side canyons with a wide variety of wildlife, the visitor center presents illustrative exhibits, and the marinas offer boat rentals and fishing supplies. Traces of some of the earliest known southwestern villages are found in the area.
Salmon Ruin Displayed in the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library adjacent to the ruin are over a million artifacts recovered from this large 11th-century Anasazi complex.
Capitan Between the Sacramento and Capitan mountain ranges, this village reached its prime as a mining town in the 1890's. Now a hub for ranchers, hunters and visitors to Lincoln National Forest, it features antique shops and studios of painters, weavers, potters, jewelers and other artisans.
Smokey Bear Historical Park After a disastrous fire in the Capitan Mountains, a 4-pound black bear was rescued from a burned tree trunk. Nicknamed Smokey Bear, he lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. until his death in 1950, when he was returned and buried here. There is a half-mile interpretive trail, and visitor center with forest fire displays and educational fire prevention computer games.
The Pecos River winds through the center of this city founded in
1888. The extraordinary Pecos River Flume carrying water over the
river for irrigation was the world's largest concrete structure when
built, and is listed by "Believe It Or Not" as "the
river that crosses itself". Home to New Mexico State University,
it is near Lincoln National Forest, Lake Carlsbad and Brantley Lake
State Park. Flanking the river is the 4.5-mile Riverwalk with beaches
and a large grassy park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Over 45,000 acres preserving wilderness, the Chihuahuan Desert, and 94 known caves in the Guadalupe Mountains. The Carlsbad Cavern, with a profusion of beautiful formations and one of the largest subterranean chambers in the world, is summer home to a celebrated colony of migrating Mexican bats. The visitor center offers exhibits, and walking tours are available. The notable Lechuguilla Cave is the deepest limestone cave in the country.
Carlsbad Museum and Art Center displays works by local and regional artists, Peruvian and pre-Incan antiquities, Pueblo pottery, and early Mexican sculpture. Permanent collection concentrates on local and regional history, contemporary art and Native American arts.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park This range is an uplifted section of Capitan Reef, formed 280 million years ago in a shallow land-locked sea. One of the best preserved prehistoric fossil reefs in the world, the sheer peaks and deeply carved canyons draw scientists and tourists from around the world.
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park A 1.3-mile self guided tour traverses this 1,100-acre interpretation of Chihuahan Desert animal and plant ecosystems. The walk-through aviary is home to such wildlife as songbirds and eagles as well as elk and endangered Mexican wolves, a park highlight. Exhibits include a greenhouse, illustrative kiosks, bison and eagles.
Carrizozo This bustling tourist center and county seat offers easy access to the ghost town of White Oaks and to Lincoln National Forest in addition to it's own recreational facilities.
Valley of Fires Recreation Area http://gosouthwest.about.com/travel/gosouthwest/cs/valleyoffires1
In the badlands between the Oscuro and Capitan Mountains, a nature trail curves through the 2nd youngest lava flow in the continental US. Formed over 1,000 years ago when molten rock spewed from a series of steam vents shattering the Tularosa Basin floor, the flow is 44 miles long, 2 to 5 miles wide, and up to 165 feet thick. Picnic areas are available.
At the base of 10,000-foot Cumbres Pass, this valley offers pristine scenery and rich culture. A bustling tourist and lumber town, attractions include Apache ceremonies, 1880's boomtown history, Hispanic arts and crafts, and varied recreation.
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad www.cumbrestoltec.com
This authentic steam railroad winds through the spectacular San Juan Mountains along tracks that tamed the West. Views include the depths of Toltec Gorge and spires of Phantom Curve.
El Valdo Lake State Park At 6.900 feet in the northern mountains, this wintering grounds for bald eagles and other birds offers water sports, fishing and winter cross-country skiing, The 5.5-mile scenic Rio Chama Trail links El Vado to nearby Heron Lake. It is an ideal setting for group gatherings.
Chimayo Settled in 1600, this Spanish village is home to one of the oldest surviving plazas in the Southwest, as well as many historic structures and the eighth generation of celebrated blanket and rug craftsmen. East of town, on the "High Road to Taos", are two villages recognized for excellent craft work. Truchas inhabitants are master weavers, while excellent woodcarving is found in Cordova.
Cimarron This notorious settlement on the banks of the Cimarron River once housed Billy the Kid and Black Jack Ketchum. The St. James Hotel where Annie Oakley performed with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show still stands, as does the late-1800's jail. Nearby is the 3,600-acre Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, supporting large wildlife populations.
Cimarron Canyon State Park At 8,000 feet in the high country with towering cliffs and a crystalline river, the park is a portion of the immense Colin Neblett Wildlife Area. Activities include excellent trout fishing, viewing abundant wildlife, cross-country skiing, hiking and rock climbing on the sheer granite cliffs.
Clayton At the foot of the Rabbit Ear Mountains this town was established by the railroad in the 1880's as a cattle-driving town. Still a cattle town, it is also one of the leading producers of carbon dioxide, used in the recovery of oil.
Clayton Lake State Park In rolling grasslands at 5,100 feet, this lake offers outstanding fishing, and is closed to fisherman during the winter to provide a temporary refuge to migrating waterfowl. A short trail leads to a view of a 100-million-year-old dinosaur path with over 500 preserved ancient crocodile and dinosaur footprints.
At the summit of the Sacramento Mountains deep in the Lincoln National Forest is this year-round resort and recreation center offering breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities, galleries, museums and performing arts. With riding stables, snow sports, photography opportunities, countless trails, golf courses, camping and scenic by-ways, this is a wonderful retreat.
National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak
Open to visitors during the day, this solar research facility offers a visitors center and various types of self-guiding tours including the vacuum tower, hilltop dome and grain bin dome. Exhibits contain information about facility research, the telescopes, and the Forest Service operation.
Clovis This bustling county seat was established on the high plains in 1903 by the joining the railroads. The internationally recognized Blackwater Archaeological Site, home to ancient Clovis Man, was discovered here in 1932 and draws visitors from around the world. The newly rejuvenated Historic District features cultural venues, shopping and dining. Buddy Holly recorded "Peggy Sue" and other hits here at Norman Petty Studios and the Model Train Museum in the restored Santa Fe Depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby are Cannon Air Force Base, a small fishing lake at Oasis State Park, and the captivating view and shows at Caprock Amphitheater.
Columbus Invaded by General Pancho Villa and his guerrillas in 1916, it was from here that General Pershing retaliated by leading 6,000 troops into Mexico. The Columbus Historical Society Museum exhibits artifacts from the attack. Several buildings from the time of the raid still stand.
Pancho Villa State Park The 60-acre park commemorates the 1916 raid with comprehensive historical exhibits. The visitor center occupies the 1902 U.S. Customs House and interpretive paths meander through an extensive desert botanical garden.
With the Florida Mountains as a backdrop, this lively county seat in the high desert offers excellent climate. The area is a noted
rock-hounder's utopia, with the mountains yielding a profusion of semi-precious stones. Attractions include golf, nearby Gila National Forest and Old Mexico.
City of Rocks State Park Over 650 acres of volcanic rock has been carved by water and wind for 30 million years into unique rows of magnificent rock monoliths. The area was inhabited until 1200 AD by ancient Mimbres Indians who left behind shards of pottery and arrowheads. Passing Spanish conquistadors later etched mysterious crosses on the rocks. A small desert botanical garden and hiking trails showcases desert flora and fauna. It is home to
javelina, deer and rabbits, plus over 35 species of birds from finches to Golden Eagles.
Deming Luna Mimbres Museum www.nmculture.org/cgi-bin/instview.cgi?_recordnum=mimb
Outstanding displays feature the pottery and legacy of the Mimbres Indians who settled in the area 1,000 years ago. Also exhibited are military history, pioneer and railroad artifacts, a cowboy display, gems and minerals, and antique autos.
Rockhound State Park This 250-acre park on a rugged slope of the Little Florida Mountains is named for the profusion of quartz crystals, geodes, opals and agates found here. Visitors are welcomed to take up to 15 pounds of rock and semi-precious gemstones. Hiking trails lead to spectacular views of the 7,000-foot Florida Mountain peaks and of the Burro Mountains to the northeast where turquoise is mined.
Domingo Once a stage stop, the 1883 trading post is one of the largest in the region. West of the Rio Grand River is the Cochiti Dam and Cochiti Pueblo.
Santo Domingo Pueblo www.newmexico.org/culture/pueblo_santodomingo.html
Fine jewelry and exquisite craft work is traded in shops throughout the pueblo, and a small museum and cultural center offer informative exhibits.
Dulce The capital and primary town of Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, area artisans are known for distinguished baskets and other ornate handiwork. Watching artisans create at the Arts and Craft Museum, hunting and fishing are popular activities.
Edgewood Nature Park www.wildlifewest.org/naturepark/
This zoo and wildlife refuge spotlights 122 acres of native New Mexico plants and animals, with wetlands providing habitat for migrating birds. A 2-mile nature trail, interactive programs with animals, bird handling classes and picnicking are available.
Espanola was founded in 1598 as a rail center between the Truchas and Jemez Mountains in the Rio Grande Valley. A portion of the original narrow-gauge railway still operates.
Abiquiu Lake Thirty miles northwest of town, this lake offers water skiing, swimming, jet skiing and pontoon boat cruising.
Pojoaque and Nambe Pueblos www.newmexico.org/culture/pueblo_pojoaque.html
Indian artisans offer famed black-on-black and intricate red pottery, beadwork, embroidery and sculpture. Other pueblo offerings include museums, a cultural center, plus San Juan Lake, Santa Clara Recreation Area, and Nambe Falls Recreation Center at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Puye Cliff Dwellings www.hanksville.org/voyage/misc/puye.html
Along and into the sheer cliffs bordering the mountain canyons are the ruins of AD 1250-1550 Anasazi culture cliff dwellings. One hiking trail leads up prehistoric stairways and ladders past many of the ruins to the Community House, while another follows the mesa top to a 740-room pueblo and the reconstructed ceremonial chamber. A profusion of petroglyphs adorn the cliff walls.
In the scenic San Juan River Valley amid rugged mountains and desert highland scenery, highlights include outdoor recreation, arts and entertainment. Attractions include water sports at Navajo Lake State Park and Angel Peak Recreation Center, ancient Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon, trails in the 5-mile river corridor, Four Corners Vietnam Memorial Wall, gaming casinos and snow skiing.
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness www.wilderness.net/nwps/wild_view.cfm?wname=Bisti%20%2F%20De-na-zin
Almost 45,000 acres encompass these unique geological sandstone and shale formations, eroded by water and wind into hoodoos and badlands. Fossils are abundant, but not much wildlife inhabits this somewhat forbidding land. Backpacking and horseback riding are allowed.
Farmington Museum www.farmingtonmuseum.org
A multi-site museum comprised of the Farmington Museum, the Gateway Museum & Visitors Center, the E3 Children's Museum & Science Center, the Riverside Nature Center and the Harvest Grove Farm & Orchards Exhibit Barn.
Fort Sumner Now an agricultural center, this fort was established in 1862 as an Army post and core of a permanent reservation for Apaches and Navajos being resettled by Col. Kit Carson. The Navajos returned to their homelands when the fort was abandoned in 1868. Water sports are abundant at nearby Pecos River.
Fort Sumner State Monument The building complex where Navajo and Apache people were interned 1863-1868 no longer stands, but a marker details Fort history. The visitor center and Old Fort Sumner Museum feature Fort history and items relating to the military, Indians and archaeology. Billy the Kid is buried behind the museum.
Sumner Lake State Park Sixteen miles from town, this 4,500-acre lake is stocked with fish, and provides winter refuge for migrating waterfowl. Popular activities include water skiing, windsurfing and jet-skiing.
A unique mix of lively enterprise and traditional Native America, this is the largest Indian hub in the Southwest. The area offers mild high-desert climate, photogenic scenery, and an abundance of shops and galleries presenting authentic arts and crafts, intricate Zuni sterling silver jewelry and stunning Navajo blankets and rugs. In town are the Historical Museum, Navajo Code Talkers Room and Zuni Museum and Heritage Center.
Gallup Cultural Center housed in the restored historic railroad depot includes a visitor center, the Kiva Cinema, Storyteller Museum and Ceremonial Gallery. All attractions are free to the public.
Red Rock State Park The highlight is a natural amphitheater turned rodeo arena at the foot of red sandstone cliffs. The museum exhibits arts and crafts tracing Southwestern Native American history and culture. The park is the site of the annual balloon rally.
The discovery of one of the largest uranium reserves in the world in 1950 transformed this farming area into a booming mining town. Today visitors come for the arts and crafts, explore ice caves and ancient Anasazi ruins, hike lava flows and mountains, and enjoy year-round recreation at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Bandera Crater, Mount Taylor, El Malpais and El Morro National Monuments. The Acoma Pueblo Museum traces Indian culture through expansive exhibits and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum offers fun hands-on exhibits and world-class artwork.
Bluewater Lake State Park On the north flank of the Zuni Mountains, rolling hills studded with juniper and pinon trees encircle this lake carved in shale and limestone in the Las Tusas Basin. Stocked with fish and home to over 60 species of birds, the 3,000-acre lake is popular for year-round fishing, bird watching, water skiing and jet skiing.
Casamero Pueblo Visitors find 22 ground-floor rooms of a single structure built by the Chacoan people between 1000 AD and 1125.
New Mexico Museum of Mining Exhibits detail the 1950 uranium discovery. A short elevator ride reaches down to "Section 26", a lifelike replica of a mine beneath the museum, where visitors take a self-guided tour of informational panels and authentic mining equipment.
This city offers many attractions including golf and tennis, two small lakes for fishing and water sports, the Southwest Symphony and the Community Playhouse, plus the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. Within a short driving distance is horse racing, gambling, snow skiing, camping, the Roswell UFO Museum, Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Brantly Lake.
Harry McAdams State Park This extensively landscaped park features two small ponds surrounded by greenery and a visitor center with historical exhibits.
Jemez Pueblo www.jemezpueblo.org
These tribal lands encompass over 89,000 acres where craftsmen, artisans and storytellers ply their trades in enchanting surroundings, and pottery, arts and crafts, native foods and tours are available. Noted as excellent dancers, several festivals and ceremonial dances are held each year. Recreation is abundant at nearby Santa Fe National Forest, Jemez Mountain National Recreation Area, and the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway.
Jemez State Monument preserves the ruins of Guisewa Pueblo, and the 1621 fortress-style San Jose de los Jemez Mission.
Laguna Pueblo Established in the late 1600 and divided into six villages, the bright and unusual Mission of the Pueblo of Laguna was built in 1699. Traditional pottery, paintings, jewelry and other handicrafts are available.
Las Cruces www.travel-info-las-cruces.com
Nestled between the Rio Grand and Organ Mountains, this city in the Mesilla Valley takes its name from a small group of crosses marking graves of casualties of an Apache ambush. Home to New Mexico State University and over 40 museums and galleries, Las Cruces offers a unique blend of culture, attractions, historic districts and year-round outdoor recreation. Nearby are Elephant Butte State Park, Gila National Forest, and White Sands National Monument, White Sands Missile Range, and Missile Museum & Park and Juarez, Old Mexico.
Fort Selden State Monument Preserved here is the remains of a 19th-century adobe fort, which housed the Buffalo Soldiers, the all-black cavalry unit, who protected the Mesilla Valley against Indian attacks. Nineteenth-century living history demonstrations are offered.
Leasburg Dam State Park
Constructed in 1908 for irrigation purposes, this pleasant park at 4,200 feet offers fishing, picnicking, kayaking and canoeing.
Museum of Natural History features flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert. Hands-on natural history and science exhibits are available for children. Changing exhibits range from the solar system to dinosaurs.
University Museum offers primarily anthropological collections examining cultural diversity, history and archeology in the U.S./Mexico border region. Secondary presentations include natural sciences and historic and prehistoric cultures.
Las Vegas In a high mountain meadow bordered by the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Great Plains to the east, this rough frontier town was a frequent stop on the Santa Fe Trail for desperadoes Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid during the 1880's. Today the town is a unique blend of many cultures with a rich history and over 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Outdoor activities include skiing, windsurfing, golf, hiking and camping.
Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Over 8,500 acres where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains provides a wintering environment for migratory birds including waterfowl and eagles. Photography, fishing and limited hiking are available in native grassland, ponds, forested ravines and marshes.
Storrie Lake State Park Consistent winds make this 80-acre lake at 6,400 feet a popular destination for windsurfing and catamaran sailing. The lake is open year-round for fishing, and the visitor center offers exhibits on 19th-century history and the Santa Fe Trail. Migrating waterfowl is abundant and walking trails pass through cacti and wildflowers.
Villanueva State Park High red and yellow sandstone bluffs protect this charming 1,600-acre park along the Pecos River. A footbridge provides access to hiking trails, which take visitors to fishing, views of old ranching ruins, a cliff-top vantage-point and a prehistoric Indian ruin.
Lincoln is notorious as having been the center of activity for the Old West outlaw Billy the Kid, and boasts a monument to the memory of a 5-day gun battle, known as the Lincoln County War, fought in 1878 for control of the area's economy and government beef contracts. There are several historical sites and tours available.
Ute Lake State Park This long and narrow Canadian River reservoir offers some of the state's best walleye fishing plus a full range of water activities such as water skiing, boat camping and a beach area. Wildlife is abundant and ducks, pheasant, antelope and deer are found in the lake's inlets and surrounding mesas and plains.
Los Alamos www.losalamos.com
sits on dramatically colored mesas cascading from the wooded foothills of the Jemez Mountains. Overlooking the Sangre de Cristo range and the Rio Grande Valley, the city is home to a symphony orchestra, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed. An easy drive to Bandalier National Monument, area attractions also include golf, the Pajarito Ski Area, and beautiful hiking trails.
Bradbury Science Museum www.lanl.gov/museum
A component of the laboratory offers science education and community programs. Five galleries contain over 40 high-tech interactive exhibits exploring basic research, defense and technology projects, and the history of the Manhattan Project.
Los Alamos Historical Museum Displays include Los Alamos National Laboratory's wartime era, plus artifacts of early Pajarito Plateau inhabitants.
The Arts Center at Fuller Lodge features regional and local artists and offers workshops and art classes.
Heron Lake State Park Among tall pines at 7,200 feet, this "quiet lake" allows motorboats to go no more than trolling speed, and is ideal for sailing, camping, windsurfing and ice fishing. Near Heron Dam is the dramatic Caprock Stairway, a section of the 5.5-mile hiking trail along the Rio Chama, which links Heron and El Vado lakes. Visitors enjoy excellent hiking and cross-country skiing.
Creek State Park Nestled at 7,700 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this park along the meandering Coyote Creek draws those who want to fish the densely stocked waters, and those who want to relax and enjoy the scenery. Visitors enjoy a 1.5-mile hiking trail through a ponderosa pine forest.
Morphy Lake State Park This small scenic lake at 8,700 feet is close to the Pecos Wilderness. Stocked with fish, it is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicle, horseback or foot and is limited to boats with electric motors. Picnic sites are available, and ice fishing is popular during the winter months.
Ojo Caliente www.ojocalientespa.com
Ancient Native Americans constructed pueblos and terraced gardens overlooking these primeval springs, fed by a subterranean volcanic aquifer. Today, the resort is on the National Register of Historic Places and the soothing waters still draw those seeking renewal. Numerous baths, pools, yoga classes and massages are available, plus many hiking trails along the banks of Rio Ojo, and guided hikes of the Posi Pueblo.
Picuris Pueblo www.picurispueblo.com
In a hidden hollow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the banks of the Rio Pueblo, this beautiful 1250 AD pueblo was named for "those who paint". The ruins of the original Pot Creek area pueblo home of these people still remain. The 200-year old San Lorenzo Mission has been restored, and the Tribal Museum exhibits historical relics and maintains the ancestral ruins, scalp house, mission church. Today the community produces fine pottery, weaving, beadwork, sculpture and jewelry, which are available to the public.
Pinos Altos Originally founded as Birchville in the mid-1800's, this boomtown saw rich gold strikes and clashes between the native Apaches and the transplanted miners. The frontier-town atmosphere remains today with dirt streets. The original saloon is still open for business, and a mining museum and historic buildings such as the church and opera house are available for visitors.
Portales traces it's human history back 11,000 years to Paleo-Indian mastodon hunters. Today, the city is headquarters for Oasis State Park and the home of Eastern New Mexico University, the cultural center of the region, with music and dramatic programs of the College of Fine Arts and a symphony orchestra. The Roosevelt County Museum features items from the late 19th and early 20th century, and the great climate makes the area a natural for outdoor sports.
Blackwater Draw Museum www.nmculture.org/cgi-bin/instview.cgi?_recordnum=bwdm
Showcases skeletons and relics unearthed at the Blackwater Draw Archeological Site, a National Historic Landmark. Evidence of Late Pleistocene human occupation has been recovered, along with animal remains including mammoth and sabertooth cats. Over 13,000 years of site history are traced, from mammoth hunting through contemporary culture.
Oasis State Park Cottonwood trees and shifting sand dunes encircle this small fishing lake at 4,000 feet. A great place to bird-watch, over 80 species of birds make their home here, with peak viewing in the winter.
At the toe of Raton Pass, this thriving community on the Santa Fe Trail has over 70 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rich culture of the Downtown Historic District, Victorian architecture and local history featured at the Raton Museum along First Street, and the elaborate 1915 Historic Shuler Theater preserve the 19th-century charm. Attractions include internationally recognized downhill and cross-country skiing, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, and the Philmont Scout Ranch, hosting Boy Scouts from around the world and 3 historic museums.
National Rifle Associations Whittington Center
www.nrawc.org This 33,000-acre competition shooting facility is the most complete in the nation and the largest in the world. Training, target shooting, hunting, tours, educational and sport activities are available for all shooting disciplines. An intact segment of the Santa Fe Trail traverses the complex.
Sugarite Canyon State Park Encompassing 9,600 mountainous acres on the Colorado border, landscape extends from heavy woods to wildflower meadows. The Coal Camp Interpretive Trail traverses the ruins of the historic Sugarite coal camp, and the visitor center offers extensive historical and nature exhibits. Year-round recreation includes hiking scenic trails, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and fishing. The dominant geologic feature of the park is a 12-million-year-old sheet of volcanic basalt "caprock" forming an extended cliff of rock columns.
Red River www.redrivernewmex.com
In the towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this picture postcard family resort nestled in the Kit Carson National Forest is surrounded by natural wonders and clear blue sky. The perfect vacation getaway, offerings include hiking and riding trails to spectacular arrays of wildflowers, stocked lakes and fly fishing streams, golf, geological wonders, two ski areas, scenic drives, and white water rafting down the Rio Grande. Visitors enjoy riding a coal-powered narrow gauge train or a hot air balloon, Cowboy Evenings with chuckwagon dinners and country entertainment under the stars, and galleries and artists featuring woodcarvers, jewelers, photographers, musicians, and other craftspeople.
Established in the 1870's, this city of trees and parks is the area hub for historical and archaeological sites, arts and museums, gaming and horseracing. Day trips might include the Capitan and Guadalupe Mountains, Lincoln National Forest and Carlsbad Caverns. Cultural life includes a symphony orchestra, theater, Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico Military Institute.
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge On the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert in the Pecos River Valley, this refuge provides 24,500 acres of winter habitat for 300 species of migratory birds, primarily sandhill cranes and waterfowl. Grasslands, lake and desert areas may be accessed by trail on foot or horseback.
Bottomless Lakes State Park At 3,500 feet, this park is comprised of seven small blue-green lakes and encircling red bluffs. Activities vary at each lake, and include hiking, trout fishing, swimming, scuba diving and paddleboats rentals. On the southern border are the Overflow Wetlands, an important Pecos River riparian area.
International UFO Museum & Research Center
www.iufomrc.com Studies focus on extraterrestrial Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Displays examine the alleged 1947 UFO crash here, as well as other notable UFO sightings.
Mescalero Sands Recreation Area Visitors enjoy a fascinating wildlife spectacle from March to June, the colorful courtship ritual of lesser prairie chickens. Other Chihuahua wildlife such as pronghorn deer, Massassagua rattlesnake and mourning dove are also seen here.
Roswell Museum and Art Center Exhibits focus on such southwestern culture and artists as historical artifacts and art, and paintings by Georgia O'Keefe and Peter Hurd. There is a planetarium, and a recreation of Dr. Robert Goddard's early rocketry laboratory.
Spring River Park & Zoo This unique city park covering 35 acres boasts animal exhibits housing over 100 animals, a fishing lake, miniature train, antique carousel, picnic areas and a wintering flock of Canadian geese.
Cradled by the Southern Rocky Mountains, these tranquil mountain villages are surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest. Visitors enjoy ideal climate and clean air, spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, museums and galleries, casinos and outdoor recreation such as fishing, golf, Ski Apache Resort, hiking and horseback riding. Nearby are White Sands National Monument, Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway, and historic Lincoln.
Hubbard Museum of the American West
www.zianet.com/museum This historic Western museum is one of the state's most respected. The collection displays carriages, fine art, saddles, and Indian artifacts. Additional branches of the museum offering interactive exhibits, educational videos, and live demonstrations include Ruidoso Downs Race Horse Hall of Fame, Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium, Historic Lincoln in Lincoln, and Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway Visitors Center.
Ruidosa Downs All three legs of quarter horse racing's triple crown are held here, with the All-American Futurity on Labor Day being the third leg and the world's richest quarter horse race. Live concerts are also held.
Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts
www.spencertheater.com With outstanding acoustics and world-class performances, this aristocratic theater is itself a work of art. Faced with mica-flecked limestone, there is a waterfall emerging from the heart of the wedge-shaped structure.
San Antonio Now an agricultural center, this town in the Rio Grande Valley was founded as a mission in 1629. Nearby Fort Craig was the site of the state's first Civil War engagement, and remnants of the fort are accessible to visitors.
Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
One of the premier national wildlife refuges in North America, the heart of this oasis straddling the Rio Grand amid the Chihuahuan desert is almost 13,000 acres of moist bottomlands including active Rio Grande floodplain, extensive wetlands and riparian forests. A 15-mile auto tour winds through desert, marsh and grassland habitat for tens of thousands of migratory birds, deer, coyote and other animals. Picnicking and hiking is available at the Indian Well, Little San Pascual and Chupadera wilderness areas.
San Felipe Pueblo This village, 10 miles north of Bernalillo, is known for beautiful dancing, and visitors are welcomed to enjoy the annual arts and crafts festival in October with dancing, traditional foods, and craft work on sale in booths at the foot of Black Mesa near San Felipe Church.
Santa Fe www.santafe.org
At the base of the Rocky Mountains, this 400-year-old city is a marvelous blend of American Indian, Anglo and Spanish heritage. The richly varied cultural scene includes dance companies and a symphony orchestra, opera and theater, fine galleries, world class museums showcasing centuries of history and art, and traditional communities at nearby Pueblos. Visitors enjoy horse racing at Santa Fe Downs, the world's largest American Indian art market, a diversity of alternative healing, golf, two historic railroad lines and world-class shopping. Historic downtown has over 900 buildings on the National Historic Register including Sena Plaza and Saint Francis Cathedral. For outdoor enthusiasts, the surrounding 1.5 million acres of diverse National Forest offer backpacking, fishing, hunting, cross-country and downhill skiing, kayaking and white water rafting the areas many rivers. Guided tours include birding, exploring and horseback. Nearby are Anasazi ruins at the Puye Cliff Dwellings and Bandelier National Monument. Favorite scenic drives are the Turquoise Trail and the High Road to Taos.
Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Built in 1795, the country's oldest shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe has a 1783 oil painting hanging above the altar, a meditation chapel, pictorial history room, religious carvings and Plants of the Holy Land Botanical Garden.
Hyde Memorial State Park Towering pines and aspens shelter picnickers at this park at 8,500 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near the Santa Fe Ski Basin. A base for hikers and backpackers, activities include winter sports such as sledding, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. A natural wildlife refuge, visitors might see deer, squirrels, raccoon, porcupine, coyote and numerous species of birds.
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology
A collaborative effort of Native and non-Native peoples results in a first-hand offering of local Indian ancestral, historic and contemporary arts and culture.
Museum of International Folk Art www.moifa.org
In the foothills of the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this collection of 125,000 artifacts receives recognition nationally and internationally as the world' largest collection of global folk art, attracting scholars and visitors from around the world.
State Capitol The Zia sun design graces the building, where guided tours from the rotunda to the governor's office feature artworks and furniture by native New Mexico craftsmen.
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
www.wheelwright.org Designed in the likeness of a traditional Navajo hogan, the 1937 museum hosts changing exhibits of Southwestern pottery, sand paintings, carvings, basketry, ritual objects, jewelry and other historic and contemporary artwork. The trading post offers fine Native American arts and crafts and outdoor sculpture. Talks, seminars and meet-the-artist receptions are held.
Santa Rosa Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored this area in 1540. Famous for its clean natural lakes, fishermen and scuba divers are drawn to the Pecos River and the lake in Janes-Wallace Memorial Park.
Blue Hole This 80-foot-deep opening in rock formations is fed 3,000 gallons per minute by an artesian spring. Delivered at 61 degrees, the water draws swimmers, seasoned scuba divers and scuba classes.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park Seven miles north of town, this 1,500-acre high plains reservoir on the Pecos River offers fishing, a wide variety of water sports, numerous hiking trails and eagles roosting lakeside or on small islands on the lake. A visitor center at the dam features exhibits about dam construction, plus area and natural history.
War Eagles Air Museum www.war-eagles-air-museum.com
WWII and Korean Conflict era aircraft are gathered, restored and displayed at this unique 54,000 square-foot museum, most of them in flying condition. Exhibits honor pilots, support crew and women in aviation.
Silver City www.silvercity.org
Amid a million acres of wilderness in the Pinos Altos Mountains foothills, this bustling 1860's city borders the Continental Divide. The boyhood home of Billy the Kid, the city's rich heritage and colorful history is enjoyed on self-guided walking tours through the three Historic Districts. A variety of galleries and museums includes the 1881 Ailman House, housing the Silver City Museum featuring artifacts, interpretive exhibits, local history, and ancient Southwestern Indian pottery. Day trips and outdoor activities include golf, Gila National Forest, historic sites, numerous parks and lakes, wildlife refuges, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, City of Rocks State Park, Natural Hot Springs, wildlife refuge and riparian area.
Western New Mexico University Museum displays the most extensive permanent collection of prehistoric Mimbres pottery in the world. Other exhibits emphasize Casa Grandes pottery and culture, Navajo rugs, military and mining artifacts, and 100 years of university history.
Socorro The states largest and roughest city in the 1880s, today this agricultural community is home to
the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Mineral Museum www.geoinfo.nmt.edu/education/museum
One of the finest in the world, this mineral museum displays over 15,000 local and worldwide mineral specimens. Additional exhibits feature fossils, mining artifacts and memorabilia, and an awesome ultraviolet mineral display.
San Miguel Mission Still in use, this 1820 church with hand-carved ceiling beams replaced the 1620 mission destroyed in the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680. A segment of wall from the original mission remains.
Springer is home to the Santa Fe Trail Museum in the old county courthouse, offering displays of period items, plus the only electric chair used in the state.
Intermingled yet distinct Spanish, Anglo and American Indian communities live between the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range and the Rio Grande. The renowned Taos Society of Artists is a hub of creativity and host of varied performing arts and spectator events. Many of the shops and galleries in historic Taos Plaza and side streets were homes of leading citizens, among them Kit Carson. The area offers abundant outdoor attractions such as Rio Grande white water rafting, legendary ski resorts, alpine hiking and riding trails in Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area, Red River fly fishing, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, championship golf courses, hot air ballooning, scenic byways, windsurfing and the Great San Dunes National Monument.
Ernest L. Blumenschein Home Built in 1790 as the home of the co-founder of the famous Taos Society
Of Artists, this restored building furnished with original art and antiques now showcases paintings by local artists, as well as a superb collection of the family's art.
Fechin House and Studio The home of Russian-born Nicolai Fechin from 1928-1955 serves as a showplace for his intricately hard-carved furnishings and architecture, as well as his spectacular artwork and the works of other artists. Chamber music events and art workshops are offered.
Kit Carson Home and Museum This large 1825 adobe house was purchased by the famed scout as a wedding gift for his young bride. Period rooms, gun displays, mountain man relics and Indian & Hispanic artifacts illustrate the life story of Carson, one of America's great frontiersmen.
Martinez Hacienda One of the few remaining Spanish Colonial haciendas open to the public, this restored 1804 fortress-like adobe building has 21 rooms with period furnishings surrounding two large courtyards. Exhibits provide a rare glimpse of frontier life, and living history displays and traditional arts and crafts demonstrations are presented.
San Francisco De Asis Church This heavily reinforced 1710 structure is one of the most dazzling Spanish Churches in the Southwest. Inside are arts, a large figure of Christ and images of saints that may date to the church's origination. "The Shadow of the Cross", painted by Henri Ault, shows Christ carrying a cross in some lights, and makes the cross invisible in
Taos Museums www.taosmuseums.org
Taos Pueblo The most scenic of all the pueblos and the tallest in the Southwest, this ancient living village has stood unchanged for centuries. The multi-storied World Heritage Site inspired the "Pueblo style" of New Mexican architecture. Visitors enjoy native foods and the skilled leatherwork of local craftsmen.
Three Rivers Petroglyphs National Recreation Site Distributed over 50 acres of the Tularosa Basin in the shadow of 12,000-foot Sierra Blanca, over 21,000 petroglyphs of humans, animals, fish and plants as well as abstract and geometric designs were created 1,000 years ago by the Jomada Mogollon people. A one-mile roundtrip interpretive trail south of the petroglyphs leads to the ruins of their village.
Truth or Consequences www.truthorconsequenceschamberofcommerce.com
As a well-kept secret, this small resort town at 4,500 feet has remained a haven for nature lovers. An outdoor playground, area attractions include the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway, Rio Grande rapids, mineral springs, White Sands National Monument, unique formations of Rock Hound and City of Rocks State Parks, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Mimbres Mountains, eclectic cultural life, breathtaking sandstone bluffs, the hot air balloon regatta and brilliant sunsets.
Caballo Lake State Park At 4,100 feet, the park highlights are the majestic Golden and Bald Eagles, which nest in and migrate through the area. The Caballo Mountains offer a dramatic backdrop to the 11,500-acre lake where visitors enjoy winter waterfowl watching, desert blooms in the park's two cacti gardens, fishing the lake and river, and water sports such as swimming, water skiing, windsurfing and jet skiing.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park This 43-mile-long reservoir with over 200 miles of shoreline takes its name from the eroded core of a prehistoric volcano which now forms an island in the reservoir. Created by a dam across the Rio Grande River in 1916, visitors enjoy water sports such as Bass tournaments, para sailing, water and jet skiing, scuba diving and sailing. A variety of rental boats are available and regional interpretive exhibits are on display at the visitor center. Once a hunting ground of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, fossils of this and other ancient creatures such as the Mastadon have been discovered in the area.
Geronimo Springs Museum In addition to honoring the Native American Chief, exhibits include prehistoric Mimbres pottery, southwestern art, mining artifacts, paleontological finds, and mementos of Ralph Edwards original "Truth or Consequences" radio show.
Fiesta Days are held on the first weekend
in May, with parade through downtown, music and food in Ralph Edwards
Percha Dam State Park Excellent fishing, hiking and bird watching are shaded by towering cottonwoods at this park on the Rio Grande.
Zuni One of the largest live pueblos in existence still preserves ancient rites and traditions. Most ceremonial masked dances are open to the public dawn-dusk. Master carvers, the Zuni offer renowned quality silver and turquoise inlay jewelry and carved animal fetishes.
Fun and Attractions:
Bandelier National Monument covers 50 square miles, including steep narrow canyons sweeping from 10,000-foot peaks in the Jemez Mountains to the Rio Grand River, spectacular remnants of one of the largest volcanic calderas in the world, and the Pajarito Plateau in jagged ravine and mesa country. On this plateau can be found some of the most distinctive archaeological ruins in North America, 13th-century Anasazi pueblo and cliff dwellings. Home to a large variety of wildlife, the monument offers 70 miles of backcountry hiking trails.
Capulin Volcano National Monument Jutting 1,200 feet above the encircling high plains, this nearly perfectly shaped cinder cone is one of the best specimens in the nation. Ash and cinders exploded from a volcanic vent 10,000 years ago and accumulated to form this striking mountain. The volcano is long extinct, and abundant wildlife now inhabits the forested slopes. A paved road spirals to the rim, and there is rare opportunity for easy exploration by trails around the rim and into the bottom of the crater.
Carson National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/carson
1.5 million scenic acres teeming with wildlife envelope a portion of the Rio Grande Wild River, the upper Rio Grande Valley, the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and wilderness areas including Latir Peak, Pecos, Cruces Basin, and Chama. Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area encompasses 13,160-foot Wheeler Peak as well as ruins of a copper mining company and old miner's cabins. Attractions include Ghost Ranch Living Museum, horseback riding and llama trekking, hiking, fishing, hunting,
snow-mobiling and fine skiing.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves thousands of small AD 900-1150 Chaco Anasazi sites, as well as the ruins of 13 major pueblos including Pueblo Bonito as the base of a canyon wall, four stories high with 600 rooms. The ruins are remarkable for their monumental ceremonial and public buildings, dams, and vast road network. The remote sites are sacred homelands to several southwestern tribes.
Cibola National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola
Covering portions of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, over 1.5 million acres encompass 8 mountains, 2 National Grasslands and 4 wildernesses. From desert climate to spruce forest elevations, the area is prized for its natural splendor and recreational opportunities. Nearby are ice caves, Indian Pueblos, lava flows and ancient ruins. At 10,675 feet is the observation deck on Sandia Peak, with 80 miles of hiking trails and a panoramic view reaching 15,000 square miles.
Sandia Crest Scenic Byway www.sandiapeak.com
Spectacular 11-mile stretch of the Turquoise Trail is a breathtaking drive to the Sandia Crest summit.
Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway www.sandiapeak.com
One of the world's longest Tramways lifts visitors from the desert floor, climbing 2.7 miles to the top of 10,378-foot Sandia Peak with a dramatic 11,000-square-mile panoramic view of the magical landscape. A variety of wildlife including black bear, mule deer, bobcat and golden eagles are commonly spotted during the ride to the mountaintop visitor center.
Conchas Lake State Park Northwest of Tucumcari, water activities at this 25-mile-long reservoir include water skiing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, pontoon boat rental, and good warm-water fishing. There are picnicking facilities, 60 miles of varied shoreline, sandy beaches, secluded coves and ancient rock formations created during the Dinosaur Age. Occasionally, observant guests find fossils of ancient sea creatures.
Fort Union National Monument Established in 1851 as a supply depot for 50 area forts, and the largest military post in the Southwest, the ruins are all that remain of the fort, which was abandoned in 1891. A self-guided trail winds through 100 acres of adobe ruins, and a museum and visitor center recounts fort history. This is also the site of the greatest visible network of Santa Fe Trail ruts.
El Malpais National Monument Named "the badlands" in Spanish, the largely volcanic terrain offer diverse natural environments: vast lava flows, mesas, fragile ice caves, miles of lava-tube cave system, mountain ranges, and jagged spatter cones. The ancient American Indian culture and history of the area is kept alive by the presence of many contemporary Indian groups. Highlights include the El Calderon and Big Tubes areas, and the nearby Casamero Pueblo with its well-preserved ruin. A favorite method of experiencing the magic of the area is by hiking.
El Morro National Monument Its name meaning "Inscription Rock", this massive sandstone bluff towers above the valley floor and has served as a landmark for hundreds of years. Settled around AD 1375 by the Anasazi, two villages were built atop the bluff and petroglyphs were carved along the cliff. Since then carvings have been made by the Spaniards, pioneers, U.S. Military, and other travelers depicting historic events and recording visits. Many visitors can link their ancestry to names inscribed here. The visitor center offers exhibits spanning 700 years of human history, and is the starting point for self-guiding trails to Inscription Rock and the Anasazi ruins on the mesa above. Picnicking and camping are available.
Fenton Lake State Park Ponderosa pine forests surround this popular retreat at 7,900 feet, which features a biathlon and cross-country ski trail and wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms. Once a 700-acre State Game and Fish refuge, it is now a fisherman's haven with an abundance of wildlife such as migratory waterfowl, elk, bobcat, turkey and deer.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument In five natural cavities in the cliff face 175 feet above the canyon floor are the 13th-century ruins of 42 rooms built by the Mogollon people. Containing 535 acres, the monument is surrounded by the Gila National Forest at the edge of the Gila Wilderness. The visitor center has a small interpretive museum and sells items relating to the Mogollon culture. There are plentiful opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing and horseback riding, with more than 350 miles of wilderness trails. Guided tours are available.
Gila National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/gila
Over 3,300,000 acres encompass remote canyons, wild mountain ranges, arid lowlands, mining ghost towns and developed recreation areas. The area's rich history merges the stories of Apache Chief Geronimo and the Mogollon Indians, Spaniards and Mexicans, ranchers and miners. Visitors find quiet escape in the rugged beauty and profusion of plant and wildlife. Highlights include Castle Rock, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Emory Pass, Frisco Hot Springs, El Caso Lookout Tower, Pueblo Park Campground and the San Francisco, Mimbres and Gila Rivers, to name only a few.
Lincoln National Forest Diverse ecosystems from desert foothills to high alpine meadows cover 1,103,400 acres surrounding the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. The unusual system of 130 caves attracts spelunkers, scientists, anthropologists and geologists; a recent bacterial discovery has proven critical in fighting leukemia. There is an historic logging railroad, and a scenic byway to the Apache Point Lunar Observatory and the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak. Wildlife is abundant and it was here in 1950 that a black bear cub was rescued from a forest fire and nicknamed "Smokey Bear", to become a worldwide symbol of wildfire prevention. There are campgrounds, 400 miles of trails, riparian areas and two ski resorts.
Manzano Mountains State Park Nestled at 7,600 feet in the wooded Manzano Mountains foothills, this park near the Salinas National Monument is an excellent place for bird watchers, hikers, photographers and cross-country skiers. The park offers a checklist to bird-watching visitors.
Pecos National Historical Park preserves over 10,000 years of history including the ruins of the very large pueblo of the Pecos people, two 18th-century Franciscan Mission Churches, Santa Fe Trail sites, and the location of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass. The ruins trail, visitor center and picnic areas are open to the public and tours can be scheduled.
Petroglyph National Monument http://istvan.com/petroglyphs
One of the world's most impressive collections of Hispanic and Native American rock art are found along 17 miles of Albuquerque's West Mesa Escarpment. The area encompasses over 15,000 geometric and animal shaped petroglyphs beginning AD 1300, as well as associated archeological sites, wildlife habitats, and volcanic features. The visitor center offers changing exhibits and educational materials. There are ranger-led walks, self-guiding and primitive trails, and a road to the Volcanoes area.
Poshouinge Ruins South of Abiquiu, a steep half-mile trail leads to two vista areas and these ruins overlooking the Chama River Valley.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument This 1,100-acre monument preserves the remains of three historically and geographically linked pueblos and four early 17th century Spanish Franciscan mission churches. Natives and Spanish alike depopulated the area by the late 1670s.
Santa Fe National Forest www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe
Over 1.5 million acres of premium mountain scenery encompass the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountain ranges, the Rio Grande, Santa Fe Basin winter sports area, Pecos River headwaters, and the Pecos, San Pedro Parks, Chama and Dome Wildernesses. Improved recreation and picnic areas are found near trailheads, streams and other area highlights.
Steins Railroad Ghost Town Over 15 pioneer buildings have been restored to their initial likeness, including saloons, the hotel, a bordello. Farm animals are housed in antique corrals, and historic exhibits include pioneer artifacts and a bottle collection from the 1800's.
Turquoise Trail www.turquoisetrail.org
This National Scenic Byway links Santa Fe to Albuquerque through historic mining towns and culturally rich communities, and over magnificent mountain summits.
White Sands National Monument Rising from the core of the mountain-edged Tularosa Basin in the northern Chihuahuan Desert is an awesome natural phenomenon - heaving snow-white dunes of gypsum sand in the largest gypsum field on earth. Driven by fierce winds, the dunes relentlessly advance in crests and slumps. Few plants and animals have managed to adapt to this harsh environment. The monument protects much of the glistening field and the flora and fauna, which successfully adapted to the evolving environment.