The Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau has provided great day trip ideas in New Mexico.
Farmington is the ideal hub from which to explore the remarkable Four Corners region. The following attractions are within an easy day’s drive, offering three days to a week of exhilarating adventure.
American Indian Culture: Past & Present
The Four Corners area is a scattered with ancient Indian ruins. Aztec Ruins National Monument, located 14 miles east on Hwy. 516 then left on Ruins Rd., provides a glimpse into the lives of the modern Puebloan peoples ancestors. More than 800 years old, the monument features the only fully reconstructed Great Kiva in North America. A self-guided tour will lead you through the village. Admission is $5 per person.
Head south 7 miles on Hwy. 550 to Bloomfield, then west 3 miles on Hwy. 64 to visit Salmon Ruins and the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library, with its extensive collection of artifacts from the Salmon Ruins excavation. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds of Heritage Park, which contains 8 separate habitation units representing thousands of years of human occupation of the San Juan Basin. Visit the original adobe Salmon homestead site, full of unique pictures and 1800’s memorabilia.
Admission is $3 adults, $2 seniors, and $1 ages
6-16 and free for children under 6.
Visit the many Farmington-area trading posts to shop for locally-crafted American Indian jewelry, pottery and rugs. You may even catch a demonstration by a local artist or crafts person. For a list of trading posts, see pages 61 & 62. Spend the evening under the stars of Farmington’s Lions Wilderness Park Amphitheater, 2 miles north of San Juan College.
Four Corners Loops
Durango, CO lies 45 miles north of Farmington on Hwy. 550. Spend the day browsing through the boutiques and souvenir shops of Main Street or take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Mesa Verde National Park, 75 miles north of Farmington on Hwy. 160, is known for its spectacular and vast cliff dwelling sites. Visit Crow Canyon Archaeological Center to the west of Cortez, CO. Take a day-long archaeology tour and witness the legacy left by the Ancestral Puebloans.
Towaoc, CO, 60 miles north of Farmington on Hwy. 160/491, is the capital of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation and home of the Ute Mountain Casino & RV Park. Stop in to play slots, keno or a game of blackjack or bingo, followed by dining at Kuchus Restaurant. Arrange Tribal Park tours of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and ruins by calling (970) 565-3751, ext. 330 or (970) 565-9653.
Travel 30 miles southeast on Hwy. 160 to the Four Corners Monument and stand in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado all at the same time. Shop for American Indian arts, crafts and jewelry at the vendor booths that surround the monument. Cost is $3 per person.
On the drive back to Farmington (60 miles southeast via Hwy. 160/Hwy. 491/Hwy. 64) you will enter the scenic Navajo Reservation. Enjoy views of Shiprock Pinnacle, Chimney Rock and the Sleeping Ute Mountain.
Let a local guide offer you a custom tour of the area’s archaeological sites and remote canyons, specializing in Chaco Canyon and Dinetah.
*Journey into the Past Tours
PO Box 125, Bloomfield NM 87413
PNM San Juan Generating Station, located 15 miles west of Farmington on Hwy. 64, offers group presentations and tours of the coal-fired power plant that supplies electricity to the Southwest and California. For information, contact San Juan Generating Station. Please call ahead to schedule.
PO Box 227
Waterflow, NM 87421
Two coal mines in the area, operated by BHP Billiton, deliver coal to the two local power plants: PNM San Juan Generating Station and APS Four Corners Power Plant. Both plants generate electricity that is distributed throughout New Mexico,
California and the Southwest. Call BHP to schedule a tour.