NATIONAL PARKS ~ STATE PARKS ~ NATIONAL MONUMENTS ~ SCENIC BYWAYS


National Parks

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Today the massive buildings of the Ancestral Puebloan people still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest.

Pecos National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

In the midst of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains not far from Santa Fe, the remains of Indian pueblos stand as meaningful reminders of people who once prevailed. Pecos National Historical Park helps visitors explore the cultural exchange and geographic features that played such crucial roles in the rich history of the Pecos Valley.

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State Parks

Bluewater Lake State Park

This serene lake, located 25 miles west of Grants, is set in a pinon-juniper landscape with views towards the Zuni Mountains. The park offers camping, hiking, birding, horseback riding and fishing. And not just any fishing – you’ll find some of the best tiger muskie fishing at Bluewater Lake!

El Vado Lake State Park

Located in New Mexico’s northern mountains, El Vado Lake State Park offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A 5.5-mile scenic trail along the Rio Chama connects El Vado with nearby Heron Lake. Quiet coves around the lake are great places to catch trout and kokanee salmon.

Fenton Lake State Park

The Jemez Mountains provide the backdrop for this stunning year-round retreat surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pine forests. Fenton Lake State Park is a mellow mountain escape. The Rio Cebolla flows through the park and there is a fishing and canoeing lake too. The park also attracts campers, hikers and cross-country skiers.

Heron Lake State Park

A picturesque lake set among the tall pines of northern New Mexico, Heron Lake State Park has been designated a “quiet lake” where boats operate at no-wake speeds only, making it an excellent location for all types of paddle craft. Heron also has amazing sailing, cross-country skiing, and hiking.

Navajo Lake State Park

Navajo Lake is the second largest lake in the state, with multiple campgrounds, two marinas, and two boat docks. Navajo is a haven for boaters of every stripe – motorized boaters, canoers, kayakers, water skiers and sailors. The San Juan River is a world-class fly fishing destination and features a campground, day use areas and a serene trail along the river.

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National Monuments

Aztec Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar.

Bandelier National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.

El Malpais National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

The richly diverse volcanic landscape of El Malpais offers solitude, recreation, and discovery. Explore cinder cones, lava tube caves, sandstone bluffs, and hiking trails. Wildlife abounds in the open grasslands and forests. While some may see a desolate environment, people have been adapting to and living in this extraordinary terrain for generations.

El Morro National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

Imagine the refreshment of finding water after days of dusty travel. A reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a sandstone bluff made El Morro (the headland) a popular campsite for hundreds of years. Here, Ancestral Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved over 2,000 signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument | Bureau of Land Management

Rio Puerco Field Office 100 Sun Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 35.65842306, -106.4230367 From Albuquerque, head north on I-25 and take the exit for Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) off I-25 onto NM 22. Follow the signs on NM 22 to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

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Scenic Byways

Billy the Kid Trail Scenic Byway

Overview

 Billy the Kid Trail Scenic byway loops through the beautiful scenery of Lincoln National Forest, the Ruidoso River, and the Sierra Blancas, giving travelers stunning views of green pine forests, grassy plains, snow-capped peaks, and blooming wildflowers at the banks of a river. Recreation is abundant alongside the famous western attractions, whether it is simply driving or hiking, fishing, biking, or horseback riding.

 84 miles / 135.2 km loop, Ruidoso to Hondo

 Key Attractions

Billy the Kid Trail Map
  • Billy the Kid Visitor Center – located at 791 Hwy-70 West in Ruidoso Downs – visitor information (visitors can also call 575-378-5318 for information)
  • Ruidoso River and Sierra Blanca Mountains – beautiful during all the seasons, especially spring during wildflower season
  • Coe Ranch, Hondo, NM – visit the ranch that employed Billy the Kid during the Lincoln County War
  • Frequent festivities celebrating the West, such as the Cowboy Symposium, rodeos, parades, etc.
  • Hubbard Museum of the American West, Ruidoso Downs, NM – exhibits on the horse and the animals’ contribution to the American West
  • Fort Stanton Reservation – view historic sites that were home to Native American battles, the Civil War (including the famous “Buffalo Soldiers,” 9th Calvary), World War II, US Marine Hospital, and the comings and goings of western personalities like Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and General “Black Jack” Pershing – enjoy outdoor recreation like horseback riding, hiking, and camping
  • Fort Stanton Cave – the most famous cave of a series of 12 caves in the Fort Stanton Reservation
  • Ruidoso Downs Race Track, located at 1461 Hwy-70 E Ruidoso Downs, Nm – world’s richest quarter horse race, The All-American Futurity
  • Ski Apache, located on NM-532, east off of NM-48 (north of Ruidoso) – great skiing, owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe
  • Smokey Bear Museum, 102 Smokey Bear Blvd Capitan, NM – visit the museum that is all about Smokey Bear, America’s symbol to prevent wildfires
  • Lincoln Monument, Lincoln, NM – visit several museums and historic sites that present the history of the town, named after the U.S. president, and the dealings of its famous residents, such as Billy the Kid, Susan “Cattle Queen of New Mexico” McSween, Alexander McSween, etc.

Location

  • 170 miles southeast of Albuquerque, NM; 111 miles northeast of Las Cruces, NM
  • Located in south-central New Mexico
  • Driving the byway:
    • Begin the byway in Ruidoso, NM, and follow NM-48 southeast to Hwy 70
    • Take Hwy 70 northeast to Hwy 380, in Hondo
    • Drive Hwy 380 northwest until the junction with NM-220
    • At the junction, take a small detour south through Fort Stanton and end up at the junction with NM-48
    • Return to the junction of Hwy 380 and NM-220
    • Continue to drive along Hwy 380 to Capitan
    • At the junction of Hwy 380 and NM-48 in Capitan, turn left onto NM-48 and drive south
    • Continue south on NM-48 until you reach Ruidoso, the end of the byway loop
El Camino Real National Scenic Byway

Overview

 Drive along El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road of the Interior Land) and see a land rich in culture, history, and scenery. First traveled by Don Juan de Onate in 1598, the route provided news, supplies and travel to the first capital of the New World. Visitors today can enjoy viewing ancient pueblos, and locals using ancient techniques for creating arts and crafts, Spanish ruins, ancient ancestral Puebloan and Spanish petroglyphs, beautiful mountain and desert scenery, and the dazzling larger cities of New Mexico – Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Enjoy driving, hiking, biking, camping, and many more activities on this scenic and iconic stretch of historic land.

 299 miles / 481.2 km, Okay Owingeh to New Mexico/Texas/Mexico boarder

 Key Attractions

El Camino Real Byway Map
  • Pojoaque Pueblo and the Poeh Cultural Center – information center, Pueblo art and cultural exhibits, traditional Indian dances on weekends, large Indian arts and crafts shop
  • Santa Clara Pueblo – guided and self-guided tours to view the pueblo
  • Nambe Pueblo – Buffalo Tours offer guided tours to view the buffalo herd located there – young Buffalo Dancers will perform upon advanced request
  • Misión and Bond House Museums – located in Española – museum and tours
  • Large New Mexico cities, Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – Bosque del Apache, NM
  • Beautiful mountain scenery, such as the Organ Mountains and the Sandia Mountains – visitors can take a steep tram ride up to the top of Sandia Peak
  • The mix of Spanish, Indian, and Mexican culture throughout cities in New Mexico
  • Petroglyph National Monument – view ancient rock art that tells the stories of ancient Native Americans – about 25,000 symbols, some thought to be created as early as 3,000 years ago, others dated between AD 1300 and AD 1650 by some of the Spanish settlers
    • View the famous Kokopelli symbol – the iconic, hunch-backed flute player – used often in Southwestern and Puebloan art
    • Enjoy the geologically interesting landscape, complete with 5 volcanic cones and an expansive basalt escarpment that dominates the landscape

Location

  • The byway runs through Santa Fe, New Mexico; it covers most of the length of the center of New Mexico, running primarily north-south from the east-central top of the state to the west-central bottom of the state
  • Driving the byway:
    • Beginning at the San Juan Pueblo (north of Santa Fe), take NM-291/NM-74 to NM-68 – travel south on NM-68
    • Turn east onto Fairview Lane and drive for approximately 1 mile
    • At the intersection of McCurdy Road (NM-583) and Fairview Lane, drive south for approximately 1.5 miles
    • At the junction with NM-76, drive west until the junction with NM-106 (approximately 0.5 miles) – continue driving south
    • After approximately 7 miles, past Pojoaque Pueblo, take US-84/285 south for 25 miles into Santa Fe
    • From US-84/285, exit to Guadalupe Street
    • From Guadalupe Street, turn left on to W San Francisco St, right onto Don Gaspar Ave, right on W Alameda St, and then left on Agua Fria St/NM-22/NM-588
    • Continue southwest until the junction with NM-284
    • Take NM-284 until turning right onto E I-25 Frontage Rd
    • From E I-25 Frontage Rd, take on ramp to I-25/US Hwy 85
    • Exit on to NM-16
    • Follow NM-16 and exit on to NM-22 driving south
    • From NM-22, exit on to Indn Service Route 88 going west
    • Exit on to Indn Service Route 84 and follow road to NM-313
    • Take NM-313 through Bernalillo
    • Follow NM-313 as it turns into 4th St NW/NM-47 near Albuquerque
    • Take 4th St NW south
    • Follow road and make a right on Marquette Ave. NW, a left on 5th St. NW, a left on to Central Ave. SW, and a right back on to NM-313/4th St SW
    • Continue on route and exit on to NM-314 going west
    • Continue south on route as it turns into Isleta Blvd.
    • Follow road and exit onto NM-147
    • Follow NM-147 until you get on to NM-47 near Isleta Village Proper
    • Continue on NM-47 until the NM-304 exit near Belen
    • Stay on NM-304 until US-60, and then take US-60 west to Bernardo
    • In Bernardo, drive to I-25 and head towards Alamillo and San Acacia
    • Exit on to Alamillo Rd. and turn right on to I-25 Frontage Rd
    • Follow I-25 Frontage Rd and then exit to NM-408
    • Follow NM-408 and take on-ramp to I-25 going south at Escondida
    • Drive to California St./US Hwy 60 and follow road to State Hwy 1
    • Follow State Hwy 1 to on-ramp for I-25
    • Follow I-25 south to off-ramp to NM-181
    • Follow NM-181 to Truth or Consequences where you will get on Date St.
    • Follow this street to Main Street, and then go to Broadway
    • Follow Broadway to Williamsburg
    • Take NM-187 from Williamsburg to Hatch, and then take NM-185 from Hatch to Las Cruces
    • Next, take NM-188 (Valley Drive) to Avenida de Mesilla, and follow this street to Mesilla
    • Take NM-28 from Mesilla to Canutillo, and then take NM-273 from Canutillo to New Mexico/Texas border
    • The byway ends at the New Mexico/Texas border
Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway

Overview

Visitors can drive along this scenic byway and participate in numerous recreational opportunities, along with visiting the historic sites of the Apaches and Geronimo – even soaking in the same hot mineral springs used by Geronimo and his warriors. Tour the byway and behold different views, from desert lakes to majestic, forested mountains. View the freedom and independence of the land that the Apache tribes, and Geronimo, loved so much.

154 miles / 247.8 km, San Lorenzo to Truth or Consequences to Beaverhead

Key Attractions

Geronimo Trail Map
  • Biking – NM-152 along the byway is part of the southern Bike Centennial route across the United States – cycling endurance races are held on NM-152 across the Black Range over Emory Pass
  • Boating – Elephant Butte Lake – the Rio Grande Sailing Club and the Southwest Dragboat Association hold frequent tournaments and events, and there are two annual boat parades: the Fly Freedom’s Flag during the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and the Parade of Lights during the second Saturday in December
  • Camping – over 300 developed campsites exist along and surrounding the byway – located in Gila National Forest and the three surrounding New Mexico State Parks
  • Fishing – Caballo Lake, Elephant Butte Lake, the Rio Grande, and the small streams and tributaries surrounding make excellent fishing, particularly for Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and Flathead Catfish
  • Golfing – 2 golf courses located right along the byway in Truth or Consequences’ Municipal Golf Course, and Sierra del Rio Golf Course at Turtleback Mountain Resort
  • Hiking – hundreds of different hiking trails along the byway, particularly the 22 miles along the Continental Divide Trail that runs through the Aldo Leopold Wilderness – accessible from Hwy 59 near Beaverhead or from the Rocky Canyon Campground near San Lorenzo
  • Bird-watching – Percha Dam State Park, home to the education event, Migration Sensation, every spring – over 337 bird species located in Gila
  • Visitor Center, 211 Main Street Truth or Consequences – visitors can learn about Geronimo and the history of the area of this byway
  • Museums:
    • Black Range Museum – Hillsboro
    • Geronimo Springs Museum, Truth or Consequences
    • Percha Bank Museum, Kingston
    • Pioneer Store Museum, Chloride (a spur just off of NM-52 near Winston)
    • Veterans Memorial Park, Truth or Consequences

Location

  • 150 miles south of Albuquerque, NM; 150 north of El Paso, TX
  • Located in the center of the southwest quadrant of the state of New Mexico
  • Driving the byway:
    • The byway starts in Truth or Consequences, NM – with two branches going north and south
    • The northern branch
      • From Third Street, at the only stoplight in town, turn right onto NM-51 and follow it to the junction with NM-179
      • Dam Site spur: continue on NM-51 to NM-177
      • Drive until you see the brown sign that says “Dam Site”
      • Return on NM-51 for two miles, to the junction of NM-179, and turn right toward the city of Elephant Butte (it is an additional two miles to reach the junction of NM-195)
      • Turn left to go the Elephant Butte State Park and the city of Elephant Butte – follow NM-195 northwest for four and a half miles until it intersects with NM-181
      • Turn right on NM-181 and cross under the I-25 overpass
      • Travel two and a half miles on NM-181, past the turnoff to the Municipal Airport
      • At the intersection of NM-52, turn left and travel away from the valley, toward the distant mountains – Cuchillo is six miles from the intersection and Winston is 28 miles
      • At the Winston Store, turn left on NM-52 and drive nine miles to the junction of NM-59, leading directly toward the mountains
      • Turn left on NM-59 and follow it for 31 miles to the Beaverhead Ranger Station, where there is a work station, rest area, and large parking lot
      • It takes about two and a half hours to drive from Truth or Consequences to Beaverhead, NM
    • The southern branch
      • Begin at the Geronimo Trail Interpretive Center and follow the main thoroughfare from the Interpretive Center through Truth or Consequences on Main Street and South Broadway to Williamsburg, approximately three miles
      • In Williamsburg, turn left onto NM-187 (the last intersection before entering the freeway)
      • Travel south on NM-187 for 14 miles, following the Rio Grande to the junction with NM-152
      • An RV park overlooking Caballo Lake is a the junction with NM-152 – turn right on NM-152 and continue to the towns of Hillsboro and Kinston
      • NM-152 beyond Kinston climbs up the eastern slope of the Black Range Mountains and tops out at Emory Pass
      • From Emory Pass, the road winds down to the small village of San Lorenzo – it is 53 miles from the turnoff near Caballo Lake to San Lorenzo
      • You may return across the Black Range to Truth or Consequences along the byway, or take a side trip on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

Other Information

  • Gas and food are available from Hillsboro to San Lorenzo across NM-152 – gas and food are not available north of Winston on NM-52 for eight miles, and on NM-59 to Beaverhead for 31 miles
  • San Lorenzo, NM is where the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway meets the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway
  • There is lodging, shopping, restrooms, and phones along this byway
  • Camping is available along this byway:
    • Gila National Forest
    • Caballo Lake State Park
    • Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Historic Route 66 in New Mexico

Overview

Route 66 is our country’s “Mother Road,” complete with so much history from our nation’s past. The route stretches the entire width of New Mexico, passing through the center of the state in a east-west orientation. Along the route in New Mexico, discover ancient dwellings from ancestral Pueblo people, the remains of Spanish Colonial Mission homes, old West mining, homesteading, and ranching sites, early 1900s town and city destinations, and of course, the beautiful national parks, state parks, monuments, and historic sites, as well as spectacular scenery that dots the entire byway.

The Historic Route 66 remains, though segmented, in four U.S. states. The route is broken up, often paralleling other major roads, throughout Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. Clear route markers exist along most of the road. Below we have included directions and specifications for New Mexico and Arizona.

The New Mexico portion of Route 66 is a total of 604 miles / 972 km in length.

Key Attractions

  • Acoma Sky City, located off I-40 (take exit 96 east, or exit 108 west, and drive 15 miles) – Acoma Pueblo Village, located at the top of a 400 foot mesa, visitors can step back in time and visit the historic site to learn more about the ancient culture and see astounding scenery
  • Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM – two of New Mexico’s largest and most famous towns, blending the old historic West with today’s modern culture – visit Albuquerque’s Biological Park, which includes an aquarium, a botanical garden, and a zoo
  • Bandelier National Monument, located off I-25 (take the St. Francis/84/285 exit for Santa Fe, then go straight through the city and follow the signs for Bandelier) – visitors can tour the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings from the 13th century ancestral Pueblo Indians
  • Blue Hole natural artesian springs, located off I-40 in Santa Rosa (drive 5 miles south toward the Municipal Airport) – natural springs that stay constantly at 61 degrees – part of the Carlsbad Cavern system
  • Bluewater Lake State Park, located 7 miles southwest of Prewitt and I-40 – visitors can enjoy the recreation that the large lake has to offer, particularly in summer months – in winter, ice fishing and skiing
  • Casamero Anasazi Ruins, located north of Prewitt, off of I-40 – view the ruins of the ancient, mysterious Anasazi people that lived in the area approximately 1000 to 1125 CE
  • Cibola National Forest – numerous recreational opportunities and magnificent wilderness area, visitors can view the majestic and varying landscape from their car or on foot
  • Conchas Lake State Park, located 34 miles north of Tacamcari, along Hwy 104 – this lake offers miles of shoreline and beaches, coves, canyons, and ample opportunity to discover something interesting, such as fossils from prehistoric sea creatures and unique rock formations
  • Fort Union, located in Watrous, NM – once the largest U.S. military base in the 19th Century southwest frontier, Fort Union offers a grand memorial to the men and women who helped win the West – visitors can tour the historic buildings and memorial
  • Pecos National Historic Park, located 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe off I-25 – this park houses over 10,000 years of history for the ancient pueblo of Pecos, two Spanish missions, the Santa Fe Trail destinations and the site of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass
  • Isleta and Acoma Pueblo Missions, located in the Laguna Indian Reservation, east of NM-314 and west of the byway along NM-6 – ruins and remains of the oldest remaining mission homes and pueblos
  • Petroglyph National Monument, located west of Albuquerque – thousands of petroglyphs spanning 17 miles and over 12,000 years of human life

Location

For New Mexico:

Historic Route 66 in New Mexico begins at the NM/TX border. Get on Historic Route 66 and take it to Tucumcari, where you get back on I-40. In Montoya, get back on Route 66 and follow it past Newkirk, Cuervo, and Blue Hole. Once you reach Santa Rosa, you pick up on I-40 again. At the intersection of I-40 and State Route 84, take 84 (which is actually Route 66) northbound toward Las Vegas. When you come to Romeoville, stay on Route 66 as it curves back to the southwest and passes San Jose, Rowe, Pecos, and Glorieta, and then as it goes up to Santa Fe. Continue through Santa Fe down to Algodones, where Route 66 continues as NM 313 through Santa Ana Pueblo, Bernalillo, and Sandia Pueblo.

When you reach Albuquerque, there are four different ways you can choose:

  • You can head east and go past Nob Hill, Tijeras, Edgewood, and Moriarty to Longhorn, where the original Route 66 ends and you turn around and go back the way you came.
  • You can go west and meet up again with I-40 near Rio Puerco, where you continue on I-40 to where it meets up again with Route 66 at the Cibola County line.
  • You can continue straight ahead and stay on Route 66 as it goes south through Isleta Pueblo and back up to join post-1938* Route 66 near Correo.
  • You can continue on Route 66 past Mesita, Laguna Pueblo, Budville, Cubero, San Fidel, McCartys, Grants, Milan, Bluewater, Prewitt, Thoreau, Top O’ the World, Iyanbit, Ft. Wingate, and Gallup to the Arizona state line.

*Prior to 1938, Route 66 took the way up to Santa Fe and down to Albuquerque. After 1938, a more direct route was taken, and Route 36 cut directly from Albuquerque to Santa Rosa. Thus parts of Historic Route 66 are pre-1938 and some are post-1938.

For Arizona:

The Arizona segment of Historic Route 66 is a disjoint byway comprised of seven pieces. The first section follows I-40 through Holbrook, then a small section in Joseph City. The fourth section goes through Flagstaff. The fifth section goes through Williams. The sixth section is a little place in Ash Fork. Finally, there is a long section heading west on SR 65 from Seligman to Topock.

Specifically, the sections are:

  • Holbrook, mile marker 289-285
  • Joseph City, mile marker 277-274
  • Winslow, mile marker 257-252
  • Flagstaff, mile marker 211-191
  • Williams, mile marker 167-162
  • Ash Fork, mile marker 146-144
  • Topock, mile marker 167-0

More Information

  • Gas, food, lodging, phones, restrooms, and shopping are located all along this byway
  • Camping, bike trails, and other recreation are located nearby the byway – biking is not recommended for most of the byway because of its located along the interstate (I-40)
Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway

Overview

The Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic byway allows visitors to explore life from several different time periods. The area has a rich history, with occupants spanning ancient ancestral Puebloan history, Spanish exploration, and more modern American ranching and logging history. Come explore the ancient pueblo and mission home – Jemez Pueblo – camp, hike, fish, bike, swim, horseback ride, or enjoy the natural hot springs in the Jemez Mountains.

163 miles / 262 km loop, Near Albuquerque

Key Attractions

Jemez Mountain Trail Map
  • Numerous Spanish and Indian ruins
  • Battleship Rock – a scenic cliff peak adorned with sharp and pointed rock spikes
  • Jemez River – beautiful river, fun for playing in, and offers several small falls, including the Falls Wayside destination off of the byway – framed by pine forests and rocky ledges
  • Santa Fe National Forest – about 65 miles of the byway are located in the national forest, and approximately 40 of those miles are part of the Jemez National Recreation Area – includes everything from fields of wildflowers to rugged peaks and raging rivers framed by the pine, spruce, and aspen forests
  • Jemez Pueblo and Jemez State Monument – located about 5 miles from San Ysidro – view the ancient Jemez ruins and the 17th-century Spanish mission home attached – 3,000 tribe members reside in the village of Walatowa, and visitors can enjoy traditional Jemez food, activities, and art, located at the Red Rocks area
  • Walatowa Visitor Center – gather information on the Jemez culture and history
  • San Ysidro – the small town located between NV-4 and US-550 – view the work of local artists and tour the restored Spanish era adobe church
  • Bandelier National Monument – 23,000 acres of protected, designated wilderness, large cliffs and deep canyons, and ancient ancestral Pueblo dwellings can found within the area

Location

  • 1 mile away from Los Alamos, New Mexico; 18 miles from Española, New Mexico; 32 miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Located in north-central New Mexico
  • Driving the byway:
    • Start at Los Alamos, NM and drive west on NM-4 to La Cueva, NM
    • The byway branches north and south here, and drivers can complete the byway two different ways:
      • North branch:
        • Drive north on NM-126 to the end of that arm of the byway (where the pavement ends)
        • Continue on NM-126 (unpaved & accessible if weather permits) for about 10 miles, where the byway and pavement begins again
        • Continue traveling on Nm-126 to Cuba, NM
        • Take US-550 south in Cuba, NM towards San Ysidro, NM
        • Take NM-4 north in San Ysidro, NM towards La Cueva, where drivers will complete the loop
      • South branch:
        • Drive south on NM-4 towards San Ysidro, NM
        • In San Ysidro, NM take US-550 west and then north towards Cuba, NM
        • In Cuba, NM, take NM-126 southeast until the byway ends (where the pavement stops)
        • Drivers have the option of looping back the way they came by continuing southeast on NM-126 on the unpaved part of the road for about 10 miles, until the byway starts up again just north of La Cueva, NM – where they drove the byway before

Other Information

  • Gas, lodging, food, and shopping are located along this byway
  • There are several campsites located along this byway, including:
    • Paliza Campground – Located four miles north of Ponderosa on SR 290
    • Vista Linda Campground – Located approximately five miles south of Jemez Springs on SR 4
    • Redondo Campground – Found 11 miles north of Jemez Springs on SR 4
    • San Antonio Campgrounds – Located two miles northwest of SR 4, just off SR 126
    • Horseshoe Springs Campgrounds – Found one mile northwest of SR 4, just off SR 126
    • Seven Springs Campground – Go eight miles northwest of La Cueva on SR 126, then take Forest Road 314 for one mile.
    • Rio Las Vacas Campground – Found 13 miles east of Cuba on SR 126
    • Clear Creek Campground – Located 12 miles east of Cuba on SR 126
    • Jemez Falls Campground – Situated 15 miles northeast of Jemez Springs, just off SR 4
    • Las Conchas Campground – Located 25 miles northeast of Jemez Springs on SR 4
Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway

Overview

 The Santa Fe Trail was one of the nation’s first and most important trade routes – connecting Missouri and the rest of the inhabited country to the Mexican Frontier. The Colorado section of this scenic byway follows plains and rolling hills, to high mountain peaks and river valleys. Enjoy an assortment of activities to do, from numerous historic sites and museums to biking and camping along the byway.

 180 miles / 289 km (approximately) in the Colorado section; 480 miles / 772.5 km total in Colorado and New Mexico.

 Key Attractions

  • Historic trading posts like Bent’s Old Fort and Boggsville, the last home of Kit Carson
  • Visit historic stagecoach stops, with beautiful views and images into the history of the Santa Fe Trail
  • Explore the many welcome centers and museums that this byway has to offer, including: the Colorado Byway Visitors Center and the Santa Fe Trail Museum in the Trinidad History Museum
  • Look for famous Wild West charm, rural, picturesque ranches and farms, and historic sites of Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, the Bent Brothers, and Bat Masterson
  • Comanche National Grassland – home to North America’s largest dinosaur track site – with guided tours and a history that covers the Native Americans that lived there, Spanish explorers, pioneer traders, miners, and merchants
  • Scenic hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and biking – biking is very popular from Trinidad to the CO/KA border (rolling hills and moderate terrain – bicyclists are allowed to travel on I-25)

 Location

  • 174 miles from Denver, CO; 60 miles from Albuquerque, NM; located from Santa Fe, NM/ the northeastern section of NM to the southeastern section of CO.
  • Driving directions:
    • The Colorado section
      • The Colorado section of the Santa Fe Trail starts at the state line of Colorado and Kansas on US-50
      • Drive west on US-50 to Goff Ave in Granada, CO
      • Continue west on Goff Ave to Main St in Lamar, CO, then continue north to US-50
      • Continue west on US-50 to Bent Ave
      • Drive south to Ambassador Thompson Blvd, then head west to E 1st Dr
      • Make your way west to Barnes Ave, then south to W 5th St.
      • Continue west to Potter Dr. and then southwest to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hwy
      • Drive south on John F. Kennedy Memorial Hwy to the state line of Colorado and New Mexico, where the Colorado section ends

Other Information

  • There is gas, lodging, shopping, restrooms, and camping along this route
Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

Overview

This byway has a number of recreational activities along the way, including canoeing, tubing, biking, horseback riding, hiking, exploring, camping, and fishing. Visitors can walk along and cross the continental divide, explore the old mining and homestead sites, and visit the ruins of ancient cliff-dwellers to gather a sense of what it might have been like to live in their era.

110 miles / 177 km loop, Silver City to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument to San Lorenzo

Key Attractions

  • Camping, hiking, and backpacking – there are many trails and campsites along the byway, including campsites with hookups available for RVs – some popular areas include the Gila National Forest, the Gila Wilderness Area, and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Horseback riding and mountain biking – permitted both on and off the numerous trails in Gila National Forest – excellent riding area with beautiful scenery and a cooler mountain climate
  • Canoeing – available and accessible in several places along the Gila River
  • Bayard, NM – visit the old historic mining district, Santa Rita Mine, historical reenactments, old western scenes (like horse-drawn carriages and wagons in the streets), and historic Fort Bayard, the U.S. Army fort
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument – view the prehistoric cliff homes of the Mogollon people that lived in the area from about the 1280s to early 1300s
  • Gila Wilderness – come view the extensive wilderness area, home to panoramic views and ancient volcanic history – the evidence of basalt boulders and towers remains here today
  • Continental Divide – the byway crosses the divide several times and crosses paths with the Continental Divide Trail – an important and popular hiking destination
  • Varying, beautiful scenery – from the denser forests of pines and aspens along the mountainous Continental Divide to the jagged, brown cliffs along the Gila River, to the drier, grassy hills with juniper trees
  • Bird-watching – Lake Roberts and the Cameron Creek birding areas – popular spots for birding – enjoy hundreds of species of birds, including about ten species of hummingbird in this area
  • City of Rocks State Park, located south of the byway, west of NM-61 – visitors can see the unique rock formations, great for exploring, camping, and hiking, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions

Location

  • Located in the center of the southwest quadrant of the state of New Mexico
  • 210 miles southwest of Albuquerque, NM; 109 miles northwest of Las Cruces, NM; 201 miles northeast of Tucson, AZ
  • Driving the byway:
    • The byway is basically the shape of a triangle, with an arm extending from the northern point of the triangle
    • Starting in Silver Springs, NM (the southwestern point of the triangle), at the junction of E. Broadway Street and NM-90, travel north on NM-90 to Hwy 180
    • Drive Hwy 180 a short distance to the junction with NM-15
    • Here the byway splits into two sections (two arms of the triangle), the northern section and the eastern section
    • Northern Section:
      • Take NM-15 north through Pinos Altos
      • Continue north on NM-15 until the byway meets up with the eastern section at NM-15 and NM-35
    • Eastern Section:
      • Take Hwy 180 east and exit onto NM-152, east of Santa Clara
      • Continue on NM-152 until the junction with NM-35
      • Drive NM-35 northwest through Mimbres and continue until the byway meets up with the northern section at the junction of NM-15 and NM-35
      • From the junction of NM-15 and NM-35, drive NM-15 north to the byway’s end, near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Other Information

  • Gas, lodging, food, restrooms, and shopping are located along the byway, mainly in Silver City, NM
  • The portion of the byway located from NM-15 to NM-35 is not recommended for RVs and trailers
Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway

Overview

The Turquoise Trail is believed to be an ancient path, traveled by ancestral Puebloan people. The Byway is located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Along the byway, visitors will find unique geologic formations and scenery, like no other place on earth, beautiful desert and mountain landscapes, recreational opportunities, and historic sites and museums.

62 miles / 99.8 km, Tijeras near Albuquerque to I-25 near Santa Fe

Key Attractions

Turquoise Trail Map
  • Sandia Mountains – view beautiful crest of the mountains, especially beautiful in springtime, covered in dense, green foliage with rugged rock outcroppings
  • Sandia Peak Ski Area – great winter and summer activities, with chair-rides in the warm months, and tram rides year-round
  • Cibola National Forest – beautiful scenery and endless opportunities for recreation
  • Garden of the Gods Rock Formation – visitors can view the amazing rock formations from the road or stop and explore the area – beautiful and interesting deposits of sandstone and mudstone, visible in horizontal, tilted layers due to geologic activity beneath the earth’s surface
  • Museum of Archaeology & Material Culture – 22 Calvary Rd. in Cedar Creek, NM – exhibits on the 12,000 year history of the area
  • Mining and railway museums – located along the byway

 Location

  • Central-northern New Mexico
  • 14 miles from Albuquerque, NM; Santa Fe located on byway
  • Driving the byway:
    • At the junction of NM-337 and Forest Rd 423 near Tijeras, NM, take NM-337 north to NM-333.
    • Travel northeast on NM-333 to NM-14
    • Take NM-14 north until junction with NM-306/NM-536
    • The road branches here, and travelers can take the Sandia Crest spur:
      • Turn left onto NM-536 heading west
      • Continue on NM-536 and follow it past the junction with NM-165 until you reach Sandia Crest, where the road ends
      • Return to the junction with NM-536 and NM-14
    • Travel north on NM-14 through Madrid
    • Byway ends at junction of NM-14 and I-25 southwest of Santa Fe

Other Information

  • There is shopping, gas, food, and lodging along this byway
  • Camping is available along the byway at Turquoise Trail Campground and at some nearby locations within the National Park

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