View Full Version : What to see in New Mexico

07-24-2013, 06:17 PM
Leaving BC Canada mid September for Palm Springs via Eastern Utah and New Mexico. Santa Fe, Albuquerqiue, las Cruces etc - what would anyone recommend as "Must Sees" and "Where to Go"?? As we may not be back this way again. We will be visiting national parks and monuments. We like hiking and biking.
Thanks for any ideas

07-24-2013, 06:41 PM
If you get around Roswell stop in and see the museum. Not the one for the Aliens the regular museum that's next to the visitors center. One of the finest collections of Cowboy and Indian artifacts I've ever seen as well as a very large collection of Conquistador items. Then another part of the museum has Gottard's (the father of rocketry) workshop and artifacts and still another part is a great art gallery with many great paintings. It was a total surprise to us, but when we are back in that area again we will go back. Also in that part of the state is Carlsbad Caverns.

07-24-2013, 09:38 PM
In Albuquerque there's the Sandia Peak Tram, one of the longest Tram rides and goes up to the Sandia Mountains overlooking ABQ. But don't go up if you are afraid of heights. The panaroma is fantastic. There's also a Restaurant at the top. Just be forewarned, ABQ is over a mile high, then the Tram goes another 5,000 ft. This is a heck of an elevation gain in less than an hour. Don't be surprised if you get light headed. If you start getting headaches, then GET BACK DOWN QUICK. Drinking lots of water will help.

Santa Fe is a beautiful town. There are many great craftsman/artisan shops everywhere. If you get a chance, look for local Native Kilns and get some fresh bread!!! But you might want to buy several. DW and I can finish one of those loaves pretty quick.

Places I haven't been and regret it are Carlsbad Caverns outside of Las Cruces and also the White Sands Monument on I-25 between Las Cruces and ABQ.

You are picking a great time of the year. If you end up in ABQ early October, there is the Albuquerque Balloon fiesta, one of the largest Hot Air Balloon gatherings anywhere. I hope it's still being held. There are activities for ballooners all week. But make a reservation very soon because Hotels, Motels and campground in ABQ and up to Santa Fe (about 50 miles north) fill up VERY FAST if you plan to spend a few days.

07-25-2013, 03:03 AM
Carlsbad Caverns, just south of Carlsbad NM is worth seeing. If you are there in the evening the have a viewing of the bats leaving the cave at dusk. If you like sand, there is also White Sands National Park...lots of white sand.

07-25-2013, 05:33 AM
I agree that Santa Fe is worth a visit, especially if you like art. I am not a particular fan of art, but was amazed at the incredible talent some people have. Also visit the Loretto Chapel and its "miraculous staircase" in the downtown area.
And we were at Carlsbad Caverns last month. First time I had been there in about 40 years. Walk in the natural entrance and come out via the elevator to see the whole thing. Or you can go down the elevator if you only want to see the big room or are short on time. Plan on 3-4 hours for the full self tour. Impressive and worth a visit if you enjoy caverns. But it is way out in the middle of not much.

07-25-2013, 07:25 AM
The Ruidoso area in New Mexico is awesome, it's a resort type of place in the Sierra Blanca mountains adjacent to the Lincoln National Forest. The town sits at about 7,000 ft asl. There are several nice camp grounds in the area, we're at Twin Spruce right now and it's very nice. They have several casinos plus the Ruidoso Downs Horse Racing Track, golf courses and several museums of the old west. Just up the road a piece is the town of Lincoln New Mexico, made famous by Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County Wars, lots of historic stuff to see there. As mentioned before, Roswell is 50 miles east and Alamagordo is 50 miles to the south, it has White Sands National Monument, which in my opinion is a must see, there is the New Mexico Museum of Space History which is amazing as well. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is about 3 hours south west and as mentioned already it is a must see, also Gaudalupe Mountains National Park is just down the road from Carlsbad and you can hike and bike forever there, it's actually in Texas but who cares.

07-25-2013, 10:42 AM
You mention "eastern Utah" and New Mexico. Drawing my own conclusions about the route this might suggest I would mention the following:

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Mesa Verde National Park, Cortez, Colorado

On the way to Santa Fe, a stop in Taos is worth it. If you are familiar with "Death come to The Archbishop" [not sure I get this exactly right] which is a slightly dramatized version of the history Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe, there is an interesting relationship between him and the native clergy and especially with Padre Martinez of Taos. The Martinez hacienda is an historic place to visit in Taos. I concur with other comments about Santa Fe--the cathedral built by Bishop Lamy, the Loretta Chapel, the Plaza, many places to eat.

One visit we always make is out to Chemayo to the chapel and to the restaurant at Ranchos de Cheyamo. It's an easy drive out from Santa Fe. If you are staying in Santa Fe and have a day, the "high road" to Taos is a nice day trip--with lunch in Taos. You go though the historic villages of Trampas and Truchas. The church at Trampas goes back to Spanish colonial times. We have visited it many times, but in recent years it has not been open.

Excuse my spelling. I do not have documents before me. BTW, we will be in Santa Fe tomorrow night [Friday and Saturday].

07-25-2013, 10:48 AM
You could spend 4 weeks in southern New Mexico. The valley of fires near Ccarrizozo is worth seeing. One of the youngest lave flows in the 48. Three rivers Petroglyphs, White sands, space museum at Alamogordo, solar observatory at Sunspot, the Very Large Array, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Ft. Stanton, open pit copper mine at Santa Rita, the ghost town of Mogollon, the Mimbres cat walk, city of rocks . I was born and raised in Las Cruces and we just spent most of the winter there. Enjoy your trip!

07-25-2013, 01:35 PM
Thanks for all the valuable information. We are going to take our time. Approximately 2-3 weeks in New Mexico so hope to get a lot of your recommendations in. Lots of places I have not heard about before so will do some more planning before we go. thanks for the heads up on the balloon festival, better make some reservations.
Once again thanks for the great information and fast replies, what a great group MOC is!

07-25-2013, 01:49 PM
If you go up to northern NM, check out Raton. Nice little town, cool weather, Mt Capulin NP (old volcano) is there as well as Sugarite SP (old mining town).

07-25-2013, 05:07 PM
Silver City is a must see again and again- The result of the Great Flood is still very apparent- Four Corners is also an interesting spot to spend a day- JMHO- Don

07-25-2013, 05:44 PM
North of Albuquerque and west of Santa Fe is Los Alamos. If you're into history, this is were they developed the atomic bombs in secret during WWII. This story, the museum, and the scenery make it a must see place.

We agree with what everyone else has posted. We love exploring New Mexico!

07-25-2013, 07:50 PM
I think the top places would be Carlsbad and White Sands. Some days they close the road early in the morning near White sands when they have a launch.
I disagree with a previous post tho - I thought the aliem museum at Roswell was VERY interesting. It made a believer out of me!!! Just too many sworn affidavits on things that happened to be totally false.

07-26-2013, 06:45 AM
We have always wanted to visit the trinity site at white sands, the site of the first atomic test. Up until this year it's been open to the public twice a year, once in October and once in April but due to budgetary cut backs in the federal government, it'll only be open once a year on the first Saturday in April.

07-26-2013, 12:33 PM
I have been going to NM since I was 3--I am 66 now! Great place to visit--all the tips are great--here are a few more.
Santa Fe--great New Mexican food--lots of places, the Shidoni Foundry where you can watch bronze pours on certain days--check the website.
Bandelier National Monument--near Los Alamos
Los Alamos-great museum on nuclear energy
Chaco Culture National Historical Park--THE MOST outstanding Indian ruins ANYWHERE!
Taos Pueblo
Acoma Pueblo-near Sky City Cultural Center
El Morro National Monument--See signature of early NM explorers that were carved into the sandstone.
See the Wolf Sanctuary near El Morro.
In NE Arizona--Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Hubble Trading Post--still in operation today after over 120 years of business.
We stayed a week in Grants and visited alot of these sites in North Central NM.
We are heading to Santa Fe and Taos in about 2 weeks--can't wait to get there.
Any questions--send an email.

07-26-2013, 01:07 PM
Lots of good info here. I would suggest a day or two in Sedona, too. Beautiful red rock formations, good hiking and biking, and the town is interesting, too. kinda artsy, but nice.

07-28-2013, 05:22 AM
We live in four corners. I would highly recommend Mesa Verde NP. There are five National Parks in Utah (http://www.fiveutahparks.com/) that are all fantastic. If you hit Utah from the west Check out Great Basin NP in Nevada (http://www.greatbasinpark.com/), it's 8 miles into Nevada and a couple hours from Zion NP in Utah (http://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm). From there you can see most of the other Utah Np's. They are all AWSOME! Durango, CO is not far from Cortez, home of Mesa Verde NP. If you go south from Cortez to Shiprock, NM you will see, you guessed it, Shiprock (Mountain). Some of Lone Ranger movie was filmed in Shiprock and also Moab to name a couple. You will pass right by Four Corners Monument there if you want to see that. Be very careful on the road from Cortez through Shiprock down to I-40. It is one of the highest head on accident roads in the country. As far as NM the biggest thing I could recommend is the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque (http://balloonfiesta.com/). Be sure to catch it on either weekend for the most events. I have had better luck with the first weekend as this is the time of year when the weather changes. In NM we are 80's for most of September and right at Ballon Fiesta comes the first winter blast and the temps will drop to the 40's with wind and rain. Not so conducive to balloon piloting. Be prepared for cold temps in the morning and eve's at the fiesta. The BEST camping location is the offical camp area of the fiesta. Normal wind flows (the Albuquerque Box (http://www.theweatherprediction.com/weatherpapers/107/)) will bring the ballons right over your head some so low you can talk to the folks in the baskets. They also will be landing between trailers there. Quite fun.

Have a safe trip. If you do the ballon fiesta maybe I'll see you there.

daily double
07-31-2013, 01:22 PM
Just a little warning, if you go to Santa Fe, don't get off the interstate with anything in tow!!! The streets in the old town are extremely tight.

08-04-2013, 07:13 AM
When returning from VN in 1972 the Army gave me orders for White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. I was extremely bummed out until I got settled in down there. Lived there a year and loved it! We took a cross country motorcycle trip 3 years ago and went through the Ruidoso area, visited White Sands, and stayed in Alamagordo. We only were able to spend a couple of days in New Mexico but are planning on returning for an extended stay in our Montana.