Travel Guide for New Mexico

Travel Guide for New Mexico
"Red or green?" In New Mexico, you'll often be asked to clarify your choice of edible concoctions containing chile peppers. Eat chiles often as you tour central New Mexico in a clockwise loop beginning in Albuquerque. Become acquainted with the cultures, history, architecture, geology and landscape that give the roadrunner state its flavor. Chances are this tour will whet your appetite for the Land of Enchantment.


Don't expect to "see" Albuquerque in a day. Between the sights and activities of the city and the wealth of Southwestern lore in its museums, you'll not find yourself running out of things to do. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History has guided walking tours on Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. mid-March to mid-December, $4 for adults.

Hiking and mountain biking trails in the Sandia and Manzano mountains are world class. If you can schedule only one hike, make it the La Luz/Tramway Loop.

Old Town
Central Ave. N.W. and Rio Grande Blvd.
Albuquerque, NM 87104
(505) 243-7255

Ruins and Volcanoes

Drive south and west to Silver City and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Stop for a short hike at The Catwalk, five miles east of Glenwood, then continue north to El Malpais National Monument. Bandera Ice Cave and Volcano is an offbeat stop between El Malpais and the next stop, El Morro National Monument. El Morro is a Southwest cultural mélange.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
HC Box 100
Silver City, NM 88061
(575) 536-9641

El Malpais National Monument
11000 Ice Caves Road
Grants, NM 87020
(505) 783-4774

El Morro National Monument
HC 61 Box 43
Ramah, NM 87321
(505) 783-4226

Chaco Canyon

The northern loop of this trip goes first to Chaco Culture Center National Historic Park, which can easily occupy two days' time. Within the park's boundaries, walk to several Anasazi ruins, a prehistoric staircase, and the remains of a thousand-year-old highway. Find abundant overnight lodging in nearby Bloomfield or larger Farmington.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park
P.O. Box 220
Nageezi, NM 87037
(505) 786-7014

Sante Fe

The route to Santa Fe passes a number of ancient Indian pueblos, some of which welcome visitors. The city of Santa Fe is romantic and engrossing, with artisans' displays next to upscale shops, noteworthy architectural features, lodging, fine dining, museums, shopping and cultural events.

Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau
201 W. Marcy St.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 955-6200

Back to Albuquerque

The return route to Albuquerque passes within a few miles of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, where visitors walk through hoodoos (wind-sculptured stone monoliths) and a short slot canyon. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter. Fee is $5 per auto. Make a stop at Acoma Pueblo--it's well worth your time.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Bureau of Land Management, Rio Puerco Field Office
435 Montano N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 761-8700

Article Written By Lani Johnson

Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at or at

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