Hey there! I’m Laurel Tincher, founding father of the weblog By Laurel Christine. I write about sustainable dwelling and reconnecting with nature, together with tales about journey, vogue, design, and extra. My adventures in sustainability have taken me everywhere in the world, from my house state of California to my present house base in stunning Hawaii.
Just lately I had the chance to take a street journey round New Mexico, and it was among the best street journeys I’ve ever been on!
It’s no marvel why New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment. From historical pure wonders to Native American and Southwestern tradition, to UFOs and alien lore, the state is without doubt one of the most splendidly distinctive locations in the US and the world.
On prime of its cultural and pure websites, you’ll discover unbelievable meals and pleasant locals all through the state. A street journey is the easiest way to expertise all that New Mexico has to supply. You possibly can pack in all the key cultural and pure highlights in a 10-day to a two-week journey.
The primary airport in New Mexico is in Albuquerque. I wished to verify to go to White Sands, which is an extended drive from that airport, so I made a decision to fly into Albuquerque and fly out of El Paso, Texas, which labored out properly.
This journey itinerary contains stops in Taos and Santa Fe, plus outside excursions to the Bisti Badlands and White Sands Nationwide Park, with many different superb websites alongside the best way.
The Best Time to Visit
New Mexico gets snow in the winter and has sweltering, dry summers, so the ideal times to visit are from March-June or September-November. The fall is a less popular time for tourists, so things will be less crowded if you go that time of year.
There are also many festivals throughout the year if you have the opportunity to time your trip around a special local event.
I went on this road trip in June. The heat wasn’t too severe, but going in early summer did mean I had to take more breaks from the sun when visiting the parks and monuments.
Keep in mind that New Mexico can get sudden rain and lightning storms throughout the year. There were afternoon storms in the northern part of the state during the first several days of my trip.
Make sure your car has good wheels and working windshield wipers. I rented a 4WD car and was glad I did, although it isn’t essential for this trip.
My 10-Day Itinerary
- Day 1: Arrive in Albuquerque
- Day 2: Albuquerque
- Day 3: Bisti Badlands
- Day 4-5: Taos
- Day 6-7: Santa Fe
- Day 8: Bandelier National Monument
- Day 9: Las Cruces
- Day 10: White Sands National Park
Day One: Arrive in Albuquerque
New Mexico’s largest city blends historical culture with a modern downtown.
There are many ways to experience the natural beauty of the high desert area, which is the perfect introduction to the breathtaking state. I loved visiting local wineries and exploring Old Town Albuquerque.
In case you go to in October, you should definitely catch the world’s largest scorching air balloon competition.
Prime Issues to See and Do in Albuquerque:
- Discover historic adobe buildings, museums, and outlets in Previous City.
- View native wildlife on the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden.
- Hike La Luz Trail to the highest of South Sandia Peak for a stupendous view of the town. If the climate’s good, take the cable automobile again all the way down to the underside.
- Expertise native wines at Casa Rondeña Winery.
The place to Keep in Albuquerque:
Keep at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm for a calming countryside expertise. On the lodge, you possibly can trip bikes via lavender fields and eat meals grown proper on the property.
In case you don’t keep at Los Poblanos, undoubtedly nonetheless cease in for a espresso or a meal.
Day Two: Proceed Exploring Albuquerque
I might advocate exploring Previous City and climbing Laz Luz Path in your first day to get acquainted with the world. In case you aren’t up for the total hike, you possibly can drive to the underside of the cable automobile station for a shocking sundown view of the town.
On day two, go to the ABQ BioPark and go wine tasting. You can even stroll alongside the Rio Grande on the Rio Grande Nature Heart State Park.
Day Three: Hike the Bisti Badlands
Take the 40 West to the 371 North
[Approx. 182 miles | 3 hours]
Exploring the Bisti Badlands, or Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, was one of many highlights of my street journey. It might look like an extended technique to go, however it’s properly value it, particularly for those who’re a photographer or nature and historical past lover!
The Bisti is a 45,000-acre desert wilderness space with a few of the most original rock formations on Earth. In prehistoric instances the world was a coastal swamp, house to dinosaurs, reptiles, and different historical creatures.
I might extremely advocate reserving a walking tour with Navajo Tours USA, particularly for those who’re touring solo. It’s straightforward to get disoriented on the market, so by going with a information you’ll you should definitely see all the perfect websites with out having to fret about getting misplaced.
Plus, you’ll be taught a lot in regards to the geologic historical past of the area and the native Navajo tradition. I used to be touring solo and booked a one-on-one tour, which was such an unbelievable expertise!
Navajo Excursions gives each morning and night hikes, so for those who go away Albuquerque early, you are able to do the night tour, after which you possibly can all the time return once more within the morning by yourself in order for you extra time there.
A couple of issues to remember:
- Farmington is the closest place to remain for a go to to the Bisti Badlands, and it’s about an hour’s drive between the town and the Bisti wilderness.
- There aren’t any providers or bogs on the Bisti Badlands. Be ready for altering climate situations, pack water and snacks, and ensure your telephone is charged earlier than you go.
What to Do Round Farmington in Addition to the Bisti Badlands:
- The Aztec Ruins National Monument is an enchanting preserved web site that’s free to go to.
- Make the quick drive out to Ship Rock, a 1500 ft. rock formation with non secular significance to the Navajo Nation.
The place to Keep in Farmington:
- The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Farmington is a snug and handy place to land on your Bisti Badlands journey.
- You can even camp in some areas of the Bisti Badlands for those who’re planning on bringing your tenting gear.
Day 4: Drive to Taos
Take the 64 East
[Approx. 214 miles | 4 hours]
Taos is a beautiful artist colony, stuffed with galleries, museums, and historic adobe buildings. I may image having my very own artwork retreat there! The excessive elevation city is a well-liked vacation spot for vacationers in all seasons as a result of its entry to close by ski resorts. There are such a lot of unique things to do on this vibrant neighborhood.
Prime Issues to See and Do in Taos:
The place to Keep in Taos:
Staying at the Earthship community simply outdoors Taos is a as soon as in a lifetime expertise.
The Phoenix Earthship, which may be booked on Airbnb, features a attractive greenhouse and distinctive, sustainably designed biotecture, with a full kitchen and plentiful dwelling area
It’s a giant area for a solo traveler, however I additionally stayed in one of many smaller Earthships, and it was undoubtedly value splurging on the Phoenix to get the total Earthship expertise.
Taos is a beautiful artist colony, stuffed with galleries, museums, and historic adobe buildings.
Day 5: Discover Taos and Go to Taos Pueblo
Only one mile north of city, Taos Pueblo is an historical pueblo nonetheless inhabited by a Native American tribe of Puebloan individuals. The UNESCO World Heritage Web site is without doubt one of the oldest constantly inhabited communities in the US.
The adobe dwellings had been constructed about 1,000 years in the past, and about 150 individuals at the moment dwell there full-time. I actually loved chatting with the residents, making an attempt native meals, and studying about this fascinating neighborhood.
Day Six: Drive to Santa Fe
Take the 68 South to the 84 South
[Approx. 70 miles | 1 ½ hours]
It’s a brief, stunning drive from Taos to the capital city of Santa Fe. You possibly can go away early and pack in a day of climbing at Ghost Ranch or take your time and luxuriate in a leisurely day on the street.
The place to Cease Alongside the Drive to Santa Fe:
I had heard incredible issues about climbing at Ghost Ranch, so I drove on the market on my technique to Santa Fe. After I arrived, I spotted I didn’t have sufficient time to do any of the hikes, so I left and drove all the best way again to the 68 South!
Chimayo is a small city simply 40 minutes outdoors Santa Fe.
It contains a historic church and a number of other well-known weaving outlets and is understood for its well-known Chimayo peppers. You should definitely discover a cafe that serves chile scorching chocolate drinks, so scrumptious!
The place to Keep in Santa Fe:
Keep at Hotel St. Francis for its cozy and traditional Santa Fe fashion within the coronary heart of the town.
Day Seven: Explore Santa Fe
New Mexico’s capital is known for its art scene and pueblo-style architecture. The city is a blend of old and new, and filled with an abundance of culture and creativity.
Top Things to See and Do in Santa Fe:
- Rent a bicycle and explore the city on wheels, or ride one of the many local trails.
- Visit the historic Santa Fe Plaza, stuffed with distinctive outlets and eating places.
- Eat native and natural Mexican meals at Cafe Pasqual’s.
- Immerse your self in a mysterious multimedia artwork expertise at Meow Wolf.
- Don your cowboy hat and head to the Santa Fe Opera for a singular desert efficiency. The gorgeous opera home is partially open to the outside, permitting for unbelievable sundown and evening sky views.
Day Eight: Bandelier Nationwide Monument
An hour outdoors Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument is an ideal half-day tour.
Inside the park are 11,000-year-old human settlements constructed right into a rocky canyon. In case you aren’t afraid of ladders, you possibly can climb up inside a few of the highest settlements. In any other case, there are extra accessible cave dwellings to discover.
Day 9: Drive to Las Cruces
Take the 25 South
[Approx. 285 miles | 4 ½ hours]
The ultimate stretch of this final New Mexico street journey takes you virtually to the southern border of the state. Las Cruces lies on the fringe of the Chihuahuan Desert, simply north of the U.S. border with Mexico.
Alongside the drive, cease on the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to view birds and different native wildlife. There’s a loop street you possibly can drive round for straightforward viewing, or you possibly can take extra time to hike within the nature protect.
Prime Issues to See and Do in Las Cruces:
- Go wine tasting on the many native wineries across the metropolis. Though New Mexico will not be a widely known wine area, winemakers across the state produce a plethora of high-quality wines.
- Go to a pecan farm. Along with wineries, Las Cruces is house to dozens of pecan farms, a few of that are open to guests.
The place to Keep in Las Cruces:
- Keep at Lundeen Inn of the Arts to attach with the native desert tradition. Filled with historical past and Southwestern artwork, the lodge is the right place to finish a New Mexico street journey.
Day Ten: Go to White Sands Nationwide Park
The final cease on the journey is considered one of my favourite locations on Earth. White Sands National Park is the world’s largest gypsum dune discipline.
The ethereal white dunes stretch on for 275 sq. miles. Within the park, you possibly can go on quite a few hikes into the dunes, take superb photographs, and even go sledding down the dunes! You should definitely keep for sundown, it was some of the stunning I’ve ever seen.
Suggestions for Visiting White Sands National Park:
- It takes about an hour to drive from Las Cruces to the park.
- Pack sunscreen, water, and a hat. Take breaks from the solar typically, as you don’t all the time understand how scorching and dehydrated you’re getting.
- I used to be involved about getting misplaced within the dunes, however you gained’t have any points for those who regulate the street that winds via the park.
- Decide up snacks and meals for lunch at Mountain View Market Co+Op in Las Cruces.
- Seize espresso and breakfast for the street at Nessa’s Cafe.
I hope you loved this street journey information to New Mexico! For extra New Mexico suggestions, go to my New Mexico posts here.