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New Mexico Scenic Routes & Destinations
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- The Taos Loop: Beginning in
Taos, a wonderful loop
Eagle Nest, Shadybrook and back to
Questa is a small but handy little village with a couple of motels
and stores. It's a great place to get supplies or spend the night. Be
sure to visit the nearby National Recreation Site, formerly called the
Rio Grande Gorge, but now called Two Rivers or Wild Rivers or some
such thing. It will always be the Rio Grande Gorge to us! The problem
with the former name was confusion with the state park of the same name.
The National Recreation Site, however, is a great place for hikers,
folks who like to fish and campers. The mile hike into the gorge is
not for the weak, and be watchful of that crazy mountain weather. We
done the hike twice and been caught in storms both times. But, it's
Also from Questa, on Hwy. 38, several
National Forest Parks are
located including our favorite Columbine that has a trail head to the
wilderness and a trout stream. Then, it's on to Red River, known as
a ski town, but it's much, much more. It's a lovely town with lots
of family-oriented activities and shops galore. But, it's nothing like
the sprawling ski resorts like Vail. Red River is downright comfortable.
The rest of the loop continues through the mountains including several
passes at over 9,000 feet. Then you are back to Taos.
While Taos is
a bit touristy, many visitors love it's boutiques and culture. All in
all this is one of the best loops we have ever experienced.
- Cimarron to Ute Route: Just east of the Taos loop on Hwy. 58,
Cimarron Canyon provides another scenic opportunity. The state park
stretches for miles along the canyon where camping without hookups is
available. Fishing is available almost everywhere. The town of
Cimarron has all the necessities including alternative accommodations.
From Cimarron, head to Springer, another nice town with accommodations.
From there, take Hwys. 56 and 39 through the Kiowa National Grasslands.
The phrase "wide open spaces" was invented for this place. What's
even more fascinating is where the highway literally drops off the
plateau. This is very steep. We haven't tried going up the cliff and
don't know if we want to try it!
Eventually you will arrive in
Ute and find a very nice state park
with hookups and showers located there. Also, be sure to check out the Road to Ruin Tavern near
- Ute to
Las Vegas (New Mexico): From Ute, head to Conchas
State Park with its lovely campsites overlooking the lake. Then, it's
on to Las Vegas on Hwys. 184 and 65. Be sure to have gas and other
provisions. There is nothing to speak of until you get to Las Vegas.
has great location for many sightseeing adventures. Also,
near Las Vegas are several National Forest Parks and Storrie Lake
State Park that has all the amenities. Take a shower before heading
to the north and the Mora to Penasco scenic route.
- Mora to Penasco:
From Mora, north of Las Vegas, follow the
highway and Comales Canyon to the west. (This highway is mislabeled
on some maps, but it's Hwy 518.) There are National Forest Parks
along the canyon, and some are absolutely free. Access to hiking
and multi-use trails are also along the way. You can also fish your
self to death in this area. None of the towns along the way are very
large, but Mora, Holman and Penasco have the basic necessities.
- Navajo Reservoir: While located in a very desolate-looking
desert area in the northwest corner of New Mexico, Navajo Reservoir is
worth a stop. It has two state parks, but we prefer the western location on
San Juan River. This one (Pine) overlooks the lake and marina.
Both have hookups and showers. The San Juan River is also a great
fishing location. Navajo Reservoir has great location, too. Durango,
Colorado, is just to the north. Other nearby sights include the Aztec Ruins
National Monument near the town of
Aztec, Angel Peak National Recreation Site, and Chaco Culture
National Historic Park.
- Carlsbad to
Alamagorda: Everyone ought to go to
Carlsbad Caverns and then head northwest to Cloudcroft
in the mountains before dropping
down for a visit to
Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument.
Also nearby is
Ruidoso horseracing, several ski areas, petroglyphs
and several state parks. Valley of Fires State Park is an awesome
display of the volcanic past of New Mexico.
- Albuquerque: We couldn't leave New Mexico without mentioning
Albuquerque. We love it because it saved our lives one day. On that
day we had driven from Navajo Reservoir. Somewhere in the middle of
nowhere we had a blowout and discovered our spare was on its last leg,
too. A gentleman from the nearby
Navajo Nation stopped to help us and told us to go to Cuba
to find a replacement. We found one used tire and were glad to have it.
From there we stopped at several prospective campsites, but nothing
caught our imagination, so ended up exhausted and irritable in
Albuquerque's La Quinta Inn.
Albuquerque is a great place for this. The city is easy to get
around in because it's flat and has a gridlike street pattern. At
the same time, the mountains are right next door, and you can get to
them on the wonderful Sandia Peak Tram. Here's to Albuquerque...we love you!
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Other Interesting New Mexico Pages
Sights Worth Seeing - Texas to New Mexico Trip
The Art of New Mexico and the Southwest/Museums
New Mexico Links
Out West Newspaper
Roads Less Traveled
Aventura Artistica - Upscale Tours
Enchanted Weddings of Taos
The Whole Enchilada - New Mexico Links
New Mexico Travel Books
New Mexico and Southwest Links
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More Places in New Mexico
Faywood Hot Springs
Counties in New Mexico
Cities in New Mexico
New Mexico Photos
Ute State Park
Conchas State Park
Heron State Park
Rio Grande River
Navajo Reservoir and State Park
The Road to Ruin; Ute, New Mexico