The Good New Mexico Highway Journey Itinerary

Image white sands, gorgeous sunsets, otherworldly rock formations, and hardly any crowds, and also you’ve obtained New Mexico. Admired by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and popularized by Breaking Unhealthy and Higher Name Saul, that is the land of crimson and inexperienced chiles, Native American historical past, and surprises round each mountainside and bend.

New Mexico is a spot of deep contrasts – the sunshine and the darkish, the luxurious and the desperately dry. In a state that doesn’t get almost as a lot PR as Arizona or Utah, we set out on a 2 Week Highway journey to seek out out what New Mexico needed to supply. In case you’re embarking on an identical journey, put together to fall in love. That is the proper Itinerary:

Las Cruces

The southernmost main metropolis in New Mexico, Las Cruces is the leaping off level for White Sands Nationwide Park and the dramatic Organ Mountains Nationwide Monument.

I beloved watching the solar gentle up the Organ Mountains, which appear like a set of tooth. When the sundown is good, it paints them crimson. Watch from sundown hill or on the best way to the Dripping Springs Pure Space, which is nice for mountain climbing.


  • The Shed: A neighborhood favourite Serving up French toast made with cranberries and domestically grown pecans. However that was not sufficient for me, oh no! I wanted to have the banana pancake drops as properly, that are primarily bananas wrapped in cake batter, then dunked in maple syrup. When it’s carb time, why not go all in, amiright?
  • Noticed Canine Brewery: One other native favourite with scrumptious sandwiches and (in all probability) scrumptious beer for the beer lovers on the market.


We LOVED this Airbnb simply south of town. It’s an historic constructing from the ’30s, plus it has a sizzling tub, beautiful outside space, and the cutest doggos ever.

White Sands Nationwide Park

white sands national park
Is that this actual life?

White Sands Nationwide Park really is as mesmerizing as you think about will probably be. It’s a gypsum sand area in the course of the desert masking over 275 miles – the most important of its type on the planet.

The golden hour and sundown on the market have been one of the crucial spectacular I’ve ever seen. However there are some necessary issues to find out about visiting, like adequately making ready, bringing a sled with the intention to slide down the dunes on, and figuring out about opening and shutting instances. You possibly can learn my full White Sands information right here.

Carlsbad Caverns Nationwide Park

Carlsbad Caverns Nationwide Park options over 119 caves that have been fashioned when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone, abandoning caverns of all sizes. To this present day our bodies of water maintain being found throughout the caverns, making it a wonderland for geologist sorts. There’s lots past them as properly, with numerous wildlife to take a look at.

Reality be instructed that is the one factor on the record that I didn’t do. Everybody really useful it, however I couldn’t justify the detour once I’m not that into caves. Everybody assured me I had made a mistake, so subsequent time I come via New Mexico, I’ll be testing Carlsbad Caverns in addition to Roswell.

Take into account that you want reservations to enter the caverns. You possibly can be taught extra right here.

Reality or Penalties

Heading north on the 25 freeway, if you happen to’re a sizzling spring fanatic like I’m, then you’ll love Reality or Penalties.

This little city isn’t the bougie sizzling spring vacation spot that I anticipated. It’s a low-key, salt-of-the-earth sort of place with a few industrial springs which have made it well-known with guests. The best-rated is Riverbend.

We ended up reserving an Airbnb that had its personal Sizzling Spring proper on the Rio Grande. I used to be blown away by how a lot animal life there was! Simply the sheer variety of birds made it a pleasant expertise. Think about filling up your individual sizzling spring whereas the solar rises and an Osprey dives down into the water to catch a fish. This actually occurred to me!


Tony’s Mexican Restaurant is the place it’s at. Really, it’s essentially the most taking place place on the town!


This Airbnb is a bit dear, nevertheless it was value it. Alternatively, lease one thing cheaper and go to Riverbend!


The place Walt’s well-known underwear shot passed off

I hope I don’t offend any New Mexicans once I say that Albuquerque was the least-descript place we visited, with extra of a typical American metropolis really feel and fewer of the individuality than the opposite locations on this record.

That’s to not say we didn’t adore it! As an enormous fan of each Breaking Unhealthy and Higher Name Saul, Albuquerque for me was all about exploring the filming places and geeking out over the present. Following the filming places led us to the Grove for brunch, Java Joe’s for scrumptious espresso, and some different surprises in between.

Turquoise Path with Cease in Madrid

In your solution to Santa Fe, you possibly can take the 25 freeway, however why do this when you possibly can take the Turquoise Path? This scenic drive between Albuquerque and Santa Fe meanders via rolling hills and creative communities. Remember to cease by the Bottle Home for a private tour from Leroy earlier than arriving in Madrid.

Madrid was as soon as a ghost city that artists moved into to breathe new life into it. Nowadays you’ll discover loads of galleries with jewellery, sculptures, rugs, and crystals. This was such a pleasant city that was bustling over the weekend! I like to recommend consuming lunch at The Hollar and exploring the galleries on foot earlier than you head onward to Santa Fe.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe appeared just like the extra upscale, artsy and design-focused a part of New Mexico – and I beloved it! Properly all of New Mexico had its personal character, Santa Fe served up that quintessential Southwestern vibe that I feel most individuals image once they consider New Mexico. That is the place you’ll discover a few of the best eating places, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, artwork galleries on Canyon road, and the IAIA Museum of Modern Native Arts (MoCNA).

The Meow Wolf Museum was a trippy wonderland, and the galleries of canyon street had me enchanted. Remember to learn my in the future in Santa Fe itinerary to hit all one of the best Santa Fe has to supply, together with chocolate!


Kakawa Chocolate Home for some ingenious sizzling goodies and scrumptious truffles!

El Palacio has scrumptious brunch that I’ve to say was one of the best we had in New Mexico!

Zacatlan: Get the brief rib for certain, though most reviewers rave concerning the tacos. Reservations really useful.

Keep: Galisteo

There are many upscale lodges which you could keep in Santa Fe, and I completely perceive if you would like that have. Most individuals don’t put this cease on their street journey, however this historic space has pueblos courting again to the 1600s-1700s.

We stayed right here as an alternative of in Santa Fe with the intention to have a extra distinctive, really New Mexican expertise. This Airbnb is over 100 years outdated, and the proprietor’s household lived in it for generations earlier than turning it right into a rental! It’s additionally an awesome worth in an different smart bougie Santa Fe.

Jemez Springs

The Jemez space, together with Valles Caldera Nationwide Protect, is roofed in pine timber and is the proper mountain climbing vacation spot. Though there are many great mountain climbing trails like Battleship Rock and the Cerro Grande, I had my sights set on San Antonio sizzling springs.

That is one among a number of sizzling springs within the space, together with Spence and McCaulley, in addition to the developed, first-come-first-served Jemez Sizzling Springs.

I beloved the terraced look of the San Antonio Sizzling Springs, so I hiked to them despite the fact that it was over 5 miles every approach. This isn’t all the time true, because the street is usually open though within the spring time when it tends to be muddy, you possibly can rely on it being closed.

Bandelier Nationwide Monument

In case you’re hoping to see some historic cave dwellings, then put this in your record. Human settlements on this space date again over 10,000 years, and exploring these dwellings is each fascinating and entertaining! I beloved imagining what life was like again then. And I admired how intelligent it was to determine residences within the rock, which is porous and simple to carve.

We visited on a heat day in April, and the temperature within the caves should’ve been at the least 20° cooler. I think about the other is true within the winter. In case you have a nationwide parks cross, this gives you free entry to the nationwide monument.

If coming from the North, you’ll additionally cross by the Puye Cliff Dwellings, that are one other spectacular set of cave dwellings and buildings to discover. Remember to test their web site as a result of like many issues on Native lands, these are closed attributable to COVID for the time being.

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks Nationwide Monument is one other wonderful web site, I’m certain. It is usually quickly closed, however test to see if it has reopened by the point you’re studying this, as a result of it seems soooo cool!

Taos – Earthship Biotecture

Think about a group of over 70 earth homes which are fully off the grid. Not solely that, however they’re designed to be wonderful, trippy designs utilizing outdated tires, bottles, cans, and adobe.

It’s fully self-contained, rising its personal meals, creating its personal power from the solar, subsisting on rainwater that’s filtered and reused 4 instances all through the construction, and is self-heating, in concord with its atmosphere. After spending time right here, you would possibly ask your self why each construction isn’t constructed this fashion.

I stayed in two Earthships throughout my New Mexico street journey, and candidly seeing this for myself was one among my largest motivators for visiting the state within the first place! You possibly can learn extra concerning the expertise, each the nice and the unhealthy, right here.

Even if you happen to don’t find yourself staying in one of many earthships, you possibly can take a look at the customer’s middle the place you possibly can take a tour of 1 construction and see how the programs work. Whereas that is cool, it solely offers you a style of the expertise. So I like to recommend that you simply keep in a single day in a single! That is the Airbnb I like to recommend.

Bisti Badlands

Except you’re coming from northeastern Arizona, the Bisti Badlands will likely be a detour, nevertheless it’s a worthy one.

The sheer quantity of various rock formations that you will note is mine blowing, from the ‘alien throne’ to the ‘alien eggs’, the badlands, and all the rocks in between. Each twist and switch presents a special rock formation, and since there’s no set path, you possibly can simply go on the market and get misplaced. However that mentioned, watch out and just be sure you are orienting, as a result of it’s the true center of nowhere.

In the identical space you’ll discover the De-Na-Zin wilderness, and simply south the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wilderness. You possibly can camp in a single day within the parking zone of all of those areas, and in every you’ll discover distinctive rock formations.

Off of the identical freeway, the 371, there’s additionally the Chaco Canyon and Fajada Butte. The Chaco Canyon options ruins that have been occupied round 1000 to 1250 A.D.. We might have beloved to see these, however a lot of the critiques emphasised the significance of a excessive clearance, four-wheel-drive car. So we are going to you should definitely carry our truck subsequent time!

There are a few cities to the north – Farmington and Bloomfield. We stayed on a farm in Bloomfield and it was an awesome worth.

if you wish to do that street journey simply us, give New Mexico at the least three weeks. You can do that itinerary in two weeks, or after all you possibly can reduce out components of it which are a bit extra distant. That mentioned, it was the distant issues that I beloved essentially the most! Both approach, benefit from the journey on this stunning, underrated state.

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