Friday, June 14, 2024

6-Day New Mexico Highway Journey Itinerary for Outside Lovers – Bearfoot Idea

New Mexico, also called the “Land of Enchantment”, is an underrated state for journey. The state has a lot to supply, together with beautiful pure sights, wealthy Pueblo heritage, a vibrant arts scene, unimaginable meals, and journey.

The highest highlights of the state — White Sands, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque — are a bit far aside, however the journey and the fascinating stops alongside the way in which are price making it a highway journey.

This itinerary is about ten hours of driving time whole and the areas are divided into stints not more than two hours aside.

I made all of those stops in six days, however I like to recommend that you just benefit from the state at a slower tempo in the event you can!

Since I used to be restricted on time, I moved by means of the journey rapidly and spent loads of time within the automobile driving from place to put. I additionally suggest flying into El Paso and out of Albuquerque to avoid wasting your self the trouble and time of needing to double again.

You’ll should take your personal journey preferences into consideration when deciding the place to spend an in a single day. At minimal, I like to recommend an in a single day keep in Almorgado after visiting White Sands Nationwide Park and two nights in Santa Fe.

P.S. Don’t count on site visitors on this highway journey! A lot of the journey occurs on quieter roads. So pack up your highway journey necessities, get snug, and let’s go on a New Mexico highway journey!

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Vital Reminder: Because it goes in the entire locations we share, please follow good path etiquette and bear in mind to Go away No Hint. This implies packing out all your rubbish (together with rest room paper), being respectful to others, and following the established guidelines.

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New Mexico Highway Journey Map

Right here is an outline of the route for this New Mexico Highway Journey.

Day-by-Day New Mexico Highway Journey Itinerary

Under you’ll discover a 6-day itinerary for a New Mexico highway journey with the proper mixture of distinctive cities, outside actvities and delightful landscapes. On the finish I share some extra stops in the event you’d like to increase your journey.

Day 1: El Paso, Texas – Las Cruces – White Sands Nationwide Park

  • Distance: 105 miles
  • Drive time: 2 hours

This New Mexico highway journey itinerary begins in Texas, truly. El Paso Worldwide Airport is the closest airport to southern New Mexico, which implies it’s the closest main airport to White Sands Nationwide Park. Lease a automobile from the airport terminal, and head north to start out your journey!

Earlier than embarking on my journey, I finished briefly to expertise the El Paso Scenic Drive and Overlook. This overlook supplied magnificent sights from atop the town. You’ll be able to even see the United States-Mexico border. For those who’re quick on time, you’ll be able to skip this cease.

El Paso Scenic Overlook from the top of the stairsEl Paso Scenic Overlook from the top of the stairs
El Paso Scenic Overlook

Relying on the time of day you arrive, it’s possible you’ll resolve to spend your first evening in El Paso or Las Cruces, about an hour from the airport. Since I arrived within the morning, I left El Paso and continued my journey after Las Cruces.

Tip: Earlier than you depart in your New Mexico highway journey, refill your fuel tank (and refill usually!). You’ll usually be driving alongside lengthy stretches of roads with no providers.

Las Cruces

  • Journey distance: 1 hour (52 miles) from El Paso

La Cruces might be your first cease on this New Mexico highway journey itinerary, and is a superb place to stretch your legs, seize a chew, and recharge earlier than your second leg of the drive.

In Las Cruces, there’s tons of restaurant choices. Andele’s is a energetic, Mexican cantina that serves Mexican Sizzling Canine. For a vegan-friendly spot, hit up Habaneros Contemporary Mex.

For those who’re seeking to sneak a fast hike in proper off the bat, drive 25 minutes east of La Cruces to the Organ Mountains. Right here you’ll discover a wide range of trails wherever from two to seven miles lengthy.

I like to recommend the Dripping Springs Path (3 miles) for a style of the world. This gravel path is rated as reasonable, beginning on the Guests Heart and resulting in a small seasonal waterfall.

For those who do resolve to hike within the Organ Mountains, it could be price discovering a lodge in La Cruces for the evening so that you aren’t rushed whenever you get to White Sands Nationwide Monument. Alternatively, in case you are quick on time, I’d counsel passing by means of Las Cruces rapidly so you’ll be able to spend extra time at White Sands.

Organ Pipe Mountains at sunsetOrgan Pipe Mountains at sunset
Organ Mountains in New Mexico

White Sands Nationwide Park

  • Journey distance: 1 hour (53 miles) from Las Cruces

When you’re achieved in La Cruces, proceed onto White Sands Nationwide Monument, which can undoubtedly be a spotlight of your New Mexico highway journey. As of August 2023, entry is $25 per personal automobile.

Buying an America the Stunning Annual Move($80) will avoid wasting cash in the event you go to 3 or extra federal websites within the upcoming yr. Bandelier Monument, talked about later on this itinerary, can also be a part of the move program.

White Sands is very beautiful at dawn and sundown. Cease by the Customer’s Heart for an orientation movie, displays, and a restroom break. Then, proceed on to see extra of the park. Relying on the time of yr, mid-day on this space might be very popular, so make sure to have loads of water and solar safety.

I opted to stroll the Interdune Boardwalk, a simple .4 mile, 20-minute stroll. This boardwalk is totally accessible for wheelchairs and strollers and affords a shaded space about mid-way by means of.

White Sands National Monument interdune boardwalk trailWhite Sands National Monument interdune boardwalk trail
The Interdune boardwalk is a simple accessible path that could be a good introduction to White Sands Nationwide Monument

White Sands affords many extra trails for exploration that mean you can expertise the sand stretching so far as the attention can see. The Alkali Flat or the White Sands Backcountry Path are good choices for getting off the crushed path.

White Sands is an incredible place to look at the sundown. To benefit from your time, I extremely suggest mountaineering as much as the highest of a towering dune in time for golden hour. On a transparent day, you’ll be able to count on vibrant, colourful sunsets that mild up the sky within the prettiest of pastels. Carry a headlamp and keep for the blue hour after the solar goes down for the total vary of colours.

White Sands National Monument from the top of the dunes at sunsetWhite Sands National Monument from the top of the dunes at sunset
Be sure to catch the sundown in White Sands Nationwide Monument for the total expertise

The place to Keep Close to White Sands Nationwide Park

As soon as the solar units, proceed into the city of Alamogordo, solely fifteen minutes away. For those who’re at White Sands for sundown, put together to drive in full darkness (apart from the opposite automobiles additionally headed to city).

In Alamogordo, you’ll discover lower-budget lodging from high chains, in addition to bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations, motels, and Airbnbs.

I stayed on the Traditional Desert Aire Resort, a three-star lodging providing essentially the most scrumptious selfmade breakfast that was included within the room fee.

Day 2: Roswell – Route 66

  • Distance: 253 miles
  • Drive time: 4 hours


  • Journey distance: 2 hours (119 miles) from Alamogordo

Within the morning, proceed your drive towards Roswell, a kitschy city identified for all issues aliens, after a rumored UFO crash in 1947. All the city is decked out in all-green alien figures on banners, indicators, and merchandise. Even the McDonald’s is formed like a UFO.

The Worldwide UFO Museum and Analysis Heart is an interesting cease on this New Mexico highway journey itinerary. The museum was based to tell the general public about what has grow to be generally known as the “Roswell Incident.” It showcases a set of written content material across the alleged alien sightings, in addition to replicas of aliens. With admission at solely $7, don’t miss it.

Earlier than you depart Roswell, make sure to refill on fuel for the subsequent stretch of freeway.

Three alien statues inside the UFO Museum in Roswell, NMThree alien statues inside the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM
Worldwide UFO Museum and Analysis Heart | Photograph: Eleanor A.

Route 66 (Santa Rosa)

  • Journey distance: 2 hours (134 miles) from Roswell

After your stint in Roswell, drive north to satisfy the well-known Route 66. The Route 66 Auto Museum and the Blue Gap are the primary points of interest in Santa Rosa.

The auto museum showcases over 30 classic automobiles, plus Route 66 memorabilia, like data and Coca-Cola indicators. The museum additionally has a memento store the place you should purchase some neat gadgets for household again house. It’s price a cease for any traveler, automobile fanatic or not. Admission is $5.

If automobiles aren’t your factor, cease by the Blue Gap, an 80-foot deep crystal-blue pure swimming gap that’s good for a dip. You’ll be able to even SCUBA dive right here for a one-of-a-kind expertise.

Blue Hole swimming hole in New Mexico on Route 66 Blue Hole swimming hole in New Mexico on Route 66
Blue Gap on Route 66

Days 3-4: Santa Fe

  • Journey distance: 1.5 hours (108 miles) from Santa Rosa

Head north once more and arrive in Santa Fe, the cultural middle of New Mexico. This charming metropolis is named a hotbed for artistic arts, with a mixture of high-end and lower-priced artwork galleries, textile outlets, pottery outlets, and far more situated on each block. For that motive, it’s price spending a few days in Santa Fe. Most guests keep within the Outdated City, the center of the town.

Santa Fe was based as a Spanish colony in 1610 and nonetheless options genuine Pueblo-style structure. The Palace of the Governors, now the New Mexico Historical past Museum, sits on the coronary heart of the downtown space. This space could be very walkable and homes many accommodations, shops, galleries, eateries, and absolutely anything else it’s possible you’ll want.

Storefronts in Old Town Santa FeStorefronts in Old Town Santa Fe
Outdated City Santa Fe

For those who’re into artwork or desire a distinctive Santa Fe expertise, take a look at the immersive artwork museum, Meow Wolf. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum can also be an incredible place to go to for artwork lovers.

Santa Fe additionally has an unimaginable meals scene. Native favorites embrace chili, burritos, and posole, a standard Mexican consolation stew, normally consisting of simmered pork shoulder (take a look at La Choza for a vegan model). For those who go to on a Saturday, the Farmers Market (which takes place yr spherical) shouldn’t be missed. It’s an incredible place to choose up some peppers to take house with you.

Santa Fe additionally has nice summer season and shoulder season mountaineering. The Santa Fe Nationwide Forest affords dozens of trails within the Southern Rockies which can be lower than an hour from Sante Fe. The mountains on this area are surprisingly massive, with some peaks reaching 13,000 toes in elevation.

Sante Fe’s mountainous backdrop

Whereas I didn’t have time to discover these mountains, the Nambe Lake is one which’s on my checklist. It’s a 6.3 mile hike that leaves from the bottom of the Santa Fe Ski Space ending at a beaufitul alpine lake, paying homage to one thing you’d see in Colorado.

When you’ve got further time, Sante Fe is an efficient leaping off level to Jemez Sizzling Springs, the place you could find plentiful New Mexico sizzling springs to soak in. Alternatively, it’s a simple day journey as much as hike to Taos or Bandelier Nationwide Monument (which I’ll speak about beneath).

A brief drive from Sante Fe results in these stunning mountains

The place to Keep in Santa Fe

With its vibrant arts scene, Santa Fe attracts two million guests every year. There isn’t any scarcity of luxurious, spa-like locations to remain. Take a look at Eldorado, a centrally-located four-star lodge with a stunning rooftop infinity pool. Ebook a balcony room with a hearth to take pleasure in each the sunny days and the chilly evenings.

Day 5: Bandelier Nationwide Monument

  • Journey distance: 50 minutes (41 miles) from Santa Fe

For a beautiful day journey exterior of Santa Fe, drive about 50 minutes northwest to Bandelier Nationwide Monument. This federal recreation land protects 33,000 acres of canyons and mesas and is the ancestral lands of 23 completely different Native American tribes. Guests can see petroglyphs, caves, and carvings on the rock cliffs, and standing masonry partitions from human civilization courting again over 11,000 years.

Most guests will discover the Essential (Pueblo) Loop Path, a 1.4 mile loop path that begins on the Guests Heart and continues by means of excavated archeological websites on the ground of Frijoles Canyon. You’ll be able to discover the path by yourself or as a part of a Ranger Guided stroll, supplied most days in the summertime.

The three-mile roundtrip Falls Path, which ends up in the breathtaking Higher Falls, is one other common path. The location additionally affords 70 miles whole of varied pathways.

Entrance for a non-public automobile prices $25, or is roofed by the America the Stunning annual park move.

landscape shot of Bandelier National Monumentlandscape shot of Bandelier National Monument
one of many caves in Bandelier Nationwide Monument

Day 6: Albuquerque

  • Journey distance: 1 hour (65 miles) from Santa Fe

Your remaining vacation spot on this highway journey is Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest metropolis. Albuquerque is most identified for the Worldwide Balloon Fiesta, which happens yearly in October.

Dozens of hot air balloons in the sky during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at sunriseDozens of hot air balloons in the sky during Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at sunrise
Don’t miss the Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta in October

Stroll down the Biopark the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in huge greenspace (observe the Biopark will not be dog-friendly). The Biopark’s Botanical Gardens options 32 acres of displays, that includes native vegetation and flora from world wide.

The biopark additionally has a zoo, house to over 900 animals. Get a combo ticket to take pleasure in your complete park. It’s $22 for non-residents ($16 New Mexico resident). Seniors and youth get discounted pricing.

Very similar to Santa Fe, there’s a wealthy handcrafted arts scene, with many outlets promoting Native American items. The Outdated City space could be very walkable to accommodations, eating places, museums, shops, and public parks.

Outdated City Albuquerque dates again to 1706 when the town was a Spanish colony. Guests can discover many historic buildings, like San Felipe de Neri Church, quite a few museums, and impressed accommodations.

San Felipe de Neri ChurchSan Felipe de Neri Church
San Felipe de Neri Church

For affordable, delicious eats, take a break at Sawmill Market. This contemporary meals corridor affords 25+ eateries, and contains one thing for everybody. Diners can take pleasure in burgers, burritos, pasta, waffles, pizza, sushi, vegan choices and extra. A number of bars (21+) anchor the corridor, making this a preferred after-work spot for locals. Take a look at Cashos for scrumptious empanadas.

The place to Keep in Albuquerque

For those who’re flying out of the Albuquerque Worldwide Airport, keep on the Airport Marriott Courtyard or one other lodge in that speedy space.

For those who desire to return to El Paso in your remaining day, it’s an extra 250 miles of driving (~4 hours).

When you’ve got extra time…

If 6-days isn’t sufficient and you’ve got further time to discover, listed here are a few add-ons to this New Mexico itinerary:

  • Cease in Taos earlier than going to Sante Fe: a city bordering the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that’s wealthy in indigenous historical past with mountaineering, snowboarding, and different outside actions
  • After leaving Sante Fe, spend a day in Jemez Springs soaking a New Mexico’s pure sizzling springs

Finest Time to Go to New Mexico

Summer time is the most well-liked time to go to New Mexico. Temperatures in Sante Fe usually attain the mid-80s, because of it being 7,000 toes above sea stage. Nevertheless, White Sands Nationwide Monument which is decrease round 4,000 toes is way hotter with the highs within the mid-90s and no shade.

For the very best all-around climate at the entire locations on this New Mexico itinerary, I’d counsel visiting in spring or fall. You’ll have delicate temperatures each in Sante Fe and White Sands, together with fewer crowds. Simply make sure that to pack layers for mountaineering and be ready for noticeable temperature swings between day and evening.

Hope this submit will get you excited to go to New Mexico! Go away your questions and New Mexico highway journey ideas down within the feedback.

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