Off the Beaten Path Series

Off the Beaten Path in New Mexico. Top 7 Places You Can’t Miss!

Aside from the worlds largest pistachio there is more to New Mexico. When we thought of NM we thought of desert, dry, and flat. OH ~ it’s to the contrary! Check out our list of amazing places!

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, near Cochiti

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Many people zip right past Tent Rocks when traveling between Santa Fe and Albuquerque without even realizing it’s there. At this national monument, you can hike in between a slot canyon, and up to a mesa that affords unsurpassable views of New Mexico. These rock formations are located off NM-22

The Town of Chloride, Sierra County If you’re a fan of ghost towns or the Old West, you’ll want to check out Chloride. The town supported numerous businesses including a mercantile, a hotel, and a butcher’s shop. The one bank wasn’t able to survive but it was turned into a saloon. Clearly, folks here knew how to have a good time. A handful of people still live in town but it’s essentially a ghost town

Turquoise Trail – Venture off the freeway and onto the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, and you’ll see what we mean. The Scenic and Historic Area encompasses 15,000 square miles in the heart of central New Mexico, linking Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The drive is approximately 50 miles along Highway 14. Enjoy a breathtaking view from atop Sandia Crest, then drive back into history through the mining towns of Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos, now coming alive with art, crafts, theater, music, museums and restaurants.

Camel Rock, Tesuque – This rock formation truly does look like a resting camel. Easy to find – No hiking involved!  Just off a highway exit, across from the Camel Rock Casino. 

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Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area  – Bloomfield The land is full of geologic eye candy like otherworldly spires, mushroom-shaped hoodoos, and prehistoric fossils. Located in the arid San Juan Basin of northwest New Mexico, the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area is located on 6,563 acres of public Bureau of Land Management land. From Bloomfield, New Mexico, take US 550 south to NM 57. Turn right and take NM 57 for 18.3 miles (the first 4.9 miles are paved) to a two-track on the right. It’s 0.6 miles to the parking area and the take-off point for hiking.

Blue Hole – This is super cool!! The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is a circular, bell-shaped pool east of Santa Rosa, New Mexico that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the SCUBA diving and training. It is a clear blue body of water with a constant 62* and constant inflow of 3,000 US gallons per minute. That is an incredible amount of water! While the surface is only 80 feet in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130 feet at the bottom.

Little visited and largely unknown, the Bisti Badlands is an amazingly scenic and colorful expanse of undulating mounds and unusual eroded rocks covering 4,000 acres, hidden away in the high desert of the San Juan Basin that covers the distant northwest corner of New Mexico, yet this area is just one of many similar regions in the region, the remainder even less publicized. The badlands are administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), are free to enter, and are known officially, but less evocatively as the Bisti Wilderness Area. The best way to find this area is actually GPS coordinates which is 36.259, -108.252 (this is the BLM trailhead)

Boondocking

You won’t have a problem finding boondocking places in New Mexico. Here are 2 great suggestions!

  • Beautiful views! Red Cloud – County Road A023 – Corona, New Mexico – GPS: 34.208941, -105.752795 – Great cell coverage!
  • There are an unbelievable amount of boondocking in the Santa Fe National Forest. Camp May again has plenty of room and great cell service. GPS: 35.897666, -106.398786

We’d love to hear your off the beaten path places you’ve seen in New Mexico. Make sure you leave your comments below! We’re headed through New Mexico again this spring, and would love to hear about your adventures. 

Live Simply – Give More – Expect Less!

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