Tried and True Must-Do Activities in New Mexico
Top Things to Do in New Mexico: Exploring Stunning Landscapes, Rich History, and Vibrant Culture
Hey there, fellow travelers! Are you ready for a new adventure? Today we are headed to New Mexico, one of the most underrated states in the US. It is a place where you can find some of the most stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. So, let’s dive into the top things to do in New Mexico that are worth your time!
Traveling to New Mexico: A Day One Adventure
Bandelier National Park – Geological and Archeological Sites and Cave Dwellings
We started our day early, having breakfast at around 7:30 a.m. before heading out to rent a car. We had already booked the car in advance, so we were ready to hit the road as soon as we got it. Our first stop was Bandelier National Park, a deserted area where we wouldn’t be able to find any food for miles. We stopped at Subway to get some sandwiches packed for the trip, as it’s always good to be prepared.
After a 1 hour and 30 minute drive, we reached the White Rock Visitor Center in Los Alamos, the closest city to Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier National Monument is a must-visit destination with over 70 miles of trails to explore. We decided to go for the most popular trail, the 1.4-mile Loop Trail, which takes you through various archaeological sites along some paved and pebbled paths. The geological formations here are incredible, and after walking along the paved section for some time, we came across a set of stairs that led to the beautiful caveats – small human-carved alcoves within the tough. To peer or step inside one, you have to climb these ladders. It was amazing to walk by these cliffside dwellings and incredible canyon walls, all while discovering small alcoves and stunning views of the canyon.
We spent around two hours at Bandelier National Monument before taking a shuttle back to the White Rock Visitor Center, where our car was parked. We ate our sandwiches, changed our clothes, and left for the next place on our list, Taos.
Taos – Native American and Pueblo Sites
The roads in New Mexico are an absolute treat to travel along, making our way through the lovely landscapes, we reached Taos after driving for about one and a half hours. Our first stop here was Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of New Mexico’s standout tourist attractions. This Native American site has been continuously inhabited for over a thousand years, making it one of the oldest communities in the U.S. We took a guided walking tour to learn more about this National Historic Landmark, which offered an invaluable insight into Pueblo Indian life. We got to see the beautiful San Geronimo Church, which was built in 1850, the remains of an old church and cemetery, and walked the alleys through these adobe structures.
Most of these multi-storied buildings are believed to have been built over five centuries ago, and around 150 or so people still live in them, protecting and preserving their age-old traditions for future generations. They are still living here without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing, as their ancestors have for centuries. The water body called the Red Willow Creek running through the central open area is the direct and sole source of water for the community. This is the home of a very private group of people, so there are certain restricted areas indicated by signs. Be sure to be respectful and follow the rules. Many residents have shops and restaurants in their homes, and it was lovely checking out their locally produced art and crafts.
We left Taos Pueblo for another beautiful spot in Taos, the Taos Plaza. Just a 10-minute drive away from Taos Pueblo, Taos Plaza is the historic heart of the town, lined by lots of beautiful old adobe buildings and booming businesses. This place has a lovely lively yet laid-back feel to it.
Exploring the Mysteries of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico
New Mexico is a state full of surprises, from art galleries to stunning hotels to mysterious historical parks. On our third day in the state, we set out to visit one of its most remote and fascinating sites, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
The road to Chaco Culture National Historical Park is rough and deserted, but as we arrived at the visitor center, we were relieved to see many cars and people walking around. We learned about the ancient turbulence known as the Anasazi who flourished and built huge communities in Chaco Canyon a thousand years ago. Today, these people are referred to as Chuck ones, and the park still has their crumbling remains consisting of several structures and dwellings.
The park is not easy to visit because of its remoteness, and visitors need to carry water, food, sunscreen, and a hat. We bought our tickets, some travel guides, and visited the museum that gave us a detailed sneak peek of what to expect in the park.
The Nine Mile paved Loop covers some of the largest and best-preserved great houses. The first major stop was Fungopavi, an impressive great house that provides a glimpse of what these structures looked like before excavations. The ruins contain an enclosed Plaza, many rooms, and is likely to have been three stories tall and D-shaped.
Our next stop was Chateau Kettle, the second-largest great house. A half-mile trail guided us through the ruins, and the trail guides were informative with numbered stops, letting us know more history and information about what we saw. The d-shaped structure is believed to have been used as a place for larger scale ceremonies, and there’s a well-preserved great Kiva believed to be used for various ceremonies, some elevated Kivas, and several hundred feet of the intact perimeter wall.
These Chaco complexes are the largest buildings constructed in North America before the 19th century, and half the fun of learning about history is imagining life as it was. We spent about half an hour touring this house before taking the Petroglyph Trail to one of the most important sites in the park, Pueblo Bonito.
Spanish explorers named this massive great house Pueblo Bonito because it resembles a pretty Village. It is the largest prehistoric Southwest Native American dwelling ever excavated, and it is believed to have housed about 800 people.
The most impressive part of Pueblo Bonito is the sheer size of the structure, the engineering expertise needed to construct such a place, and the fact that its purpose remains shrouded in mystery. It is believed that it was a religious center, a trading post, or a royal residence, but no one is sure.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a fascinating place to visit, full of mysteries, and a reminder of the ancient Anasazi civilization that once thrived in New Mexico. As we left the park, we were amazed by the incredible history and natural beauty of the place, and we couldn’t wait to return someday.
Exploring the Wilderness: A Visit to the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico
New Mexico is a state filled with natural wonders that offer unique experiences for adventurous travelers. One such place is the Bisti Badlands, located in Northwestern New Mexico. It’s a true wilderness area that features eroded badlands with unusual rock formations that seem to belong in a fantasy world.
My visit to the Bisti Badlands started with an unexpected turn of weather that almost ruined our adventure. However, our guide Kylo, who had been tracking the rains and winds like a pro, was determined to get us through it. After waiting for the weather to clear up, we drove along a thin muddy trail, spotting wild horses from a distance, until we arrived at the starting point of the Bisti Badlands.
The Valley of Dreams, a part of the Bisti Badlands, is a place where visitors should not venture without a professional local guide. Our guide, Kylo, knew every single bit of the area by heart. As we started our hike, we encountered various rock formations that looked like a howling wolf, a dragon, and even an alien throne.
The hike through the rocks was a bit of a challenge, but the spectacular geological formations and sandstone cap rocks made it feel like we were on another planet. The wind and water-carved clay hills of the Bisti Badlands were formed over the last 75 million years, giving way to ancient fossils and arches spread across a six-mile area.
As sunset approached, we set up our base camp, and Kylo took us to explore more rock formations of the area and helped us capture some great shots of the sunset. After a while, the photographers in our group set up their tripods to capture the Milky Way, which was a first for most of us. The pitch-dark sky was mesmerizing, and the night sky photography turned out to be an unforgettable experience.
Our visit to the Bisti Badlands was an out-of-the-world experience that we could have never thought of doing had it not been for the guided tour. It’s a must-visit place for adventure enthusiasts who like to travel off the beaten track.
Next, we headed towards a city called Truth and Consequences, which is famous for its hot springs. Thanks to the geothermal activity in the region, New Mexico is a hot spot for hot springs of all sorts. Riverbend Hot Springs is a popular hot spa located in the city, and we booked a nice stay there to unwind and relax.
In conclusion, New Mexico is a state that offers a wide range of exciting experiences, from exploring stunning landscapes and rich history to immersing oneself in vibrant cultures. This underrated state has plenty to offer for the adventurous traveler. Bandelier National Monument and Taos Pueblo are two of the most popular tourist attractions that offer insight into the history and culture of the region. Additionally, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, one of the most remote and fascinating sites, offers a glimpse into the ancient turbulence of the Anasazi.
Travelers to New Mexico should be prepared for rough terrain and carry essential supplies, but the journey is worth it. The state’s scenic roads, old adobe buildings, and locally produced art and crafts make it a unique and must-visit destination for those looking for a new adventure. This summer, it is the best place to enjoy a vacation. If you’re planning a vacation, this is the best place to travel with your loved ones. So, pack your bags, book your cheap flights to New Mexico from Travel Junction Us (I also booked from here), and get the best deal if you want to enjoy the vacation without breaking the bank.
About The Author: Hello Everyone, I’m Pettyy, “Travel Lover ”. I work as a customer support representative for Traveljunctionus full-time and my hobby is reading & writing or exploring new things. For booking cheap flights to New Mexico you can visit here.