New Mexico Vacation Directory- Vacation Guide 2023

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Regions of New Mexico Akin to Five States in One

NEW MEXICO’S wide-open spaces are ready to welcome you. Whether you are merely seeking a change of scenery or are in need of a more extensive getaway with a touch of adventure, there has never been a better time to look

to the stunning four regions of picturesque New Mexico. The state’s natural beauty, rich history, outdoor activities, and diversity of cultures offer experiences of a lifetime for staycationers and vacationers alike.

Northwestern New Mexico: Rocks, Roads and Bling

WHETHER you venture to the Four Corners monument (where you can stand in four states simultaneously), are drawn to the ancient mystery of Chaco Canyon, join in the annual Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremony in August, or cruise historic Route 66, there is much in this region of New Mexico to heighten the senses and stir dormant primal connections.

Amid 200-million-year-old cliffs outside Gallup is Red Rock State Park and Museum, featuring interpretive displays of ancient Anasazi culture alongside modern art from the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes. Consider with each step that you are walking on land once occupied by the ancient Anasazi Indians.

Immerse yourself in antiquity at El Morro National Monument, (south of Interstate 40, west of Ramah on NM 53) where fragments of history and ancient cultures are embedded in the great sandstone promontory. Here, over hundreds of years, Spanish and American travelers rested and carved their signatures, brief messages and the dates they were there. For operating hours and trail information, call the visitor center at 505-783-4226, ext. 801 for the most up-to-date information. Campground sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Art gallery walks are among the most popular activities in Farmington. While they are offered year-round virtually through the Farmington Convention Center at farmingtonnm. org/virtual-art-walk, the seasonal self-guided walks are not to be missed if you can make one or more of them in person. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. and go till dusk June 2, October 6, and November 25. Start at Orchard Park where maps and other information can be found. Meander to your heart’s content among the artists in shops, in the park, and outside along the route. See the Northwest New Mexico Arts Council website,, for details. A downtown Makers Market also occurs Thursdays, June 2-September 29, from 3 p.m. to dusk, with food, music, and artisans from around the state.

Venture along historic Route 66 where you can see the motels, diners, and neon of the era as the "Mother Road"

winds its way west out of Albuquerque toward Gallup. For railway buffs and anyone interested in the history of the Southwest, Gallup’s historic railway depot is worth a photo op. The Southwest Indian Foundation also operates the Gallup Cultural Center inside the depot, 201 E. Highway 66. It contains a storyteller museum and displays about trains, mining, weaving, Native American sand paintings and silversmithing, as well as the stories of Route 66.

A scenic drive off I-40 east of Grants escorts you to the otherworldly volcanic flows of El Malpais National Monument, located on exit 85 off I-40 in Grants. Its surface trails and Visitor Center are open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, closed major holidays. Stop in for maps, information, orientation, cave permits, a Western National Parks Association bookstore, museum exhibits, and park movies. For more information and updates on operations, visit planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

Take a stop from your scenic tour of the region at Sky City Casino Hotel on I-40, east of Grants. Sky City offers 24-hour gaming with more than 640 of the newest and hottest slot and video poker machines, Las Vegas-style table games, bingo, and live entertainment, with fine accommodations and dining all in one place.

Trading posts and shops throughout Northwestern New Mexico offer a variety of new and old Native American arts and crafts, including painting, pottery, jewelry and carved fetishes. | 2023 4
Photography by Jensine Odom. Photography by Stephanie Klepacki.

The New Mexico Vacation Directory is published once a year in May by Moon Dog Publishing, Albuquerque, N.M. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented in this guide. The publisher does not take responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of the advertisers’ messages or that of the guest writers/ columnists or any aspect of the business operation or conduct of the advertisers in the magazine. For information and advertising rates, call (505) 350-8695 or (505) 259-7969.

4: Regions of New Mexico Akin to Five States in One

4: Northwestern New Mexico: Rocks, Roads and Bling

6: Northeastern New Mexico: A Raucous Past Among Varied Vistas

6: Southwestern New Mexico: Frontiers Old and New

9: El Rancho de Las Golondrinas Receives Funding for ADA-Accessible Trail System

10: Southeastern New Mexico: Caves, Casinos and Culture

14: North-Central New Mexico: History, Art, Culture

19: 26 State Scenic Byways Call Out for Road Trip

24: Vacation 2023: Destination Alamogordo!

26: Pop a Pistachio: New Mexico’s Other Tasty Treat

The Ride Of Your Life.

Steal away a day on the award-winning, historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Climb aboard and leave your worries behind. From the open air gondola to the breathtaking views from your private window, this is a scenic train ride unlike any other. Join us for a day trip through the unspoiled Rocky Mountain West. Vibrant and beautiful as always. Depart from Antonito, Colorado or Chama, New Mexico. The modern world can wait while you take the ride of a lifetime.

America’s most historic scenic railroad

Cover photo courtesy of Silver City, NM.
book now at 1-888-286-2737
NMVacationDirectory_Ride_8.25x3.indd 1 3/22/22 1:32 PM

Northeastern New Mexico: A Raucous Past Among Varied Vistas

NORTHEASTERN New Mexico's diverse terrain includes everything from the state’s highest mountain, to the valleys and clear water streams of the Pecos River. As a result, this quadrant of New Mexico has some of the most breathtaking scenery to be found.

As expansive as the mesa is the area’s history, which includes outlaws, Rough Riders, a raucous cow town and the dwellings of ancient civilizations. Experience the mystery and intrigue of the historic St. James Hotel in Cimarron, a tiny community with a storied past that includes Buffalo Soldiers and train robbers.

Make a stop along the legendary Santa Fe Trail into the once-bustling cattle town in Las Vegas, where Teddy Roosevelt came to recruit the Rough Riders. The City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection tell the stories of Roosevelt’s charge on San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.

Venture to nearby Fort Union and walk through the territorial style adobe remnants of the region’s largest 19thcentury military fort. Recognized for its antique shopping opportunities, Las Vegas also provides a chance to learn the New Mexico Harvey House story. Entrepreneur Fred Harvey built a series of iconic hotels and restaurants along

Southwestern New Mexico:

SMACK DAB in the middle of Southwestern New Mexico on 18,000 acres of desert is the commercially licensed Spaceport America. Built as a hub for future space travel, the facility is situated along a path followed centuries ago by other like-minded souls seeking a new frontier. Visiting and touring Spaceport America requires prior authorization and a minimum 24hour advance reservation. To inquire about private tour availability or to buy tickets, call Final Frontier Tours at (575) 267-8888 or email: The secure, futuristic facility stands in stark contrast to the many historical landmarks dating back hundreds of years throughout this quadrant of New Mexico.

the railway routes of the Southwest, attracting tourists to the area from around the world at the turn of the 20th century. Nestled among the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains just six miles from the Colorado border, hospitable Raton offers fresh air, expansive scenery, a variety of recreational activities, a vibrant art scene and regular downtown events. A dozen miles northeast of Raton, you’ll find camping, fishing and hiking in Sugarite Canyon.

About 40 miles west of town, enjoy abundant wildlife, luxurious spa amenities and fine dining amid the ultimate outdoor adventure on Ted Turner’s 585,000-acre Vermejo Park Ranch.

Finally, don’t miss the National Rifle Association’s largest shooting range in the country. The NRA Whittington Center, located southwest of Raton, offers guided hunts, shooting, camping, firearms training and pistol courses. Call ahead at 800.494.4853 to create your experience.


Old and New

Nearby, the tiny agricultural community of Hatch proudly produces New Mexico’s famous green chile. Name recognition of New Mexico’s beloved signature crop from Hatch is growing nationwide. The region is also home to many pecan orchards and vineyards.

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Photography by Maddie Baker. Photography by Scott Elkins.
7 | 2023 400 Canyon Road • Santa Fe, NM 87501 • 505-983-8815 • 800-746-8815 • VENTANA FINE ART
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Partially funded by the city of Santa Fe Arts Commission and the 1% Lodgers’ Tax, County of Santa Fe Lodgers’ Tax, and New Mexico Arts. Get Your Hands On History 300+ years of history 500 acres of New Mexico landscape 34 historic buildings 7 exciting festival weekends Open June–October Wednesday–Sunday | 10 am–4 pm Hours may vary on festival weekends. scan to plan your visit Become a museum member for free admission all season long!

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas Receives Funding for ADA-Accessible Trail System

EL RANCHO de las Golondrinas, New Mexico’s premier living history museum, was chosen this year as one of 19 projects to receive funding through the state Economic Development Department’s Outdoor Recreation Trails+ grant program.

The museum, off Interstate 25 south of Santa Fe, was awarded $50,000 to support an expanded ADA-accessible trail system throughout the historic museum property. A re-envisioned and expanded wayfinding system utilizing universal symbols and Spanish translation will be implemented throughout the trail networks.

The clearer navigation will ensure more equitable access to the site, which is dedicated to the history, heritage, and culture of 18th- and 19th-century New Mexico. Visitors can see 34 original colonial buildings set on 200 historic acres of a rural farming valley enjoyed by sheep, goats, and burros. Live re-enactments show how people lived on the frontier in early New Mexico, and special festivals and weekend events provide an in-depth look into the celebrations, music, and dance that existed during the Spanish, Mexican, and Territorial periods of the Southwest.

Project design and surveying of the property will begin this year, with a groundbreaking to follow. Since the funding must be matched by the museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas is seeking donors to contribute to the project.

“Las Golondrinas is very grateful for receiving this grant. Coming off of our 50th anniversary we are excited to be laying the groundwork for the next 50 years at Las Golondrinas. It is especially important to us to begin a project focused on visitor experience, safety and ADA accessibility,” museum director Daniel Goodman said in a news release.

The Outdoor Recreations Trails+ grant seeks to enhance economic development, prosperity and wellness for New Mexicans and tourists through projects including outdoor classrooms, river walks, and trail accessibility.

To donate to the museum or to find dates of special events, visit https://golondrinas.

org/. Donations can also be made on site. El Rancho de las Golondrinas is open for self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, June 1 through October. For private tours, call (505) 471-2261 ext. 101.

9 | 2023

Southwestern New Mexico: Frontiers Old and New

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Just outside of Las Cruces, stop in for a glass of awardwinning wine, or pick up a fine vintage to take home at Rio Grande Winery, 5321 N Highway 28. The winery produces 15 to 17 wine varietals, including Mission wine (a variety that dates back about 500 years), pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and malbec, on its 23 acres. The sweet oasis in the desert has for decades provided panoramic views of the Mesilla Valley. Live music often is scheduled on weekends. The winery is closed Mondays, and operating hours vary on other days. Visit or call (575) 201-3744 for more information.

Once a railroad hub, Las Cruces is home to New Mexico State University and serves as a center for agriculture, science, and technology research. A short jaunt to the southwest part of Las Cruces and you’ll find yourself in the quaint village of Old Mesilla with its distinctive central plaza and shopping venues.

Head west toward New Mexico’s bootheel and enjoy the rustic ambiance of Deming, Lordsburg, and bordertown Columbus. Check local listings in these areas for reenactments of life on the frontier.

Civil war history, mining, prospectors, and the Wild West are all part of the texture of Silver City, located just three miles east of the Continental Divide. No trip to this area is complete without a visit to Catwalk National Recreation Area, five miles off the highway from the village of Glenwood. Suspended dramatically along a beautiful canyon and over a cool creek that borders the Gila Wilderness, the Catwalk is a half-mile-long bridge that is universally accessible for all visitors.

In the Mimbres Valley, volcanic ash shaped by wind 35 million years ago created the geologic formations that comprise City of Rocks State Park, halfway between Silver City and Deming.

Fort Bayard offers a glimpse at Civil War Life. The spectacular Gila Cliff Dwellings, Gila National Monument, and Gila Wilderness are an indescribable must-see. Travelers will enhance their experience by making time to drive the Trail of Mountain Spirits, a 93-mile National Scenic Byway that winds around the southwest corner of New Mexico and past ancient cliff dwellings.

Southeastern New Mexico: Caves, Casinos and Culture

THE WILD WEST, World War history, recreational activities, and weird phenomenon are all part of a sojourn to Southeastern New Mexico, historically a farming and oil region.

In the other-worldly desolation of the mountainringed Tularosa Basin at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert, walk through dunes of glistening gypsum sand and experience the unforgettable beauty of White Sands National Monument. This is where the first settlers came more than 10,000 years ago and the U.S. military conducted research during World War II. The Visitor Center and gift shop are open daily at 9 a.m. The park, including the Dunes Area, hiking trails, and picnic areas, open at 7 a.m. Closing times differ by season. Check

The White Sands Missile Range Museum provides history of the region and the Trinity Site, where scientists tested

the first atomic bomb in 1945. Due to missile testing on the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, it is occasionally necessary for visitor safety to close the road into the park for several hours. U.S. Highway 70 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during times of missile testing. Visitors on a tight schedule are encouraged to check the park closure web page, park-closures.htm, the day before arrival to confirm hours of operation. You may also call (575) 678-2250 or visit https:// for updates.

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Photography by Caleb Jack.
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Explore the Season For tickets and more information visit or call 505-986-5900 #OpenAirOpera TOSCA Giacomo Puccini THE FLYING DUTCHMAN Richard Wagner PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE Claude Debussy RUSALKA
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Illustration by Benedetto Cristofani
by Nico Muhly


There is something about being in The Gila Wilderness that makes us feel at ease, forgeting about all of our troubles and just being in the moment to experience the beauty of the world around.

Southeastern New Mexico: Caves, Casinos and Culture

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A short jaunt away is Artesia, where you can experience art and culture on the street downtown. A series of bronze statues are positioned within the downtown district on Artesia’s History in Bronze and Downtown Walking Tour. It begins at the Artesia Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center in the historic train depot and stops at the impressive Artesia Public Library, home to a 46-foot Peter Hurd mural. The artwork was rescued from a downtown Houston building slated for demolition. Call (575) 746.2744 for more details.

The diverse and dramatic geology in this region features flat expanses of seemingly endless prairie connecting to the foothills of the Sacramento mountains, in which the villages of Cloudcroft and Ruidoso nestle. There are gambling venues to be explored in and around Ruidoso, including the many amenities and luxury of the Inn of The Mountain Gods, and Billy the Kid Casino and Ruidoso Downs Race Track.

To the south is Carlsbad, where Carlsbad Caverns National Park invites visitors to trek beneath the earth’s surface to see dozens of limestone caves. Bats that sleep in them by day fill the evening sky as they head out in a cloud of black to hunt insects. Reservations must be purchased online or by calling (877) 444.6777. Reservations only secure an entry time; entrance tickets must still be purchased upon arrival at the visitor center.

In Lincoln County, see the courthouse where notorious outlaw Billy the Kid shot his way out of jail. New Mexico’s most visited historic site, Lincoln offers an immersive experience hearkening back to a violent period in the state’s historythe Lincoln County Wars.

A short drive away from Lincoln is Fort Stanton, established to protect settlements along the Rio Bonito in the Apache Wars. Built in 1855 as a U.S. military fort, this is the largest of New Mexico’s state historic sites. Kit Carson, Billy the Kid and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry all lived at Fort Stanton. Confederate forces occupied the outpost in the beginning of the American Civil War, and later it served as America's first federal tuberculosis sanatorium.

If possible, be sure to visit the UFO Museum in Roswell, open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily, with an admission fee of $4 to $7 depending on age and military status.

Nearby, take a spin to Bottomless Lakes State Park. It lies 14 miles southeast of Roswell, where sinkholes range to 90 feet deep. The park’s recreation area is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Check the website for closures and construction updates:

North-Central New Mexico: History, Art, Culture

THE LARGEST CITY in the state, the oldest state capital in the country, world-class art communities, an authentic railroad town, and excellent accommodations can all be found in New Mexico’s NorthCentral quadrant cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos, and neighboring towns.

Majestic mountains rise abruptly from great expanses of plains, falling off to wooded river valleys. This diverse terrain provides a wealth of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, cycling and mountain biking. Just as varied are the surrounding communities, which comprise a mix of small-town charm, bucolic serenity, and a sleepy mountain-ringed village.

Make some time to experience the rich history and culture of Belen, founded in 1740 and interwoven with Spanish, German, and other cultures. The community boasts

an original Harvey House and offers a glimpse at what this historic railroad town looked like in the early 1900s. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities.

Birders, golfers, art lovers, historians and campers will find plenty of entertainment in Socorro. Check out the City’s website for a full list of activities available in the area, including walking tours, dirt biking, and shopping and dining.

If you like games of chance, then try your luck at Route 66 Casino on Interstate 25, west of Albuquerque. The casino | 2023 14
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Photography by Raychel Sanner.

North-Central New Mexico: History, Art, Culture

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floor features more than 1,300 slots, from pennies to high stakes machines, Vegas-style table games, a popular bingo hall, as well as full hotel accommodations, food, and regular entertainment options.

The rich history of Los Lunas can be discovered with a stop at its Visitors Center, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. While you’re there, look at the rich history of Los Lunas through a photo display inside the building.

Don’t miss Albuquerque’s Historic Old Town Plaza, the humble roots from which Albuquerque grew. Old Town offers an impressive selection of New Mexico cuisine and the work of local artisans in an area that surrounds historic San Felipe de Neri Church. The City’s BioPark and several museums, including the Albuquerque Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, are nearby. The plaza also offers a therapeutic ambiance if you just want to sit and watch the world go by.

Sixty miles north of Albuquerque on I-25, historic Santa Fe has world-class art galleries, museums, and restaurants, and is the seat of state government. Explore the fascinating history of the Palace of the Governors on historic Santa Fe Plaza amid the city’s signature Pueblo Revival architecture. Savor local cuisine at any number of restaurants, or grab a bite from a food cart's tasty hand-held faire on the plaza.

Step back in time just south of town at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. The Southwest’s premier living history museum, whose name means The Ranch of the Swallows, is dedicated to the history, heritage, and culture of 18th- and 19th-century New Mexico. Located at 334 Los Pinos Road, this historic site was an important paraje, or stopping place, along the famous Camino Real, the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Self-guided tours are available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, June through October.

Call 505.471.2261, ext. 101, for more information, or visit

North of Santa Fe in the town of Española, take a spin by the Santa Claran Hotel and Casino; the Puye Cliff Dwellings, which give visitors an immersive experience into the lives of the ancients; and the Black Mesa Golf Course, a great challenge to duffers.

Known as a world class ski area for decades, Taos Ski Valley has gained renewed attention since a $300 million redevelopment gave it a facelift that includes a hotel, a spacious children’s center and other added amenities that can be enjoyed year-round. Skiers and non-skiers alike benefit from Taos' clean air and magnificent views, rich spiritual traditions, creative inspiration, abundant outdoor recreation and shopping. A day in Taos will change your outlook and perhaps even your style.

For additional winter sports options, check out Angel Fire Resort, which offers a memorable Rocky Mountain experience for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Located 8,600 feet above sea level, the resort has views of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico.

Eight miles south of the Colorado border, the small town of Chama boasts elk habitats, clean rivers, hunting, fishing, rafting, hiking and camping, as well as a must-see night view of the Milky Way. Serious hikers can pick up the Continental Divide Trail not far from town. Chama’s train depot is the western terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. The train is scheduled to operate a regular season June 3-October 21. Visit for tickets and updates. It’s a good idea to book in advance.

Chama also hosts an annual Fourth of July fireworks display, and in the fall, the area around Chama is one of the best places in the state to see brilliant foliage.

Photography by Carrie Borden.
Welcome to New Mexico! We’re glad you’re here. Pick up a free Prime Time Monthly magazine! Live Entertainment Calendar, Interesting Articles, Health Information, and more! Find it at community centers, Albertson’s Grocery, Whole Foods Market, The Range Café or read online at Printed on recycled paper Volume 33 Issue Distributed across Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe • May 2023 Chocolate Maker Steve Prickett pg 12 Prime Time Founder Remembered, Hailed as ‘Renaissance Man’ pg 10 Ask A Health Care Professional pg 8 Blue Shield Division of Health Service Corporation, Legal Reserve Company, Independent Licensee the Blue Cross Association CHOOSE BLUE Enjoy Your Stay!

26 State Scenic Byways Call Out for Road Trip

The following has been compiled from information provided by the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s scenic byways website, the NM Tourism Department’s New Mexico True website, and New Mexico Nomad, a collaborative digital platform dedicated to promoting the best the Land of Enchantment has to offer.

NEW MEXICO features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways, totaling 2,900 miles that will have you screaming, “Road trip!” Committing to any of them promises a photo albumin-the-making and “remember when” stories born to be told and retold. Like a choose-your-own-ending book, the byway you select determines the theme and vibe of the trip. Old West outlaws or geologic splendor. Cool mountain trails. Contemporary art galleries.

No matter your selection, the byways showcase some of the most outstanding scenic beauty, historically significant locales, cultural richness and downright bizarre features of the state. Eight of the byways have even earned National Scenic Byway distinction. We have selected the following six byways to highlight since, taken together, they crisscross all areas of the state.

Southeast: Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway

Distance: 80 miles

Drive time: 2-2.5 hours, without stops

The drive: Pick up the loop trail on Highway 380 from either Capitan on the west or from Picacho on the east, then circle via NM highways 48 and 70, or along NM 214, which bisects the loop. The roads travel at high elevations (6,500-7,500 feet) through Ruidoso, Ruidoso Downs, Hondo, Lincoln, and Capitan. Along the way are two prominent mountain ranges

in the Lincoln National Forest - the Sacramento Mountains to the south and the Capitan Mountains to the north.

Named for New Mexico’s most notorious outlaw, this southernmost byway invites sightseers to step back into the Wild West era of the gunslinger, amid cool mountain air, sweeping vistas, and abundant forest wildlife. Trip Advisor reviews say the byway is a superb ride for history buffs due to the stops along the way or for motorcyclists due to the twists and turns.

There are several ways to hop onto the byway, which is among the most well-known and well-traveled in the state. However, most who have taken the journey suggest to begin at Billy the Kid Interpretive Center in the mountain town of Ruidoso Downs for an orientation.

Then, before heading out along NM Highway 70, consider a stop at the Hubbard Museum of the American West next door. Established in 1992, the museum houses the Anne C. Stradling Collection of authentic buggies and wagons, equestrian items, Native American artwork and western art. Life-size bronze horses gallop through its garden. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

If you’re a gambler or just want to try your luck at a few slots, Ruidoso Downs is up the road. Quarter horses race from Memorial Day (end of May) through Labor Day (start of September), and Billy the Kid Casino offers video blackjack and machines all year long.

As you make your way onto NM 48, you’ll find Dowlin’s Historic Old Mill, one of the last working water-powered

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19 | 2023
Photography by David Herron.

new mexico museum of space history

Alamogordo • 575-437-2840

new mexico museum of natural history & science

Albuquerque • 505-841-2800

national hispanic cultural center

Albuquerque • 505-246-2261

new mexico farm & ranch heritage museum

Las Cruces • 575-522-4100

museum of indian arts and culture

Santa Fe • 505-476-1269

museum of international folk art

Santa Fe • 505-476-1200

new mexico history museum Santa Fe • 505-476-5200

new mexico museum of art Santa Fe • 505-476-5063

new mexico historic sites Statewide • 505-476-1130

clockwise from top left: Ladder leading into Coronado Historic Site’s painted kiva, photograph by Eric Moldonado. Jar, Acoma Pueblo or Laguna Pueblo, ca. 1910, gift of Juan Olivas, MIAC 12024/12, photograph by Addison Doty. Eagle Dancers performing at Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1991, courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), neg. no. HP.2014.14.676. Fort Selden during the Summer Nights event, photograph by Norm Dettlaff/Visit Las Cruces. Image courtesy of Baila! Baila! Dance Academy and Lozoya Studios Jaguar mask, ca. 1960, Mexico, gift of the Girard Foundation Collection (A.1979.17.768), Museum of International Folk Art. An astronaut on the John P. Stapp Air and Space Park, courtesy of New Mexico Museum of Space History.


One Pass to See It All New Mexico CulturePass is your passport to 15 museums and historic sites.

21 | 2023 Explore DCA Museums and Historic Sites

New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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mills in the Southwest. It is also where legend has it that William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, once hid from the law in a flour barrel.

Ruidoso is one of the larger mountain towns along the route and therefore an ideal place to stop overnight or sit down for a meal at any number of restaurants. Multiple outdoor activities, including skiing in winter, are also available.

On the opposite end of the size spectrum is Alto. It’s a blip on the map, but one with world class art cache. Alto is home to both the Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts, and it boasts an incredible Dale Chihuly blown glass collection. (The other best site to see Chihuly works is in Seattle at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum.)

Further north is Capitan. There you can visit the Smokey Bear Museum and State Park. The museum has games, exhibits and a film about the tiny cub that survived a humancaused fire in the area in 1950. Smokey, who became the country’s most beloved symbol of fire safety, prevention, and education, is also buried onsite. The park offers an ADAcompliant two-acre path. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

As you wind back south, you’ll come to Lincoln, which is on the National Register of Historic Places as representing one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history. According to, historian Michael Wallis described the New Mexico Territory as sparsely populated but accounting for “at least 15 percent of all murders in the nation.” By 1880, the homicide rate was 47 times higher than the national average, “with gunshot wounds as the leading cause of death. Much of that violence occurred in Lincoln County.”

In fact, the Lincoln County Court House is allegedly where Billy the Kid pulled off one of his many escapes form the law, and the Tunstall Store, now a museum, is the site of one of his gunfights. Wooden crosses behind the store mark the graves of two of the men killed.

The Lincoln Historic Site manages most of the area’s historical buildings from the 1870s and 1880s, including 17 structures and outbuildings, seven of which are open year-round and two more seasonally as museums. Most of the buildings in the community are representative of

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Vacation 2023: Destination Alamogordo!

WHETHER you are looking for an outdoor adventure, historical journey, or just to enjoy a local brew while gazing toward the cosmos, consider immersing yourself in the art, culture, history, surreal natural beauty, and simple wholesome charm of Alamogordo. Founded in 1898 as a railroad town in southern New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, Alamogordo is situated in the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains, with Holloman Air Force Base just to the west. The town’s unusual name translates to “fat cottonwood” – ‘alamo’ meaning cottonwood and ‘gordo’ meaning fat.

Ready for some outdoor fun? Grab a picnic basket, lots of water, and a sled, and head out to White Sands National Park with its spectacular glistening white gypsum dunes just 15 miles away.

the history of the Native Americans who lived in the area, as well as the railroad, La Luz pottery, and ranching. Don’t miss the interactive NM Museum of Space History and New Horizons giant screen dome theater and planetarium. Explore the rocket park, pose as an astronaut on the moon, and try to land a shuttle. This Smithsonian affiliate museum educates and entertains adults and children alike.

Explore and sled the dunes, hike the trails, visit the museum, and then take a ranger-guided sunset stroll. Strolls are offered daily. Full moon hikes are offered April to December, and guided tours of Lake Lucero are available from November to March. Check the park website, index.htm, for more details.

Enjoy more outdoor fun at the historic Alameda Park Zoo, hiking or camping at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, and ancient rock carvings at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site.

For a little indoor culture, visit the Tularosa Basin Museum of History housed in a historic 1938 Pueblo Revival style building. Visitors can view artifacts from the days of early man, to Alamogordo's role in the Atomic and Space Ages. Delve into

The region is ideal for growing pistachios, pecans, and grapes. You can sample uniquely flavored nuts, enjoy sweet treats, sip some wine, and take a guided tour of local nut farms. Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the World’s Largest Pistachio! Wrap up your day by enjoying a magical sunset, a delicious meal, and live music at one of the local breweries, taprooms, or wineries.

Schedule your trip to enjoy special events. Take in a world-class show at the Flickinger Center for Performing Arts or a tailgate concert throughout the summer. On the second Saturday of each month, Roadrunner Emporium hosts a walking ghost tour in Alamogordo’s historic district. Family-friendly nights with live music, food and craft vendors happen on the fourth Friday of each month all summer long at the Alameda Park Zoo, and don’t miss the annual White Sands Balloon & Music Festival on September 15-17.

Visit, or call 1.800.826.0294 for more information.

Photo credit the City of Alamogordo. Photo credit the City of Alamogordo. Photo credit the City of Alamogordo. | 2023 24
Photo credit the City of Alamogordo.

Space to explore.

Pop a Pistachio: New Mexico’s Other Tasty Treat


Schweers wanted to return to their agriculture roots after a career in the Air Force that culminated at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. When 400 seedling pistachio trees, the first planted in New Mexico, came up for sale, the couple thought a perfect opportunity had presented itself. Neighbors thought the Schweers were, well, nuts.

The Schweers had done their homework and found that the Tularosa Basin in South Central New Mexico had a climate very similar to the pistachio-growing regions of Iran and Turkey. It was a natural desert crop to add to the agricultural scene. Ancient legends from the Middle East allude to the mystique of the tasty nut being associated with romance and royalty. So, besides being tasty and heart healthy, it is fun! One of the legends is that young lovers can walk through the groves holding hands, and if they listen carefully and hear the nut shells popping open, theirs is indeed true love. Supposedly, the Queen of Persia (Iran) believed pistachios were an aphrodisiac and kept them as treasure in her storehouses.

At 49 years old, Eagle Ranch contains New Mexico’s oldest and largest-producing groves, with more than 13,000 trees. Totally self-

contained, it is a fully integrated agri-business, growing, processing, packaging and marketing its products to both wholesale and retail customers. All the farm products are sold under its familiar trade name, “Heart of the Desert”.

The Schweers’ son, Gordon, developed the original chile-flavored pistachios. The farm now boasts nine flavors. The family began a vineyard in 2002 and now has 24,000 grapevines in seven varietals. Chardonnay, cabernet, zinfandel, shiraz, riesling, malvasia bianca, and gewurztraminer make a wide range of wines possible.

Popcorn and pistachios continue to be a popular snack mix. Three distinct flavors—Pistachio Caramel; Green Chile Pistachio Caramel; and Red Chile Pistachio Caramel satisfy that famous New Mexico question….."Red or Green?" Both, of course! All are produced in the popcorn factory on the farm.

Heart of the Desert Pistachios and Wines ships its farm-fresh products worldwide, selling them by mail order and online. There also are four store locations: the primary store on the farm beside Hwy 54/70, north of Alamogordo; Heart of the Desert on the plaza in Old Mesilla; Eagle Ranch Mercantile in the lobby of the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces; and The Cork & Kettle in Ruidoso. Tours of the farm are fun and free, and wine tasting is delightful at all four locations. | 2023 26
*Story courtesy of Heart of the Desert.

New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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the Territorial Style of adobe architecture in the American Southwest. Keep in mind that Lincoln’s historic locales are open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (https://

Along this portion of the route are loops off the main highway into various small towns, San Patricio among them. It, too, was supposedly a hangout for Billy the Kid. reports that the town was known for hosting dances in the 1870s, and the Kid apparently loved dancing second only to fighting.

In the fall, you can end your journey on a sweet note with fresh berries and apples for sale during the harvest season in San Patricio.

Central: Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway

Distance: 65 miles

Drive time: Approx. 90 minutes, without stops

The drive: Start from the north, just outside of Santa Fe, or from the south, just east of Albuquerque, on NM Highway 14. The scenic stretch is ideal for a one-way trip off the beaten path between the two cities. Named for rich turquoise deposits found throughout the area, this drive meanders through rock outcroppings, piñon and juniper forests, as well as towns once known for mining gold, silver, copper, turquoise or coal. Today, they offer an eclectic mix of art and quirky.

Tijeras, which means “scissors” in Spanish, is the southern gateway for this beautiful stretch. It applies to the canyon passing through the Sandia Mountains (Drive through it on Interstate 40), as well as to the village within the canyon. The original inhabitants of the canyon were Pueblo people, occupying Tijeras Pueblo near the present-day town of Tijeras. Stop at the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site to see a museum with exhibits showing just how long humans have inhabited the area; participate in scheduled lectures; or just take a break from the car on a self-guided trail. (https://

Just up the road is Cedar Crest, where you can catch NM 536 and drive through the Cibola National Forest for 13 winding miles to splendid overlooks from the 10,378foot Sandia Peak. About 10 percent of the state, or an 11,000-square-mile panoramic view, is visible from the top on a clear day. Along the way are multiple trailheads and camping sites, as well as the Sandia Ski Area. One of the world’s longest trams can take people to and from the peak, down the opposite side of the mountain to the Albuquerque foothills Wednesdays through Mondays. For information, visit

Before heading north again on Highway 14, you may want to stop in at Tinkertown Museum, which is celebrating its 40th year. You’ll happen upon it near the base of NM 536 at Cedar Crest. The eccentric 22 rooms contain one man’s life’s work – wooden, antique, recyclable, and memorabilia collections that defy description but just may end up being the talk of the trip. For more, visit about/.

The next town along the way is Golden, the site of the first gold rush west of the Mississippi. Prospecting began in the late 1820s, followed by large mining companies, whose workers built the San Francisco Catholic Church. Mining was lucrative for decades, and the town that developed was named Golden as a result. Today, the church is one of the most photographed buildings along the byway. It was restored by historian and author Fray Angelico Chavez.

The most active town along the route is Madrid (pronounced MAH-drid), which boasts about 150 year-round residents, according to the U.S. Census, and double that according to people who live there. The town developed on a bustling coal mining industry throughout the 19th century. Today, it is a lively community of creatives, with more than 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, and even a spa. Its Mineshaft Tavern is known for its 40-foot pine and oak bar, the “longest bar in the state.” For more on things to do on Madrid, visit

Gold, silver, lead, zinc, and turquoise were mined on up the way in the hills surrounding the town of Cerrillos. However, its Cerrillos’ fine turquoise that the area remains known for. Turquoise mining here dates to at least 900 A.D., according to the Amigos de Cerrillos Hills State Park, which offers educational and recreational opportunities yearround. Around the turn of the 19th century, New Mexico’s production of turquoise was $1.6 million, most of it coming from the hills around Cerrillos. (

The mining areas are now closed, and the town of Cerrillos is a ghost town that attracts film crews and tourists. Remnants

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Photography by John Duncan.

New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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of buildings have served as set backdrops for a number of movies, including Young Guns and Young Guns II. A few small shops and the Casa Grande Trading Post (tripling as a mining museum and petting zoo) rounds out a memorable stop. On your way out, note the tree on Main Street near the historic Saint Joseph Church. It served as the town’s official “hanging tree” during the Old West period.

Northwest: Trail of the Ancients

Distance: 660 miles

Drive time: Allow two to three days, as a full day can easily be spent at Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

The drive: The Trail of the Ancients is actually a collection of National Scenic Byways that traverse the Four Corners states of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. It was designated as a byway to highlight significant prehistoric archaeological sites of the Southwest’s Native peoples. Here, we focus on the New Mexico scenic byway. Since the route takes many roads – including U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 550, NM 57, NM 122, as well as Navajo Nation roads - the byway could be accessed from a variety of points. However, the NM Department of Transportation suggests the following:

Start at the intersection of US 550 and San Juan County Road 7950. Head south 26 miles to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park Visitors’ Center, then head further south toward Crownpoint on NM 371. Beyond Crownpoint, the byway leaves 371 for Navajo Road 48, which dead-ends at McKinley County Road 19. Here the byway turns right and winds through sandstone buttes that could be a John Wayne western set, to ruins of Casamero Pueblo. Follow NM Hwy. 122 to Grants, and then take NM Hwy. 53 through El Malpais, “the badlands.” Driving west, pass by El Morro and head on through the remarkable Zuni Pueblo. Circle back north to Gallup on NM Hwy. 62 and then on north from there to two famous trading posts, Toadlena and Two Grey Hills. Finally, follow U.S. 64 toward Farmington and on past the sacred and distinctive Shiprock rock formation to the Arizona border.

The Trail of the Ancients New Mexico Scenic Byway provides an otherworldly route into the ancient past. It provides insight into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans and the Navajo, Ute, and Apache peoples and offers an opportunity to see geological features unlike anywhere else on the planet. These include colorful canyons, volcanic formations, and sandstone buttes, across both desert terrain and dense

on Page 30 ) Family Week July 2-7 Festival of the Arts I, II, III July 9-15, July 16-22, July 23-28 Masters Week September 17-23 Fall Festival of the Arts I, II October 7-13, October 22-27 505.685.1000

New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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forest. From ancient ruins, to naturally carved stone and rock monuments, to cave drawings and ceremonial sites, the journey is a feast for both the eyes and the mind. It is also best avoided during heavy rains and in the winter months.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will transport you to what was the commercial, religious and government center of the Southwest more than 1,000 years ago. Residents of the region, known as the Chaco Anasazi, were linked by roads spanning the Four Corners area. They were the ancestors of about 20 of today’s Native American tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. Composed of the ruins of massive stone buildings and hundreds of petroglyphs, the site is one of the most important pre-Columbian archaeological areas in the country and among the most sacred sites for indigenous peoples to this day. Structures and artifacts date as far back as the 200s A.D., though Chaco’s heyday dates closer to the years between 850 A.D. and 1250 A.D. Based on approximately 4,000 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, Chaco represents more than 10,000 years of human cultural history in the Chaco Canyon. Campsites are available, and hike and bike trails offer plenty of opportunity for those wanting a mix of exercise and education. A Visitor Center Museum provides a sampling of artifacts from the 3,600+ prehistoric and historic sites identified to date and gives a detailed but easily digestible history of the area. No matter the time of year you visit, take a hat, plenty of water, and wear sunscreen. Unless you’re prepared for some cold camping in winter months, plan to stay in the nearest towns of Bloomfield, Aztec and Farmington, all about 60 miles away. For more:

The next stop heading south is the town of Crownpoint, best known for its monthly auction of handmade Navajo rugs. Auctions are held on the second Friday of each month, attracting collectors and tourists seeking to buy the fine textiles directly from the weavers.

El Malpais National Monument is the southernmost attraction on the route, followed by Bandero Volcano and Ice Cave and El Morro National Monument on the way back north. All provide excellent chances to get some exercise and enjoy the woodlands. El Malpais is a jagged, molten lava landscape of lava tubes, cinder cones, pressure ridges and caves formed more than a million years ago. Visit https:// for road conditions and trail/cave closures. The Bandero site, too, was formed by volcanic eruption. Here, visitors can experience an ice cave where temperatures never rise above 31 degrees. At El Morro, see a great sandstone promontory where, for hundreds of years, Spanish and American travelers rested

and carved their signatures, brief messages and the dates they passed through.

A brief diversion from the main highway takes you to Zuni Pueblo. It was settled in 1699 and is the largest of the 19 New Mexican Pueblos, with more than 700 square miles and a population of over 10,000, according to the NM transportation department. The vast majority of residents make culturally-relevant art that can be purchased on site, including inlay silver jewelry and pottery. However, the Zuni people are best known for their fetishes, small carved animals the indigenous people use for their powers of protection.

If you’re traveling in August, the annual Inter-Tribal Ceremonial celebration held mid-month in Gallup is among the state’s premier Native events, with parades, dances, a marketplace, rodeo, and Native foods.

Also, if you missed the rug sales in Crownpoint, you’ll have another opportunity any time of year at both Toadlena Trading Post at Newcomb and Two Grey Hills trading post before you reach Farmington. Both have played an important role in Navajo weaving for more than a century. Two Grey Hills remains the primary source of the authentic Two Grey Hills style of Navajo weaving, considered among the finest.

Before heading east to Farmington, Shiprock on the Navajo Nation is worth a photo opportunity. This prominent landmark was produced by volcanic activity millions of years ago and appears like a ship’s bow rising 1,800 feet above the desert. Shiprock is sacred to the Navajo people, playing a significant role in their culture.

Farmington, known for its oil and gas industry, is the largest locale along the byway, with a population of about 50,000. Stop at the Farmington Museum and Visitors’ Center at Gateway Park for exhibits and information.

If you have time, head north a bit toward Aztec, where you can visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Aztec Ruins National Monument. The Aztecs, an ancestral Puebloan people, were active in the 12th and 13th centuries. This site offers a chance to see a reconstructed Great Kiva, composed of more than 400 rooms.

Authentic 11th- century Puebloan ruins and a Chacoan great house can be viewed in Bloomfield at the Salmon Ruins. There are also replicas of a sweat lodge, hogan, tipi and pit house. You might also ask about the off-site "pueblito" and rock-art tours hidden within Largo Canyon.

Rounding out your trip, do not miss the federal wilderness area known as the Bisti De-Na-Zin Wilderness. The area is desolate, but that only adds to the magic and mystery you’ll | 2023 30
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New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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feel as you take in the fantastically shaped, eroded rock formations in these badlands to the north of Chaco where your journey began.

Southwest: Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway

Distance: 138 miles

Drive time: full day end-to-end, with stops

The drive: The Geronimo Trail has its own visitor center inside the Lee Belle Johnson Center at 301 S. Foch (at Sims), between Main and Broadway, in downtown Truth or Consequences as well as a comprehensive website, https:// The trail passes through mountain forests of the Gila Wilderness, dry desert and scrub-dotted hills, rugged canyons, quaint towns, and two of the largest lakes in New Mexico. While the T or C visitor center is a sensible place to start for maps and information, it is also inconveniently located in the middle of the trail. This forces you to head either north or south and then backtrack. From end to end, the trail runs from San Lorenzo on Hwy 152 at the south tip to Beaverhead, via Highways 52 and 59, at the north end. The visitor center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway gets its name from the famous Apache warrior, who was born in the Gila Wilderness Area in the 1820s. The visitor center in T or C tells his story in detail. While in town, consider a soak in the mineral hot springs for which it is known before spending the day in the car.

Heading south from T or C before you pick up Hwy 152 to head west, you’ll have a chance to stop at Percha Dam State Park along the Rio Grande near Caballo. For birders, it’s a best-kept secret as it has been designated by Audubon as an “Important Birding Area.” You can also fish or swim in the river or hike alongside it in the shade of huge cottonwoods.

From there, ascend from the Rio Grande Valley through ranch country and over the Black Range Mountains through Emory Pass, which offers a scenic overlook at 8,000 feet.

Along the way are the artist’s community of Hillsboro and old mining town Kingston. Hillsboro’s 120-year-old General Store is now a restaurant.

Down the road, consider a detour to two mountain peaks –Hillsboro Peak to the north and Sawyers Peak to the south. Each is about five miles from the Emory Pass Scenic View. Be aware that the last half mile to Hillsboro at 10,000-foot elevation is steep. There is ample opportunity for hiking in these remote and pristine wilderness areas. The terrain changes from mountainous to gentle slopes as

you head toward San Lorenzo, the terminus of this arm of the byway. However, you can turn north toward San Lorenzo on NM 35 to access an adjoining scenic trail, the Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway.

A side trip in this area is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, a 42-room collection of homes which the Mogollon people constructed in five spacious sandstone caves in the heart of the Gila Forest. The drive is a one-mile loop up a shady canyon and is accessible from San Lorenzo on Hwy. 35, or by continuing past the Byway’s San Lorenzo end on Hwy. 152, according to the NM Department of Transportation. For more on this unique site and the people who lived there as early as the 13th century, visit https://

From T or C heading north is the 40,000-acre Elephant Butte Lake State Park, which contains the largest lake in the state. As such, Elephant Butte is New Mexico’s main water sports destination, with boating, fishing, water-skiing, canoeing, swimming, and more. The lake, which gets its name from a rock formation that resembles an elephant, offers 200 miles of shoreline, beaches, and coves. The park’s visitor center contains interpretive exhibits of the geology, history, and ecology of the area, once home to the fierce Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur. Admission / park fees cost $5 per car. Annual day use park passes cost $40. Call (575) 744-5421 for information.

Several tiny villages and a few ghost towns dot the way from the lake on up to Beaverhead and may be worth brief stops depending on your interests. For example, Chloride, once known for silver production, contains several restored buildings from its mining heyday, and its Pioneer Store is now a world-class museum on the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs’ list of Historic Places.

If you have time, consider taking a side trip to hike the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. It crosses Rt. 59 near Beaverhead and cuts across the center ridgeline of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness then into the Gila National Forest, according to Along the way is breathtaking scenery, and you have a good chance of spotting wildlife such as deer, elk and wild turkey.

Northeast: Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway

Distance: 283 miles

Drive time: Two days, depending on your number of stops

The drive: The New Mexico portion of this trail is part of

(continued on Page 36) | 2023 32

YOUR PASS TO Adventure!

Get acquianted with this thing we call life! Rediscover yourself in Raton. Capture your first volcano selfie. Teach your children to catch trout. Enjoy a cup of coffee outside with surrounding vistas and mesas. Immerse yourself in New Mexican culture. Eat all the green chile. Explore Raton!


Your options are limitless and lucky for you, outdoor activity is literally at our door step! There’s over 1 million acres of fun in every direction for exploring!


See performances and view local art in the Historic Arts & Cultural District! Located on Second Street downtown, marvel at the preservation of the Shuler Theater and Old Pass Gallery!


Summer is the season to spend in Raton! Almost every weekend date is booked for live music, pin up contests, motorcycle rallies, comedy shows, shopping, hot air balloon rides, and eating.


From the dinosaurs to the western era, and from the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll to modern times, Raton and Colfax County’s historical charm is unmatched. Learning is at every corner, and knowledge awaits

| ExploreRaton
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New Mexico features 26 recognized State Scenic Byways

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a 900-mile route that extends northeast through Kansas and ends in Independence, Mo. (Don’t confuse this lengthy byway with the much shorter but similarly named Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway, a 15-mile stretch that runs from the city up to the Santa Fe Ski Area).

The New Mexico section of the Santa Fe Trail begins on Interstate 25 at the New Mexico state line. Take I-25 south to Raton. In Raton, continue following I-25 south. Merge onto US-64 west. Follow US-64 south to Cimarron. In Cimarron, US-64 turns into Kit Carson Hwy and 10th St. Turn left onto NM-21 and go to Springer, where the byway branches south, headed to Santa Fe (Mountain Route) and east to the New Mexico-Oklahoma border (Cimarron Route). Visit the National Scenic Byway Foundation for precise directions and the story of the byway: nb/santa-fe-trail-national-scenic-byway-nm/. This article will focus on sites along the Mountain Route.

One of America's first great commerce routes, the Santa Fe Trail was critical to our country's westward expansion in the 1800s. Merchant-traders from Missouri regularly traveled the trail, taking manufactured goods to Santa Fe to exchange for furs and other items available there. As a result of their repeated journeys, there are many historic sites and landmarks interspersed with incredible scenery all along the route. Raton Pass, Cimarron, Fort Union, Starvation Peak, and Santa Fe are among them.

The most historically important segment of the trail in New Mexico is arguably the Raton Pass at the border of presentday New Mexico and Colorado. In the 19th century, it was treacherous but enabled wagons to cut through the snowy Sangre de Cristo Mountains and make their way into the territory that is now New Mexico.

South of Raton is the town of Cimarron, where the St. James Hotel has been a treasured landmark since 1872. Originally built as a saloon, it soon evolved into a vital overnight outpost on the trail – the two-story Adobe Street James Hotel. Over the frontier era, notables such as Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, Clay Allison, Black Jack Ketchum, Billy the Kid and Thomas James Wright stayed at the hotel. Many of its rooms, all of which are available for guests, are said to be haunted.

On Highway 21 near Cimarron is Philmont Scout Ranch. Here, Lucien Maxwell and frontiersman Kit Carson established a small settlement often visited by traders traveling on the Santa Fe Trail. In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America built an adobe museum on the site, named in honor of Kit Carson.

Staff at the Kit Carson Museum dress in period clothing and demonstrate frontier skills and crafts like blacksmithing, cooking, shooting, and farming, according to the National Park Service. Each room in the museum is outfitted with reproduction furniture and objects typical of New Mexico in the 1850s. The Rayado Trading Company, located at the museum, sells books, maps, reproduction tools, and equipment, moccasins, and blankets.

A little further south is Fort Union National Monument, which, from 1851 to 1891, functioned as an agent of political and cultural change, according to the National Park Service. In fact, it was the largest 19th-century military fort in the region. Today, its adobe remnants and a visitors center are a reminder that the fort served as Cavalry headquarters during the Apache Wars. Visit index.htm for details.

Starvation Peak, between the town of Pecos and Las Vegas, served as a guiding landmark for Santa Fe Trail travelers. Visible from Interstate 25, the promontory is actually a butte that sits at over 7,000 feet.

Las Vegas, which today has a population of about 15,000, was a welcome sight for the trail-weary as it was the first town of any size after 600 miles of travel from Kansas. By the late 19th century, it had waterworks, a phone company, and a half dozen trains stopping there daily. Today, tourists enjoy shops on the town’s plaza, especially those who collect antiques.

The Santa Fe Trail continues for 66 miles toward the capital city of Santa Fe, where a granite marker on the Plaza commemorates the trail’s end.

For a snapshot of each of New Mexico’s scenic byways, including maps and images, visit https://www.newmexico. org/places-to-visit/scenic-byways/. The NM Department of Transportation, at, provides downloadable PDFs that describe each route, introduce historical context and identify some noteworthy stops. | 2023 36
Photography by Jensine Odom.



JUNE 4, 2023

Bring the family and enjoy some of the baddest cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and everything on wheels! This event is sure to please all lowrider enthusiasts. Live music, food, and fun are sure to be had during Albuquerque’s number 1 lowrider carshow!


Every summer, the National Institute of Flamenco and the University of New Mexico host Festival Flamenco Alburquerque, bringing the finest flamenco artists in the world to Albuquerque. For nine days, the city is filled with the pulse of flamenco, and is transformed into a cultural epicenter for the art form. The lure of flamenco is its ability to explore the full range of human emotion with an intense, vibrant quality that leaves audiences and students alike, captivated. This year’s line up includes: Israel Galván y Compañía, Daniel Doña Compañía de Danza, Tacha González and José Valencia y Salvador Gutiérrez and many others for a weeklong festival of flamenco!


JULY 12-15, 2023

A musical experience you don’t want to miss! Mariachi Spectacular’s concert and conference bring vibrant artistic, cultural and ethnic Mariachi to Albuquerque. Maestros whom are distinguished musicians travel the world to teach and share the culture of the music and its history. Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque attracts legends such a Stephen Carrillo, Mariachi Cobre and Jose Hernandez of Sol de México who teach vocals and trumpet, respectively. Their involvement provides a truly unique and extraordinary music educational experience for our youth. Come experience Mariachi in the Land of Enchantment this summer.

For more information, scan the QR code.

505.842.9003 •

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