New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the nation, but the population continues to hover just above two million. As a result, we have an abundance of small towns. Here are 10 of the most quaint small towns in New Mexico.
A mining town turned artist’s colony, Madrid has a thriving art scene and some unexpectedly good restaurants. Plus it was used as a filming location in the movie "Wild Hogs." Just don’t make the mistake of pronouncing the town’s name like the Spanish city. Locals prefer to emphasize the MAD in Madrid!
2. Arroyo Seco
This charming town lies under the shadow of Taos Mountain. In addition to spectacular views, Arroyo Seco offers a mercantile and several galleries that sell art and ceramics.
Outdoor activities are plentiful in the mountain town of Cloudcroft that, until the 1940s, was only reachable by train or pack mule.
Teeny Abiquiú is barely a speck on the map, but artist Georgia O’Keefe made her home here amid the red rocks. Abiquiú Lake offers plenty of recreational options and, in summer months, visitors can explore Purple Adobe Lavender Farm.
Tucumcari provides visitors with a hint of what Route 66 must have been like during its heyday.
Many are surprised to learn that Taos has fewer than 6000 permanent residents. Maybe that’s because, for a small town, it has loads to offer - from the charming 300-year-old Plaza to the art collection at Millicent Rogers Museum. But the highlight is undoubtedly Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which dates back to the late 13th and early 14th centuries.
7. Truth or Consequences
Come for the name, stay for the hot springs! The thermal water, which bubbles from a rift along the Rio Grande, is packed with minerals and has attracted visitors to this small town since the 1920s.
Chimayó has long been known for its weavers. The town features several of the studios on the North Central Loop of New Mexico’s Fiber Arts Trail, where you can watch these artists at work. El Sancturio de Chimayó is also a popular pilgrimage site for those searching for physical or spiritual healing.
9. Jemez Springs
Surrounded by vermilion rocks, the town of Jemez Springs makes a great base for fishing, hiking, or soaking in hot springs. Soda Dam, a natural rock creation, is a popular spot on the Jemez Mountain Trail, a National Scenic Byway that passes through the town.
10. Red River
Despite its small size (fewer than 500 people live here) this town has a rowdy past featuring bar rooms and brothels. There continues to be an unexpectedly high number of annual festivals and events in Red River, although the wildest aspect of this small town is now the breathtaking land around it.
What other towns belong on this list? Tell us in the comments below.