New Mexico has more than its share of man-made and natural wonders. Our state contains ancient ruins, gravity-defying structures, and staggering examples of natural beauty. If you’re looking for places that will wow you, head to one of these 14 marvels in New Mexico. (These attractions are not ranked in order of awesomeness, because they’re each incredible in their own way.)
1. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, near Nageezi
Between 1100-1300 A.D., Chaco Canyon was a massive center for trade. Until the 19th century, the buildings here - which in their heyday consisted of 600 rooms stacked four stories high - were the biggest in North America. The ruins are still impressive, but perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect of Chaco is the architectural know-how required to construct these enduring edifices.
2. Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque
This tram ride covers 2.7 miles, making it the longest aerial tramway in the nation.
3. Shiprock, near Shiprock
Shiprock is visually stunning but it's also geologically interesting. Think of it as a cork sealing a bottle, then replace the word bottle with "volcano vent" to appreciate the true wonder of Shiprock.
4. The Very Large Array (VLA), between Magdalena and Datil
New Mexico has long been at place associated with cutting-edge science. And these 27 radio telescopes covering 100 square miles of the Plains of San Augustine are a true marvel. After all, they allow scientists to learn about galaxy growth and black holes!
5. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, near Carlsbad
The sight of Carlsbad's speleothems have wowed tourists for decades. In addition to offering rock formations that double as sculpture, this cave system is one of the most extensive in the country.
6. Rio Grande Gorge, near Taos
Erosion from the Rio Grande carved out this gorge which extends roughly 50 miles south from the Colorado border. At the deepest point, the gorge floor is 800 feet below the rim.
7. Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, near Taos
While nature made this gorge, humans successfully constructed this imposing steel suspension bridge across it.
8. Taos Pueblo
The buildings at this UNESCO World Heritage Site date back to between 1000-1450 A.D.
Perhaps we should just make a blanket statement that the area around Taos is remarkable!
9. Clayton Lake State Park, Clayton
The dinosaur footprints visible at Clayton Lake State Park are about 100 million years old. If that isn't enough to remind us of how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe, we can always compare the size of our feet to these massive prints.
10. Gila Cliff Dwellings, in the Gila Wilderness
These 13th century cliff dwelling were constructed by the Mogollon people. The cliffside location of these structures along with their complexity and relatively good condition makes them worthy of the title: "man-made wonder."
11. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, near Farmington
The Bisti Badlands in the north west of New Mexico are as ethereal as they are mesmeric.
12. White Sands National Monument, near Alamogordo
The world's largest gypsum dune system is located in New Mexico and these undulating waves of sand always have the power to astound.
13. Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe
Some consider the staircase in the Loretto Chapel to be a miracle. How else can you account for a staircase with two 360 degree turns and no observable methods of support?
14. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, Near Cochiti
Whether you observe the hoodoos at Tent Rocks from above or below, they're sure to make you gasp.
If these spots appeal to you, you’ll probably appreciate these other examples of
architectural brilliance in New Mexico. Or, for something a little quirkier, add these weird yet wonderful places to your bucket list.