Venturing outside your typical routine is often a rewarding experience. Sometimes you have the urge to mix things up but aren’t sure where to start. Fortunately, there are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime adventures that you can have in New Mexico. Here are 10 of them:
1. See a falcon show followed by a chuckwagon dinner in a wildlife park.
During the summer, Wildlife West Nature Park offers a unique evening itinerary. It begins with a falcon show, which is followed by a hayride through the park. After that comes a traditional chuckwagon dinner and live music. The birds and animals at Wildlife West are all rescues and this little park in Edgewood is a great place to support.
2. Go sand sledding on the world’s biggest gypsum dune field.
The National Park Service suggests using waxed plastic snow saucers if you feel like sledding at White Sands National Monument. Bring your own or pick one up at the gift shop.
3. Enter the surreal environment of Meow Wolf, an interactive art complex.
Meow Wolf breaks all the rules associated with traditional art museums. Here, you’re encouraged to touch and clamber through a full-sized house that’s crammed inside a converted bowling alley. “Game of Thrones” author George R. R. Martin owns this Santa Fe building, the interior of which is as creative as any of his novels. There is literally no other art exhibit in the world like this one.
Even the parking lot is awesome – it’s dominated by robot, wolf, and spider sculptures.
4. Ride the longest aerial tramway in the nation.
A Swiss company built this 2.7-mile-long tramway, which conveys riders from Albuquerque to Sandia Peak (10.378 feet high). Views from the top are stupendous and expansive. In May of this year, the tram cars were upgraded. To get a better feel for this attraction, view the regularly-updated Tram Cam, which shows the top of the tramway.
5. Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid.
Travel back to the days of the Wild West with a visit to the well-preserved town of Lincoln. During the 1870s, this was where the Lincoln County War was waged. While, on the surface, it seemed like a dispute between competing general stores, the stakes were actually much higher. The two sides were vying for prominence in the beef market and dominance of this part of the state. Billy the Kid sided with the Tunstall faction and, as you amble down Lincoln’s main drag, it takes little imagination to pretend you’re in the nineteenth century along with him.
6. Go llama trekking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Head out into New Mexico’s pristine wilderness areas with a llama to keep you company and carry your stuff! Whether you’re interested in a day hike or a longer backcountry adventure, adding a llama to the mix makes this a one-of-a-kind experience. Wild Earth Llama Adventures, based in Taos, offers these tours. Expert guides lead the treks and many of the llamas are rescues.
7. Leap into the Blue Hole.
While this spring-fed swimming hole looks idyllic, it takes a certain amount of guts to launch yourself off the rocks into its depths. After all, the bottom is 81 feet below you and the water temperature remains fairly constant, at a brisk 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Dine on New Mexican cuisine in a haunted restaurant.
There are several haunted restaurants throughout the state. One of these is the Double Eagle.
According to legend, the matriarch of the Maes family discovered her son in a compromising position with the household servant. She reacted by stabbing the servant and accidentally injuring her son. Both died as a result of the attack and their spirits allegedly linger at this restaurant.
The menu at Double Eagle Restaurant is varied in terms of cuisine; New Mexican influences include dishes like red chile pork posole and what the restaurant claims is the world’s largest green chile cheeseburger, which weighs in at a whopping 24 ounces!
If you're closer to Northern New Mexico, head to Doc Martin's in Taos, which is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Arthur Manby. Manby was a land speculator with many enemies who a) faked his own death by leaving a headless corpse in his home or b) was the victim of an unsolved homicide. The truth is still unknown.
Doc Martin’s offers a menu with several New Mexican touches like blue corn chicken enchiladas and bowls of chile. Embark on a culinary adventure by ordering the rabbit and rattlesnake sausage… if you dare!
9. Take a “Breaking Bad” Tour.
Several outfits in Albuquerque offer their own versions of a “Breaking Bad” Tour. Breaking Bad RV Tours hires actors from the show to guide you around locations in an RV. The ABQ Trolley Co runs a 3.5 hour “BaD Tour” via trolley. Alternatively, the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau provides an interactive map that is useful if you’d rather create your own tour.
10. Spend the night in a cave hotel with views of La Plata River valley.
We recently wrote about Kokopelli’s Cave, a unique cave hotel that is located in a cliff near Farmington. For more information, click