One of the best parts of living in New Mexico is being surrounded by nature and expanses of untouched land. Sometimes it seems like everyone and their grandmother – literally – spends their weekends hiking up mountains. However, you don’t need to go white water rafting or cycle a century to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are 15 low-key ways to immerse yourself in nature.
1. Take a ski lift ride and soak in the views.
Check out the ski area nearest you. Many offer ski lift rides during the summer months. Chairlift 4 at the Bavarian, in Taos Ski Valley, opens June 24th this year; the gondola at Ski Apache is already open.
2. Take a scenic drive.
Try the 48-mile Lake Valley Back Country Byway. Highlights include mountain views and access to a ghost town (pictured). Alternatively, embark on the even shorter 9.9-mile long Narrow-Gauge Scenic Byway.
There are loads of established and not-so-official stunning drives in New Mexico that you can complete in a day.
3. Explore a new park.
Parks continue to increase the number of trails that are accessible to all, from a portion of the Catwalk Trail in Glenwood to the Cottonwood Springs Trail, which is part of the Elena Gallegos Open Space in Albuquerque.
4. Visit a nature refuge.
There’s an auto tour loop through Bosque del Apache with pull offs where you can get out and do a little bird watching. If you fancy something a bit more athletic, you can always cycle or hike along the trails. Other great refuges in New Mexico include Bitter Lake near Roswell (pictured) and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge near Cimarron.
5. Go fishing…
Whether you’re trying for brown trout on the Cimarron River, fishing for bass on Elephant Butte Lake, or catching pike on Navajo Lake, you’ll be surrounded by sublime scenery. (Just remember to obtain a fishing license first.)
6. Or head to a fish hatchery.
It’s always fun to feed the fish.
7. Take a hot air balloon ride.
This one’s a bit more adventurous but, oh, the views!
8. Try a little stargazing.
If you prefer to keep your feet planted on the ground, take advantage of warm summer nights to explore the heavens.
9. Watch an outdoor sporting event.
10. Unwind in a hot spring.
Either hike to a primitive one or soak in a developed hot spring in an outdoor setting.
(Pictured: Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequence.)
11. What about geocaching?
You get plenty of fresh air and some excitement when participating in this modern day version of treasure hunting. While some stashes are challenging to access, others are easily accessible.
12. Chill out on the beach.
No, we didn’t overlook the fact that New Mexico is a landlocked state. But there are beaches bordering our lakes and even beaches in cities like Carlsbad.
(Pictured: Lea Lake in Bottomless Lakes State Park, near Roswell.)
And let’s not forget White Sands.
13. Have a picnic.
14. Watch a movie outside or listen to music.
Many places offer music or movies in the park during the warmer months.
15. Pick your own fruit or veggies.