Summer’s coming and it’s the ideal season to get out and explore New Mexico. With the arrival of longer days, there’s plenty of time for fun. Whether you have a day or a week off, these 12 ideas should help you start your summer bucket list.
1.Ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
This steam train ride takes you from Chama, New Mexico, across the border into Colorado. The scenery in the area is breathtaking and a train ride is the perfect way to view it.
2. Sign up for a chuckwagon dinner.
There several places dishing up chuckwagon meals throughout the state this summer. These include Flying J Ranch in Alto and Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.
3. Check out the summer activities in a ski town.
During warmer months, New Mexican ski towns still have plenty to offer - and we're not just talking about fishing and mountain biking. The mountain town of Red River puts on mock bank robberies and shootouts between mid-June and mid-August!
4. Commune with wolves.
Head to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary to admire rescued wolves and learn about these majestic animals. If you want a closer look, sign up for one of the wolf encounters. The sanctuary has a campsite and a few cabins available to rent overnight, so don't let its remote location deter you.
5. Take a short scenic drive along the Chain of Craters Back Country Byway.
This brief drive (36 miles) transports you through a landscape shaped by volcanoes. It's also an excellent jumping off point for exploring El Malpais National Monument.
6. Opt for a longer trip along the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway.
The trail meanders through old mining towns, Truth or Consequences, and the Gila National Forest. It's 154 miles of roads that wind through peaceful scenery.
7. Enjoy water sports at the lake.
Rent a boat to explore Elephant Butte Lake or branch out with a kayak or paddleboard rental. There's plenty of space for all - when at capacity, the lake measures 40 miles in length and 1.5 miles across.
8. Head to a state park that's new to you.
Bottomless Lakes State Park is a great spot to picnic on a summer day, take a dip, or perhaps go scuba diving. There are several short trails for light hiking and also birding opportunities.
9. Wander around a sculpture garden.
The Shidoni Foundry, only 5 miles north of Santa Fe, has an 8-acre sculpture garden as well as an indoor gallery. On Saturdays, you can often witness the molten bronze being poured into sculpture molds.
10. Take a hot air balloon ride.
Several outfits around Albuquerque offer air balloon rides. See New Mexico in a whole new way this summer.
11. Hike to a waterfall.
Hike to the 70-foot high Jemez Falls, nestled in the Jemez Mountains. Go wading or, if you want more of a physical challenge, continue on to McCauley Hot Springs. (The Jemez Falls picnic area opens in mid-May.)
12. Relax at a winery.
New Mexico has a great selection of wineries and many of them are in gorgeous settings. Here's to a great summer!