New Mexico is a truly beautiful state. After all, it’s nicknamed the Land of Enchantment for a reason. Here are 11 of the most unimaginably beautiful places in New Mexico that belong on your New Mexico bucket list.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Carlsbad Caverns (Carlsbad)
Carlsbad Caverns has nearly 120 caves hidden underground. The largest—the "Big Room" or the "Hall of Giants"—attracts the most attention with its stunning rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites. This 4,000-foot-long, 625-foot-wide, and 255-foot-high chamber is the fifth largest in North America and the 28th largest in the world.
2. Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu)
Also known as O’Keeffe Country—after famed artist Georgia O’Keeffe who was a long-time resident here—Ghost Ranch is a gorgeous cornucopia of brilliant red and yellow cliffs, towering rock walls, and vast skies.
3. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (San Juan County)
Also known as the Bisti Badlands, this desolate area was once a delta of the Western Interior Seaway; an ancient sea that covered most of New Mexico 70 million years ago. These undulating and eroded rocks are tucked away on 60 square miles of earth in the Four Corners area of New Mexico.
4. Taos Gorge (Taos)
The Taos Gorge Bridge spans the Rio Grande and is the seventh highest bridge in the US at 650 feet above the water below. This bridge, constructed between 1963 and 1965, was awarded the "Most Beautiful Steel Bridge—Long Span" by the American Institute of Steel Construction in 1966. The views of the Rio Grande from the bridge are truly awe-inspiring.
5. White Sands National Monument (Dona Ana/Otero County)
Located near Alamogordo, this beautiful monument features 275 square miles of waves of almost pure white gypsum crystals and is the largest gypsum dune field in the entire world. Pictures do not do this amazing natural attraction the justice it deserves.
6. Blue Hole (Santa Rosa)
This 80-foot deep, natural bell-shaped pool has a constant temperature of 61 degrees and is amazingly clear and cerulean blue. Blue Hole attracts scuba divers from across the US.
7. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Socorro County)
Meaning "woods of the Apache" in Spanish, this refuge is home to tens of thousands of sandhill cranes, snow geese, and other birds. In fact, more than 358 different species have been recorded here. Late November through late February is the best time to witness large numbers of these migratory birds taking flight en masse.
8. Valles Caldera (Sandoval County)
Even driving along its rim, you can glimpse a bit of what the Valle Caldera has to offer – green meadows (snow-covered in winter) and meandering streams. Grass valleys are also prevalent, and several large elk herds call this area home, further adding to its beauty.
9. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (Sandoval County)
Located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, near Cochiti, this national monument is renowned for its layers of rock deposited by a long-ago volcanic eruption in nearby Jemez Volcanic Field. Erosion and weathering shaped these rocks into tent shapes ranging from a couple of feet to more than 90 feet high.
10. Brazos Cliffs (Rio Arriba County)
Located just south of the Colorado border, these cliffs are comprised of some of the oldest rock in the state—dating as far back as 1.8 billion years. This geological wonder was created by volcanoes and rises over 2,000 feet above the Chama River. The cliffs are especially stunning during sunset.
11. Bandelier National Monument (Los Alamos)
This nearly 34,000-acre monument preserves the ancestral Puebloans’ territory and homes. Many of the pueblos here date from between 1150 and 1600 A.D. The rugged beauty of the mountains and valleys add to its splendor.
How many of these gorgeous places have you seen? Where are some other unimaginably beautiful places in New Mexico you can think of? Please comment below.