New Mexico October 03, 2016
11 Country Roads In New Mexico That Are Pure Bliss In The Fall
Many of New Mexico’s scenic drives are at their prettiest in fall. You can devote a whole
road trip to leaf peeping or just head out into the nearest forest or wilderness area. But, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next scenic drive, consider cruising along these 11 country roads in New Mexico:
The 44-mile stretch of the NM-518 between Ranchos de Taos and Mora is gorgeous throughout the year but especially in fall. You can take the 518 all the way to Las Vegas (New Mexico), but the portion of the route that winds through the Carson National Forest is best for leaf peeping.
2. Corrales Road Scenic Byway
Admire the golden cottonwoods along this 6.7 mile scenic drive. Corrales Road travels between the Rio Grande and the Corrales acequia, making the scenery appealing on both sides of the car.
3. County Road 532
The journey from the town of Alto up to Ski Apache is roughly 14 miles. Drivers on this tightly-curving road are gifted with stunning views of the changing leaves on the ascent up Sierra Blanca Peak.
4. US-64 through Cimarron Canyon State Park
Between the rock face and the clear waters of the Cimarron River, the setting in this state park is always incredible. However, in fall, the high canyon walls turn this road into a colorful tunnel of trees.
5. Sandia Crest Scenic Byway
A 14-mile drive along NM-536 through the Cibola National Forest terminates at Sandia Crest, where you can soak in views like this one.
6. San Lorenzo to Hillsboro
This 34-mile long drive along NM-152 cuts through the Gila National Forest. The route takes you into the remote Black Range, so expect plenty of switchbacks. But that just gives your passengers a chance to admire the changing colors of the aspens and cottonwoods.
7. Pecos to Cowles
During much of this 19-mile long drive along NM-63, the road runs parallel to the Pecos River.
Trees line the road for the whole route, providing ample opportunities for leaf-peeping.
8. Sunspot Scenic Byway
The fall foliage is usually spectacular along the Sunspot Highway/6563, particularly on the portion near Haynes Canyon. This scenic drive is approximately 17 miles long.
9. Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway
It’s 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe up to the Ski Basin. As you travel along NM-475/Hyde Park Road, you’re treated to the sight of yellow aspens dramatically contrasted against the evergreens. Be sure to stop at the Aspen Vista pull off.
10. NM-17 from Chama to the Colorado border
There's a reason that the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad chugs between Chama and Antonito (in Colorado) - the scenery here is amazing. But you don't have to ride the train to view the changing leaves. You can just cruise along NM-17 to the Colorado border.
11. Apache Creek to Quemado
This 42-mile drive goes through the Gila National Forest. NM-32 passes close by Quemado Lake, a hidden gem in the wilderness. This drive is enchanting in fall.
Which fall drive do you like best (on or off this list)? There are no end to the beautiful routes you can take through the Land of Enchantment.
Here are some other suggestions for scenic drives.