New Mexico Nature October 24, 2016
12 Hidden Gems You Have To See In New Mexico Before You Die
New Mexico is known for major attractions like White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. However, as a state, we have a lot more to offer and many of our best attractions are a little off the beaten path. Here are 13 hidden gems in New Mexico that we believe everyone should see before they die.
1. Red Rock Park And Museum, Church Rock
If you’re searching for a unique campground or hiking spot, head to Red Rock Park near Gallup. The vibrant rock formations here are more than 200 million years old. In other words, you’re looking at something that dinosaurs could have stared at - take a moment to absorb that. It’s pretty mind blowing. Both the Church Rock and Pyramid Rock Trails are moderately challenging hikes that offer dramatic views and solitude. Each is easy to complete in an afternoon.
2. Town of Lincoln
Billed as “The Most Authentic Old West Town Remaining in the United States,” Lincoln truly feels frozen in time. It’s easy to imagine the Lincoln County War that raged here and you almost expect outlaws like Billy the Kid to swing open a saloon door and swagger onto the main drag.
3. Catwalk Trail, Glenwood
The Catwalk Trail runs through Whitewater Canyon, along the path of an old water pipeline. You can still see some of the bolts that used to anchor the pipe to the rock walls. This visually stunning hike features a suspension bridge and a waterfall.
4. Tinkertown, Sandia Park
There's only one Tinkertown. This folk art museum was constructed by Ross Ward who had a great love of collecting and little interest in building codes! The result is this sprawling complex, which consists of walls studded with glass bottles and old wheels, along with groups of figurines and circus memorabilia that you really have to see to believe.
5. Sitting Bull Falls, near Queen
This remote recreation area in the vicinity of Carlsbad conceals a wonderful surprise: a waterfall swimming hole. Sitting Bull Falls pours 150-feet down a rock face, into a clear pool below. There are 16-miles of trails to explore throughout this day-use area.
6. Plaza Blanca, near Abiquiu
Also called The White Place, Plaza Blanco contains an otherworldly grouping of bleached rock formations that you can clamber over and through. This area was popularized by Georgia O'Keeffe who was inspired to paint the awe-inspiring scenery.
7. Earthships, near Taos
For a uniquely New Mexican getaway, rent one of the earthships near Taos. Whether you're interested in sustainable living or just drawn to unusual dwellings, this is sure to be a stay you'll remember forever.
Alternatively, you can tour the Earthship Biotecture to learn about these curvy, creative, and eco-friendly structures.
8. Navajo Lake, near Turley
Navajo Lake is located in northwestern New Mexico, far from any freeways. As a result, the wonderful boating, fishing, and camping opportunities here are often overlooked.
This 15,600 acre reservoir spills over the border into Colorado, but the bulk of it is in New Mexico.
9. Cloud-Climbing Trestle Trail, Cloudcroft
High in the Lincoln National Forest is one of New Mexico's most successful rail-to-trail conversions. A 1.2-mile hike through cool mountain forests culminates at a viewing point that showcases the remains of the wooden Mexican Canyon Trestle.
10. Cimarron Canyon State Park
Cimarron Canyon is a particularly beautiful and peaceful state park. It's inside the Colin Neblatt Wildlife Area, which makes it a great place for wildlife watching. Follow the Clear Creek Trail for a walk that provides views of waterfalls.
11. Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, Candy Kitchen
The wolves and wolf-dogs at this 90-acre sanctuary are all rescues. In zoo settings, wolves tend to be elusive but here you'll see plenty. Although it costs more, signing up for a wolf encounter gives you the chance to observe a wolf up close or even take a walk with one. Just don't ask to share that pumpkin!
12. The Spy House, Albuquerque
One of the two houses that make up this bed and breakfast is dubbed the spy house. It was here that Soviet spy David Greenglass handed information about the Manhattan Project over to his contact. Once a month, a murder mystery dinner is held here - double the intrigue.
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Which of these spots have you visited? Do you have a favorite hidden gem on (or off) this list that you’d like to share?
Be sure to check out our previous article:
What You’ll Find In These 12 Small Towns In New Mexico May Surprise You. These places may be off the beaten path, but they’re hiding some big attractions.