New Mexico July 31, 2016
Take This Road To Nowhere In New Mexico To Get Away From It All
The best way to discover unfamiliar parts of New Mexico is to leave the interstate and meander along remote highways and
country roads. This 49-mile drive takes you from Tres Piedras, through the Carson National Forest, to Tierra Amarilla. Anyone searching for solitude and mountain views will love this scenic route.
The drive takes just under an hour to complete without stops. Here is the Google Map for the journey.
Since Tres Piedras sits at an elevation of 8081 feet, this is a good drive to take in summer when you want to escape the heat. Come fall, the aspens blaze like yellow flames across the landscape, making the scenery startlingly beautiful.
Tres Piedras, which was founded in 1879, is home to 1054 people. Although the point of cruising through this remote area is to get away from it all, before you abandon civilization, stop for a meal at Chili Line Depot (38429 Hwy 285, Tres Piedras).
The restaurant is housed in a building that once served as the bar and dancehall for the Chili Line Railroad. This one building has undergone numerous transformations, acting as everything from a movie theater to a roller skating rink! Nowadays, it’s a mom and pop restaurant cooking up high-quality green chile cheeseburgers (using local beef) and heavenly cinnamon rolls.
This trip is very straightforward – you simply take US-64 West. The driving is also easy. No hairpin bends or high drop-offs here.
As the road passes into Carson National Forest you’ll quickly find yourself surrounded by ponderosa pines.
Pause at Hopewell Lake, a man-made body of water, at an altitude of 9500 feet. At 14 acres, this lake is fairly small but it’s just the right size for water activities like canoeing or fishing (it’s stocked with both brook and rainbow trout).
The road’s elevation increases on the approach to Brazos Summit (10,507 feet). There is only one highway that runs at a higher altitude in the whole state. Take time to investigate the pull-offs, which offer great views and photo ops.
You can also admire the Brazos Cliffs from the road. These rocks date back to the Precambrian eon, which means that they are millions, perhaps billions, of years old. Depending on snow or rainfall, a seasonal waterfall sometimes tumbles down these cliffs.
The highway descends into Tierra Amarilla, a community of 3443 people, which was settled in 1832.
Technically, the scenic drive concludes at this point but if you’d like a specific destination then continue on an extra 12 miles to Heron Lake. This state park is a “quiet lake,” which ensures a tranquil camping experience.
Boating, birding, and fishing are popular activities here.
There are plenty of
scenic drives in New Mexico. Which one do you take when you’re looking for some peace and quiet?