New Mexico February 20, 2017
Here’s The Perfect Weekend Itinerary If You Love Exploring New Mexico’s Waterfalls
New Mexico’s waterfalls tend to be clustered together. That’s a good thing because it’s simple to link several into a short drive. Combine cruising along scenic byways, with manageable hikes, and waterfalls and you’re headed for a magical weekend. This trip takes 4 hours and 22 minutes to complete without stops, and the route covers 164 miles.
Here is the map.
1. Soda Dam
Soda Dam is a dam that has slowly formed over time due to calcium deposits. It's about 5000 years old and, as water gushes through this formation, it creates a small yet powerful waterfall. In warmer months you can take a dip in the pool below the falls. There's no need to hike because this rock formation is located right next to the road. (A slight sulfur smell clings to the air here.)
2. Jemez Falls
Highway 4, which is one of our state's scenic byways, is also known as the Jemez Mountain Trail and the views along this drive are just astonishing. Savor them as you continue up the route to Jemez Falls.
Jemez Falls is 70 feet high. Reaching the viewing point only requires a 0.7-mile, out and back hike, along an easy trail. The soundtrack of the water tumbling over the rocks is incredibly soothing. You can stay at the nearby Jemez Springs Campground.
For more info.
3. Upper Falls
Bandelier National Monument is best known for its cliff dwellings, ruins, and petroglyphs. However, there is also a Falls Trail here. Follow a 1.5-mile long path to Upper Falls. This waterfall is in a beautiful setting and is well worth viewing. (The trailhead is in the Backpacker’s Parking Lot.) Due to flash flood damage, you can no longer continue on to Lower Falls.
4. White Rock Falls, Overlook Park
From this park you can spy a waterfall in the nearby canyon.
Overlook Park also affords stunning views of the Rio Grande and is a lovely, relatively undiscovered spot to visit.
5. Nambe Falls
Nambe Falls, which is about 100 foot high, lies inside a recreation area on Nambe Pueblo. The falls are only 0.25 miles away from the campground (another great overnight option). There are two routes to the waterfall. They’re the same length but one takes you to the top of the falls, while the other leads to the bottom. Since they’re so short, it’s worth doing both.
6. Kachina Falls
This dinky waterfall (it's only 15 feet high) is next to the lifts at Taos Ski Valley. Small but scenic!
7. Williams Falls
The Lake Williams Trail from Taos Ski Valley is the longest hike on this trip at around four miles out-and-back. However, this easy to moderate hike is well worth the effort. It leads to a gorgeous alpine lake under Wheeler Peak. If you continue up another 0.25 miles, you come to Williams Falls, a 35-foot high waterfall.
For more info.
When you’re visiting waterfalls, it’s a good idea to bring wading shoes or flip-flops. Also, bear in mind that New Mexico’s falls can vary in strength quite dramatically depending on the season and quantity of melting snow or rainfall.
So what do you think? Ready to hit the road?
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