New Mexico has long been known as a land of enchantment. From its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, this southwestern state is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. However, with so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve put together a list of New Mexico’s best-kept secrets: a journey off the beaten path.
1. The Very Large Array
Located in the remote plains of Socorro County, the Very Large Array is a scientific research facility that is open to the public. The VLA consists of 27 radio telescopes that work together to explore the depths of space. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the facility and learn about the cutting-edge research being conducted there. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up some space-themed souvenirs.
2. The Gila Cliff Dwellings
The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a series of ancient dwellings built into the cliffs of the Gila Wilderness. The dwellings were constructed by the Mogollon people around 700 years ago and were occupied for several hundred years. Today, visitors can explore the dwellings and learn about the daily lives of the people who once lived there. The Gila Wilderness is also a great place for hiking and camping.
3. White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument is a stunning landscape of white gypsum sand dunes. The dunes cover over 275 square miles and are the largest of their kind in the world. Visitors can hike, sled, or even camp on the dunes. The monument is also home to a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, foxes, and bighorn sheep.
4. The Roswell UFO Museum
If you’re a fan of all things extraterrestrial, the Roswell UFO Museum is a must-visit. The museum is dedicated to the infamous 1947 Roswell Incident, in which a flying saucer allegedly crashed in the nearby desert. The museum features exhibits on the incident, as well as on other UFO sightings and encounters. Visitors can also browse the gift shop for alien-themed souvenirs.
5. El Morro National Monument
El Morro National Monument is a historic site that has been inhabited for over 2,000 years. The monument is home to a massive sandstone bluff that was used as a landmark by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and pioneers. Visitors can hike to the top of the bluff to see the many inscriptions left by travelers over the centuries. The monument also has a visitor center that offers exhibits on the area’s history and geology.
6. The Carlsbad Caverns
The Carlsbad Caverns are a series of underground caves that are home to some of the most stunning rock formations in the world. Visitors can take a guided tour of the caves or explore on their own. The caverns are also home to a variety of wildlife, including bats, cave crickets, and blind cavefish.
7. The Taos Pueblo
The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. The pueblo is home to a community of Native Americans who continue to live in traditional adobe houses. Visitors can take a guided tour of the pueblo and learn about its history and culture. The pueblo also has a number of shops selling handmade crafts and jewelry.
8. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a stunning feat of engineering that spans the Rio Grande River. The bridge is over 550 feet above the river and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can walk across the bridge or take a guided tour.
9. Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument is a beautiful natural landscape that has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. The monument is home to a series of ancient cliff dwellings, as well as a variety of hiking trails. Visitors can also learn about the area’s history and culture at the visitor center.
10. The Turquoise Trail
The Turquoise Trail is a scenic drive that takes visitors through the heart of New Mexico’s historic mining country. The trail passes through a number of picturesque towns, including Madrid, which is known for its art galleries and unique shops. Along the way, visitors can stop at a number of historic sites and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
New Mexico is a state that is full of surprises. From its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, there is something for everyone to discover. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a fan of all things extraterrestrial, New Mexico’s best-kept secrets are waiting to be explored. So why not plan your next adventure off the beaten path?