New Mexico has 26 Scenic Byways ranging from 4 to more than 600 miles. There is an astounding variety of geography, diverse cultures, fascinating history, and recreational opportunities along the 3,531 miles of scenic road. For a complete listing with directions and maps click here.
One day to and from Santa Fe:
|DH Lawrence Ranch-When I think of day trips from Santa Fe, Taos and the surrounding areas come to mind. With a myriad of choices, I have no problem on finding “something to do” but yet making the choice of “what to do” is a bit harder. Recently I settled on the D. H. Lawrence ranch just north of Taos for a Saturday adventure. I was spurred on by the looming seasonal closure of the ranch at the end of October. This summer is the first year in a decade that the ranch has been open for visitors and I was hard pressed to make sure I made it there. Since I work on Mondays and Thursdays, the Saturday option was the one best available for me. But, choose any of these days, from 10am-4pm, for yourself. Read more in our recent blog.|
|Jemez Mountain Trail-Approximately 160 miles round trip.
Follow US 84/285 north to Pojoaque, then NM 502 west toward Los Alamos. You may wish to stop at the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Across the river on NM 30 is Santa Clara Pueblo. Continue on NM 4 to Bandelier National Monument featuring Indian ruins in two locations, and then into Los Alamos. You can stop at the Bradbury Science Museum to learn about World War II’s Manhattan project. Follow NM 4 into the Jemez Mountains, and exit along the Jemez River Canyon to view waterfalls and sheer rock faces. Attractions in Jemez include full restaurants and services, Jemez Springs public springs, the Jemez State Monument, and the Jemez Pueblo Walatowa Visitor Center. Leave NM 4 when it dead-ends into NM 44 at San Ysidro and head south to Bernalillo. You may wish to stop at the Coronado State Monument. Take I-25 north to return to Santa Fe.
|O’Keeffe Country-Approximately 250 miles round trip.
Take US 84/285 north, then onto 84 near Espanola. Follow the Chama river toward Ghost Ranch. Nearby attractions include Abiquiu Lake, the Echo Amphitheater, and further up Us 84 in Los Ojos the showroom of Tierra Wools. Nearby are the Heron Lake and Brazos River. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is in Chama. To return to Santa Fe, take US 64 east from Tierra Amarilla to Taos. You will wind through the San Juan Range and decend to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. US 64 is devoid of services and sometimes closed in winter. You may wish to spend time in Taos before returning to Santa Fe on US 68 south along the Rio Grande to Espanola. From Espanola, take US 84/285 south into Santa Fe.
|Taos Circle-Approximately 165 miles round trip.
Follow US 84/285 north along the Sangre de Cristo Mountain and Valley towns through Espanola. Take US 68 to San Juan Pueblo. North of the Pueblo are farmlands offering seasonal fruits and vegetables. Above Velarde the Rio Grande enters a narrow canyon. Embudo is a historic railroad stop. Stop in Taos to enjoy galleries, shops, and restaurants. Visit the Taos Pueblo just outside of Taos. Return to Santa Fe via the “High Road” (limited services) where NM 518 intersects US 68 at Ranchos de Taos. Near the Picuris Pueblo take NM 75 west and then NM 76 heading south. Attractions along this route include the Spanish colonial church at Las Trampas, Galleries featuring pottery, quilts, rugs, and wood carvings. When you reach Chimayo, you may wish to see the famous Santuario de Chimayo (off a well-marked side road). Return to Santa Fe via NM 76 turning South at Espanola on US 84/285 or turn South at Pojoaque on NM 503 (Nambe Falls is a short side trip).
|Santa Fe Trail-Approximately 186 miles round trip
Take I-25 Northeast through Glorietta pass. Exit at the Pecos National Historical park to view Pecos Pueblo ruins and a Spanish mission church. The Pecos wilderness to the north is ideal for fishing. Leave I-25 at Las Vegas (NM). Attractions include period architecture, antique stores, restaurants and services, and the Rough Rider Museum. Take NM 518 north to Storrie Lake offering fishing, boating, and windsurfing. NM 518 winds into tall mountains which you cross before taking NM 75 decending to Penasco. Take NM 76 back to US 85/285 and South to Santa Fe.
|Turquoise Trail-Approximately 150 miles round trip.
Head South from Santa Fe on NM 14 to the village of Cerrillos and then Madrid. There is a main street featuring galleries, studios, shops, and the Old Coal Mine Museum. Continue through Golden to San Antonito. Take NM 536 through the Sandia Mountains to Sandia Crest (Ten thousand foot view of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley). Next take NM 14 south to I-40 and head east to NM 41. Join US 285 near Lamy and then I-25 back to Santa Fe.