New Mexico Travel Guide

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Sunrise over Grants

Sunrise over Grants

Steve Hands

New Mexico's natural landscapes, architecture and  sunsets, provide the perfect background for the  history and proud heritage that exist in the "Land of Enchantment". The unique blend of Native American, Mexican, Spanish and Western cultural influences helped New Mexico to develop a colorful and distinctive spirit.

There is no other state with so many national parks dedicated to Native Indian civilizations. From Bandelier in Los Alamos to the ancestral Pueblo Indian ruins in Aztec to Chaco Culture National Historical Park , the whole state has many places where you can learn about this important cultural heritage. Plan to visit one of the 19 pueblos, the Navajo Nation, or one of the Apache nations.

Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The Taos people have been in the area for over 1000 years, although the village has been moved several times. The current eye-catching adobe structures date back to the early 1800s. Some of these buildings are four stories high and ladders are used to reach the upper floors and the roofs. Also in the mountains near Taos you can find skiing at several ski resorts.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe are the main urban areas in New Mexico. Both are attractive towns with excellent tourist infrastructure. They are good starting points for exploring the north central portion of the state, where one can find many colonial villages, verdant forests, and high mountain country.

Northwest New Mexico is often called "Indian Country" due to the large populations of various Indian Nations in the area; Grants, Gallup, and Farmington are good bases for exploring this diverse and interesting region. Here you'll find the oldest continuously inhabited city in the US, the venerable Pueblo of Acoma, and the world heritage site of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The tallest mountain in this region is sacred Mount Taylor, part of the Cibola National Forest and one of the "four sacred mountains" of Navajo legend. Zuni Pueblo is the largest of the New Mexico pueblos and can be visited from either Grants or Gallup. With an enticing mix of public lands, ancient and modern Native cultures, and four season climate, this region offers much to the southwest traveler.

Southern New Mexico is dominated by Las Cruces, a fast growing city that has warm winters favored by retirees and others fleeing the snow belt. The rugged terrain of the Gila region in the southwest of the state is home to Silver City and many small mountain towns.

There are many interesting places to visit in Southern New Mexico: Dripping Spring Trail - an old West trail in the mountains with remains of a turn-of-the century sanatorium; Agguire Spring Recreation Area - located on the eastern side of the Organ Mountains, a short drive from Las Cruces, has 2 scenic trails along with picnic areas; City of Rocks - located near Silver City, is has an amazing erect rocks in the middle of the dessert, with near by natural hot springs. Village of Cloudcroft located north-east of Las Cruces has beautiful mountain landscape with numerous trail a must visit for a nature buff.

For hiking and other outdoor activities, El Malpais National Monument and White Sands are spectacular national parks, where anyone with a love for the outdoor can spend whole weeks.

Contributors

December 22, 2006 change by waterfalls (2 points)

November 15, 2006 change by giorgio

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