Where is your dream destination? It must be really beautiful for you to want to tick it off from your bucket list. If the place you’ve been dying to go to is not in New Mexico, we are here to change your minds. In the Land of Enchantment, you will see many stunning places that will surely pique your interest. Don’t believe this state is worth visiting? That’s okay. We are sure you won’t feel the same way after seeing the best New Mexico destinations. Keep reading.
Here are 10 top-rated New Mexico destinations that every traveler should visit:
1. Taos Ski Valley
If you want to experience Winter Wonderland in New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley is the place to go. The mountain’s highest point is 12,500 feet, and will give you phenomenal view of Taos. Taos Ski Valley is also already perfectly equipped with everything you need for winter skiing, so you just need to be ready for some serious winter fun!
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice summer adventure in this destination. You will enjoy mountain biking on the Green Chile Flow Trail, climbing Via Ferrata (sub-alpine ecosystem of Kachina Peak), and even going inside a scenic chair lift. Some visitors also try fly fishing with a local guide for a complete experience.
Why you should go: It is best to enjoy Northern New Mexico’s diverse climate here! You don’t have to worry about the “right day to come” because Taos Ski Valley is a perfect destination for year-round recreation.
Location: Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos County, New Mexico
2. Taos Pueblo
Did you know that this village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Even if the houses looked like they’ve gotten through time, these adobe dwellings are sturdy; as they are made of straw, mud bricks, and timber. This national historic landmark is the oldest inhabited dwellings in the United States of America. Since people are living in the dwellings, you can take photos outside of the structures and other nearby sites like Taos Plaza and the St. Francis de Assisi Church.
Why you should go: Taos Pueblo has an outstanding universal value because it represents a significant stage in the history of urban, community and cultural life and development in this region.
Location: Taos, New Mexico
3. Carlsbad Caverns
Don’t get tired of seeing Carlsbad Caverns! It is truly a gem, and that will never change. These underground caves are one of the sought-after New Mexico destinations. Carlsbad Caverns are intricately sculpted naturally by the limestone deposits.
As Travel Channel put it, entering any of the caves in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park is like entering a “larger-than-life sandcastle.” Why is that? You will see drips of sand transformed into a stunning and twisting myriad structures of peaks and spires. Any visitor of Carlsbad Caverns will agree that it is breathtaking beyond words.
We suggest that you take a ranger-led tour so that they can guide you along the way.
Why you should go: Even the actor and comedian Will Rogers loved this place! He actually called the Carlsbad Caverns the “Grand Canyon with a roof over it.”
Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico
4. International UFO Museum and Research Center
Do you believe in extraterrestrial creatures that have possibly walked this earth? If you didn’t know, a sighting in Roswell way back 1947 has inspired this museum to open in 1992. The International UFO Museum and Research Center is home to a lot of artifacts related to their researches about UFOs. This includes testaments of people who allegedly saw UFOs. If that seems interesting, you should check them out.
The beautiful thing about this museum is that it is a bit quirky. There is one serious area with a lot of factual information, while the other one is more on the entertaining side with the fun displays of UFO that is actually moving, and releasing dry ice clouds of steam.
Why you should go: This is a great little museum with a low-cost admission fee. While it is nothing fancy, you can learn many interesting details about the Roswell crash. It will also only take you 30 to 45 minutes depending on how much you read.
Location: 114 N Main St, Roswell, New Mexico
5. Billy The Kid Museum
For those who are not aware, this museum was inspired by a dark past that happened in New Mexico in the 1800s. Henry McCarty, also known as Billy the Kid, is an outlaw who led a bloody war in Lincoln County. There are many great tales of gunfights and outlaw heroics that carry on through history, so you should definitely visit the best privately-owned museum in the southwest
Everyone following the story of Billy the Kid would know that he was shot dead at age 21. This museum houses Billy’s authentic “Wanted” poster and riffle. You can also see other artifacts that could connect the dots about the dark history of the young outlaw.
Why you should go: History definitely comes to life at Billy The Kid Museum
Location: 1435 Sumner Ave, Fort Sumner, New Mexico
6. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
If you are curious about the Mogollon culture, it will be a good head start to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings. These are ancient dwellings established way back in the late 1200s or 1300, with 42 rooms in 6 caves. The groups of nomadic people who lived here before built rooms, crafted pottery, and raised their children in the beautiful dwellings for many years. Even when they left, they still left the walls so future generations could get a glimpse of the past.
While you’re in this national monument, make use of the trail and go to other features like caves and hot springs. You are in for a wonderful time!
Why you should go: When exploring the Gila Cliff Dwellings, make sure to take your time! It is not just one of the best New Mexico destinations. It is actually one of the few remaining parks that allows visitors to enter caves and dwelling rooms.
Location: Silver City, New Mexico
7. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
One of the New Mexico destinations people around the world are looking forward to is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Just the name of the event itself sounds amazing. It is the largest of its kind festival in the entire world, garnering around 80,000 people per year. Every October, this festival is being held for 9 days in a 365-acre land and around 500 balloons up in the sky! Do you want a pretty sight? Then mark your calendar because the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta isn’t something you should miss.
The festival’s most popular event is Mass Ascension of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Why you should go: You will be amazed by the enchanted world of special-shaped balloon rodeos and vibrant balloon-filled skies. Not to mention, you will see twilight balloon glows, and the mass ascension that makes the perfect backdrop for your photos.
Location: 4401 Alameda Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico
8. Chaco Canyon
Just like Taos Pueblo, this place is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chaco Canyon was home to Puebloan people in the earlier centuries. While appreciating the creativity of ancestors when visiting here, take advantage of other activities like hiking and camping.
Why you should go: Chaco Canyon is considered the center of an ancient world. The massive buildings testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest!
Location: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
9. Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park was the biggest Native American Pueblo in New Mexico. Until the 1800s, the population here is over 2000. You can learn about its rich history through their walking tour which is a 1.25-mile hike. Inside the park, you can also take a 2.25-mile trail to visit the Civil War site.
The visitors will have a great opportunity of learning about the background of the place and its people. You will see many ruins still standing today, and it is interesting for people of all ages.
Why you should go: The park is free, and has an easy and enjoyable trail. There are also benches along the path so you can rest while admiring the gorgeous views.
Location: 1 Peach Drive, Pecos, New Mexico
10. Wheeler Peak Wilderness
If you are looking for a New Mexico destination that has a cool temperature, we suggest that you go to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. It is the highest point in New Mexico, standing at more than 13,000 feet. It was created about 135 million years ago when a tremendous geologic uplift created the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Wheeler Peak Wilderness marks the top of this rugged range, and it is one of the best New Mexico destinations you’ll ever see.
This place is also abundant in wildlife so you will see animals that you don’t normally see a lot like pikas, elk, marmots, and more.
Why you should go: There is no doubt that Wheeler Peak Wilderness is a haven for outdoor recreationalists. You will see many maintained hiking trails that lead to gorgeous alpine lakes and peaks. Some adventurers even venture off trail to reach more peaks to summit, and ridges to traverse.
Location: Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
If there is only one place you would like to visit from these New Mexico destinations, where would you go?
Before you go, check out the underground lava tubes in New Mexico that will take you to a dark but cool world. We’ve also compiled 10 peaceful images to take your mind off the coronavirus in New Mexico.