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5 Places to Visit in New Mexico If You’re Feeling Adventurous

John Ghost

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New Mexico is truly a beautiful state with many hidden gems. It has so much to offer those who find themselves to be more of the adventurous type of person. For those who regard themselves as adventurous and want to experience some amazing times in, this is a good list of 5 places to visit in New Mexico.

1) Jemez Springs – Sandoval County

Soda Dam near the Jemez Springs - Photo by NM EPSCoR
Soda Dam near the Jemez Springs – Photo by NM EPSCoR

Named after the nearest pueblo Jemez, the Jemez springs have a lot to offer. Many may want to relax in the natural hot springs and take in the sights but others may want a bit more recreational adventure. From hiking to the prehistoric volcano called Valles Caldera to many ancient Native ruins to breathtakingly beautiful mesas, there are hundreds of miles of off-the-beaten-path land to explore.

2) Whitewater Rafting in the Rio Grande – Santa Fe and Taos

Taos Box on Power Line Falls in Taos, New Mexico - Photo by Jo Runny
Taos Box on Power Line Falls in Taos, New Mexico – Photo by Jo Runny

From Class III to Class IV rapids, there is a good variety for the whitewater rafting enthusiast in New Mexico. The Rio Grande near Santa Fe offers Class III rapids rafting adventures for those who are skilled but and want amazing scenery and a long ride. There is a course called the Racecourse, which is an action-packed 6-mile rafting adventure where 2-3 rapids are encountered.

For the more skilled whitewater rafter, the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico, has all the good stuff. The Taos Box flows through the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge some 800 feet deep. It starts calm then picks up hardcore when entering the Gorge. That’s where rapids like the Power Line Falls, The Rock Garden, The one-mile-long Rio Bravo section and the grand finale Sunset take the most adventurous of whitewater rafters on a journey they’ll never forget.

3) Carlsbad Caverns – The Guadalupe Mountains

Carlsbad Caverns are always at the top of peoples' lists of important places to visit in New Mexico. - Photo by Dan Sorensen
Carlsbad Caverns – Photo by Dan Sorensen

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this is a pre-lit safe series of amazing caverns that take tourists safely through with a guide. Where’s the adventure in that? Well, you’re right but only half right. Carlsbad Caverns has more to offer than just a lovely family getaway. It also has plenty to offer those who seek adventure. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is always at the top of peoples’ lists of important places to visit in New Mexico.

There are over 119 caves throughout Carlsbad Caverns, but not all are as easily accessible as the big showroom caves that tours go through. For example, the Slaughter Canyon Cave and Spider Cave are undeveloped, and are may be guided but are for the more skilled spelunker. Besides spelunking though, there are hiking trails around the park that provide excellent scenery and close encounters to New Mexico’s diverse and fascinating wildlife.

4) Diablo Canyon – Near Santa Fe

Diablo Canyon in New Mexico - Photo by Lucas
Diablo Canyon – Photo by Lucas

Perhaps you might recognize the Diablo Canyon from the shootout scene in the movie 3:10 From Yuma. This canyon, however, serves a bigger purpose than being a beautiful filming location. It is a mountain climber’s paradise! There are various crags, cracks, and cliffs for climbers to explore throughout the whole canyon. Diablo Canyon isn’t for the beginner though, this is one of the places in New Mexico for serious adventurers.

5) White Mesa and The Ojito Wilderness Bike Trails – Southwest of San Ysidro

White Mesa near San Ysidro, New Mexico - Photo by Philip Moseley
The White Mesa near San Ysidro, New Mexico – Photo by Philip Moseley

White Mesa and The Ojito Wilderness near San Ysidro, New Mexico are both locations for excellent and difficult mountain biking trails. The bike trails cross a beautiful landscape and even travel through the Pueblo of Zia, State of New Mexico. The trails also take bikers through public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which has obtained rights-of-way from the Pueblo and the State to provide this biking experience.

The trails may be designed primarily for mountain biking but they also serve as great places for adventurous hikers and horseback riders.


The “Land of Enchantment” of New Mexico is indeed a great state for the more adventurous people to explore. There are many amazing places to visit in New Mexico.

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