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You Should Head to These 5 Gorgeous Nature Spots in New Mexico That Are Worth Exploring



When visiting nature spots, has New Mexico ever crossed your mind? Its neighboring states such as Utah and Arizona are known for their natural wonders. But how about New Mexico? It might be an underrated destination, but surely, the state is full of gems waiting to be discovered. If you are having a difficult time on where to go for your next trip, we hope this list would give you an idea about the beautiful nature spots in New Mexico.

Head to these 5 gorgeous nature spots in New Mexico that are worth exploring:

1. Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area

Santa Cruz Lake boating nature spots in New Mexico

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If you feel like you want to see some mountains while fishing, this may be the place for you! For only $5 per vehicle, you can stay for the day in Santa Cruz Lake whether you want to go fishing, boating or having a picnic. Swimming is just not allowed because of the dangerous underwater currents. However, you can still wade in the waters provided that you are in the knee-deep areas. You should also wear shoes so you can protect your feet from sharp objects such as broken glass.

Want to stay here for the night? You can bring the whole family and circle together for a campfire. It costs $7 per vehicle if you plan to go camping. Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area also only has one campground available for use – the Overlook campground.

Santa Cruz Lake nature spots in New Mexico

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You can find it at the top of the escarpment on the South end of the lake. There is already 1 vault toilet, as well as campsites with picnic shelters. There are also campfire rings or grills so you can enjoy a chill night with your company. You can also fish for rainbow trout because the lake is periodically stocked with these species. Just make sure that you bring with you a valid New Mexico fishing license and a Wildlife Habitat Improvement validation or stamp in their possession. The limit given is 5 fish per license holder.

With lots of activities you can do here, don’t you think this nature spot in New Mexico is only more awesome?

Location: County Road 98A Espanola, New Mexico

2. Jemez Springs

Jemez Springs nm

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Are you looking for a place where you can experience serenity? Chill in these natural hot springs of Jemez Springs like McCauley Warm Springs, Spence Hot Springs, and San Antonio Hot Springs. This stunning retreat introduces you to authentic culture and history that lets you reconnect with nature and the self. If you want to unplug from your busy and chaotic life, you will surely make the right choice by coming here.

According to accounts, Jemez Springs have mineral waters that have attracted many people for centuries. In fact, there are archaeological findings near Soda Dam that date back as far as 2,500 BC! Can you believe it? This place became a tourist destination in the 1800s because of the lure of its hot springs. And we can’t really blame anyone if they want to soak their bodies in the waters.

McCauley Warm Springs nature spots in New Mexico

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The water on this property comes from deep beneath the Valles Caldera National Preserve about 17 miles up the mountain. It is infused with many minerals over eons of time. The best thing about it is you get to relax and soak in sweet water with no sulfur odor!

A bathing suit is required and we suggest you not to put any sunscreen, lotions, or oil before bathing to keep the springs pristine. You can also choose from primitive, secluded, or luxurious springs. There are a number of options that cater to each visitor so they can rest fully and rejuvenate both their mind and body.

Location: 40 Abousleman Loop Jemez Springs, New Mexico 87025

3. Plaza Blanca

Plaza Blanca new mexico

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This is definitely one of the most stunning nature spots in New Mexico! You may be thinking that the rocks are covered with snow, but it really isn’t. Plaza Blanca has naturally bright white cliffs and beautiful rock formations that will make you enjoy walking down the train when you’re here! Don’t you think its beauty is simply otherworldly? Because that is exactly what we are thinking. It is easy to imagine that you are walking around another planet.

Plaza Blanca surreal place to visit in new mexico

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Fun fact: This place became know because it is the inspiration of the Georgia O’Keeffee, an American artist for her painting. The said artist made a series of paintings such as The White Place”, or in Spanish “Plaza Blanca,” in this area of New Mexico.

Note: As of August 30, 2020, the Plaza Blanca: Rio Negro Badlands trail is closed for restoration and renovation.

Location: Plaza Blanca Rd., Abiquiu, New Mexico

4. Diablo Canyon

Diablo Canyon nature spots in new mexico

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Unlike its name, you won’t suffer hiking in this 6.9-kilometer trail of Diablo Canyon. It is considered as moderate so it’s perfect if you simply want to enjoy the great outdoors. Prepare your hiking shoes so you can appreciate the amazing views of the landscapes. You can also bring your dogs when you hike this trail so they, too, can experience a Diablo Canyon adventure. Or if you want to be more adventurous, you can also try horseback riding. Our suggestion for you though, is if you don’t want to experience the “diablo” heat, you should definitely come early. The heat can be unbearable come noon time.

Diablo Canyon climb

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The dramatic vertical cliffs of Diablo Canyon Recreation Area make this place a sought-after destination frequented by both hikers and climbers. Diablo Canyon boasts a cracked basalt that offers unmatched and some of the best multi-pitch tradition and sport climbing in New Mexico.

This place is also no stranger to the big screen because there are movies filmed here such as The Missing, 3:10 to Yuma, and Cowboys and Aliens.

Location: Old Buckman Rd., Santa Fe, New Mexico

5. Santa Fe Baldy

Santa Fe Baldy nature spots in new mexico

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Have you ever thought of reaching for the skies? If that’s what you want, then one of the nature spots in New Mexico serves that purpose.

At Santa Fe Baldy, you can make your dreams happen. It’s quite a long hike because it takes around 14 miles for a round trip. You can finish it in 8 hours if you’re persistent, but it might take longer depending on your skill level. Please take note that you have to check on the weather conditions before going to make sure you’re hiking on a storm-free day and to make sure you’re going to see the clouds up there!

Santa Fe Baldy new mexico wilderness nature spots in New Mexico

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If you are the chill type, you can also choose to camp and stay for the rest of the night so you can continue early the next morning. Day and use and camping are free of fees at Diablo Canyon. You may opt to try primitive camping since there are four walk-in tent sites and four car camping sites. All these areas have parking areas and a fire ring.

Location: Santa Fe County, New Mexico

Have you ever been to any of these nature spots in New Mexico? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Before you go, check out other good reads: 5 Reasons Why The World Loves New Mexico and 10 Best Things to Do in New Mexico.

A writer big on nature, travel, and dogs. If you can't find Errot with her furry pal, then she's probably out exploring.