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You Will Immediately Be Enchanted When You Hit the Road to See New Mexico’s Scenic Byways



At some point in your life, you’ll be searching for a reason to get up and go somewhere that’s not inside your house. Be it planning to break some wheels in; looking to bond with some friends or family; or just itching to get on the road and catch a glimpse of scenic views as far as the eye can see, driving down the long road is always an elating experience! Let’s do a checklist on what might pique your interest. Are you down for natural eye-candy? Temps just right to chill? Then you’re in the right place! These New Mexico scenic byways are a sight for sore eyes, and we’re giving you some of the best in the state!

These Are Some of The Must-Visit New Mexico Scenic Byways

Prepare to Be Enchanted at the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

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As its name suggests, this New Mexico scenic byway is a work of art in itself! With a striking harmony of colors, especially during the fall, your eyes are sure to be bewitched by its natural beauty like no other.

It is also an equally invigorating drive in the summer as its warmth will surely take you aback. This drive is approximately 85 miles on a loop through Taos to Red River to Angel Fire. The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway actually links the oldest continuously occupied residence in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo, to some Vietnam War veterans and other gorgeous settings. You will be in for a treat because you will see the places recognizable from such films as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

This byway also features hiking and camping places. Not to mention, one can find different high alpine scenery, skiing and fishing destinations. It doesn’t matter whether you want a side trip or not, just checking out the beautiful scenery along this byway will already put a smile on your face. During the colder months, the view will be much more exciting!

Beautiful Stops You Shouldn’t Miss: Cabresto Lake, Mallette Canyon, and Midnight Meadows

Aim for New Heights at the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway

High Road to Taos Scenic Byway New Mexico Scenic Byways

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What you’ll find so majestic about these New Mexico Scenic Byways is that you’ll see the seamless and alluring shifting of the scene. From the arid and barren plains with unique rock formations, your eyes will then land on mountainous terrain teeming with thick and luscious greenery. This byway gives a decent close-up view of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains too. This drive is around 70 miles between Santa Fe and Taos.

Individuals traveling through this byway will also see El Santuario de Chimayo. In addition to this, some visitors might also want to visit the hole in the floor of a side chapel filled with healing earth. If you want to see creased and crinkled badlands, this is also perfect for you. The byway has plenty of stunning Jemez Mountains views.

No doubt, this beautiful byway takes you through an authentic remnant of Old Spain.

Beautiful Stops You Shouldn’t Miss: Picuris Pueblo, and Pot Creek Cultural Site. The El Santuario de Chimayo is also probably one of the most famous points of interest visited by road-trippers. The tiny church is believed to be filled with healing earth. Many pilgrims travel here just to pray and take a pinch of the special dirt. If you don’t want the place to be packed, you better not come during Easter and Good Friday.

Gear up for This Long Drive at the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway

Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway new mexico

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Spanning more than 160 miles, this New Mexico Scenic Byway is the longest one on our list and is definitely one of the best New Mexico scenic byways. On this long drive, you have the option to drive by locations like the Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera, and Jemez Pueblo. It’s also worth noting that there are a few towns along the way and wildlife viewing opportunities along the byway.

If you take this byway, you will loop through the Santa Fe National Forest to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The latter is a famous destination that gives a breathtaking experience for all. You can do lots of outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and snow sports.

Beautiful Stops You Shouldn’t Miss: Gilman Tunnels, Walatowa Visitor Center, and Battleship Rock

The Short but Sweet Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway

Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway New Mexico Scenic Byways

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Some people think that traveling byways will take you a long time – well, not this one.

Albeit having a length of only 15 miles, the Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway is truly an enticing drive! Roadtrippers can begin their journey from the Santa Fe Plaza, which is just next to the Palace of the Governors. Then, they can make their way through State Road 475 to Hyde Memorial Park.

You will also travel within the Santa Fe National Forest, so most of the route will show you hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas along the way. Some of the trailheads around the ski area lead over the top ridge and into Pecos Wilderness.

What are you waiting for? You better take this short drive and see the marvelous mountain landscape of this New Mexico scenic byway.

Beautiful Stops You Shouldn’t Miss: Hyde Memorial State Park, and Pecos Wilderness. Pecos Wilderness will give you views of deep and narrow canyons, as well as long and broad mesa tops. The heavily forested slopes and rugged ridges are surely a sight for sore eyes.

Take Breathtaking Shots at From up High at the Sunspot Scenic Byway

Sunspot Scenic Byway nm

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The Sunspot Scenic Byway is only a short drive spanning 15 miles from Cloudcroft up to Apache Point Observatory in the Sacramento Mountains. Many believe this is one of the best New Mexico Scenic Byways, and we couldn’t agree more. Although just a short drive, this byway offers a spectacular view both far and wide with its high elevation! Take breaks at the lookouts and the observatory for a breathtaking view!

Did you know that there are two national telescope observatories at the byway’s terminus? The great thing about it is that both facilities offer tours and exhibits to the earthbound public. From there, you can watch and be in awe while a consortium of scientists explores the heavens from its 9,200-foot elevation.

This byway is designated N.M. 6563. That pertains to the light wavelength in Angstroms used by scientists to locate active areas on the Sun!

Beautiful Stops You Shouldn’t Miss: Sunspot Solar Observatory, and Sunspot Visitor Center and Museum. The Sunspot Solar Observatory is home to one of the largest active solar telescopes in the world. Not to mention, it presents every visitor with gorgeous vistas, and historical landmarks.

The observatory is located in the heart of the scenic Lincoln National Forest. You will be delighted to know that it is has been a premier facility for solar research since its establishment in 1947.

Prep-up for the trip, and pick your favorite from these gorgeous New Mexico Scenic Byways! We’re sure you can’t wait to roll out on the road.

 Before you go, you should check out the top-rated New Mexico destinations that you need to visit right away!

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