Question: I’ll be visiting New Mexico for 5 days next week. I plan to spend a couple of nights in Albuquerque, and a couple in Santa Fe. I love to just drive around rural areas and explore. Are there some scenic drives in the local area that you can recommend?
Answer: Four Great Road Trips in New Mexico
First, here two great suggestions for scenic road trips between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway
Rather than take the Interstate, take a leisurely tour along the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway (State Road 4) from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. This road takes you through quietly beautiful mountain scenery that includes a Native American Pueblo with stunning red rock vistas, quaint towns, hot springs and so much more. Lots of camera worthy stops along the way. Learn more about the Jemez Mountain Trail in this post.
Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway
Another scenic way to travel from Santa Fe to Albuquerque is the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway (New Mexico State Road 14). This road trip includes two engaging must-see stops, the resurrected ghost towns of Madrid and Cerillos. Madrid (a personal favorite) has lots of tiny galleries featuring the work of local artists in a funky and endlessly creative setting. Cerillos gives you an authentic ghost town experience with small-town settings that have been used in several motion pictures. I highlight Madrid and its quirky attractions in this post.
High Road to Taos Scenic Byway
The High Road to Taos is an awe-inspiring tour of some of New Mexico’s most historic settings. This utterly charming mountain road between Santa Fe and Taos offers a glimpse into the Spanish colonial roots of New Mexico with charming small towns that proudly wear their history in the architecture of churches and plazas. This trip back in time is as memorable as the two cities it connects.
Low Road to Taos (NM 68)
The Low Road to Taos (also called River Road) is a great way to make the return trip from Taos to Santa Fe, New Mexico. This road follows the Rio Grande (popular with kayakers and river rafters in this area) and gives an expansive view of the farm communities in this area. There are stands offering seasonal locally-grown produce from many of the local farms in this area.
These four road-trips immerse you in the culture and history of New Mexico with unforgettable scenery and local attractions and eateries. Enjoy your trip!