What to do in New Mexico and nearby?

If you are already going north, ignore the advice on the southern part of the state. If you try to hit both halves of the state you’ll spend all your time driving, New Mexico is a BIG state.

Acoma Pueblo is pretty amazing. The Jemez mountains around Los Alamos are gorgeous.

Bandolier is really nice.

If you are flying into Albuquerque try both: El Pinto for Mexican food. Also try going up the tram to the top of Sandia Crest, it’s an amazing ride.

If you want to experience a little bit of Albuquerque make it over to the Frontier diner on Central and have the best cinnamon bun you’ve ever tasted. (It’s all sugar and butter)

Will you have time to swing over to southern Utah? There are amazing National Parks: Arches, Canyonland, Capital Reef, Zion, and best of all, Bryce. I’d rather go there than anywhere in New Mexico.

I’m going to try to hit at least one of the canyon national parks. Arches is doable); Bryce and Zion not so much. I can get in a car and drive forever, but my wife eventually gets annoyed, so I don’t know how much ground I’ll actually cover.

Tent Rocks and Bandalier are now definitely on my list.

I used to live in Grand Junction and some evenings we’d drive over to Arches or Canyonlands just to catch a sunset. If you’re doing Arches, might as well hit Canyonland’s Dead Horse Point and Upheaval Dome as they’re right there. For that matter, about 10 miles west of Green River where Hwy 70 cuts through a vertical plunging monocline may be one of the most fantastic views in the state.

I hesitated to mention any Utah sites before because between New Mexico and Southern Colorado you can easily fill a week’s plate with stunning locations. I was going to simply suggest you also plan another trip for Utah. Capitol Reef is another good one there, the Book Cliffs, there’s Hwy 95 through the White Canyon, Utah 12 through Escalante, I’ve always loved this guy south of Moab. Some trip you gotta hit Goosenecks of the San Juan. Heck, that whole area there around Mexican Hat is pretty awesome. If you’re real ambitious you could tackle the Honaker Trail.

We’ve not even touched on Zion, Bryce, etc, plus there’s all sorts of backroads going through the Morrison where you can find gastroliths, etc. Utah can easily fill an entire trip all by it’s lonesome.