National Scenic Byways and Other Recreational Drives

New Mexico
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Santa Fe Backroads

Explore the natural beauty and rich culture outside of New Mexico's old capital city.

Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway

A 36-mile-long run through an ancient volcanic landscape at El Malpais National Monument.

New Mexico State Highway #6563

Commonly called the "Sunspot Highway," this byway travels the front rim of the majestic Sacramento Mountains offering visitors a variety of scenic opportunities ranging from spectacular views of the Tularosa Basin to the ceaselessly shifting sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument.

High Road to Taos

Makes for a day well spent. The High Road features entrancing desert scenery, interesting crafts towns, and never-boring historic interest. Plus there's some wonderful hiking opportunities awaiting on the way.

Inner Loop/Gila Cliff Dwellings Scenic Byway

The 110-mile Inner Loop/Gala Cliff Dwellings Scenic Byway includes a side trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. where travelers can visit the remains of a once-thriving Mogollon Indian community. Overlooks along the loop allow visitors to stop and view the sheer magnitude and vast beauty of the surrounding countryside, including panoramic views of the Gila Wilderness, the nation's first designated wilderness area. A visit to Pious Altos, a historic mining town, and fishing, camping, and hiking opportunities can also be found along the Byway.

Sandia Crest Scenic Byway

The Sandia Crest Scenic Byway offers an 11-mile drive through high desert scenery on State Highway 536 through the Cibola National Forest in central New Mexico. It connects with the Turquoise Trail, old highway 14 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Scenic Byway

Beginning at the Palace of Governors, the oldest government building in the United States, the Santa Fe Scenic Byway travels 15 miles through rolling foothills and the picturesque Tesuque Canyon up into dense stands of ponderosa pine. Camping and picnicking facilities along the route and the Santa Fe Ski Area at road's end offer abundant opportunities to stop and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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