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The Best Scenic Drives in New Mexico

TIME : 2016/2/16 15:53:22
An idyllic two-lane road in New Mexico crossing the Johnson Mesa.

Looking east on Highway 72 on the bucolic Johnson Mesa. Photo © Phillip Stewart, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

There’s hardly a bad stretch of road in the state of New Mexico, but these recommended scenic drives through the Land of Enchantment are outstanding.

Turquoise Trail: (55 miles, 1.5 hours) From Albuquerque to Santa Fe, Highway 14 offers great vistas around every curve and ghost towns to break up the drive.

Highway 4: (32 miles, 1 hour) The road through Jemez Springs to Valles Caldera is especially good in fall, with yellow aspens highlighted against red rock.

U.S. 84: (93 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes) North of Santa Fe, ascend through the red rocks of Abiquiu (page 111), then past the Brazos Cliffs near Tierra Amarilla.

La Frontera del Llano Scenic Byway: (26 miles, 30 minutes) Highway 39 zigzags across the northeastern plains, from Roy to Abbott, with pronghorns and ruined homesteads along the way.

Highway 72: (37 miles, 1 hour) This tiny road between Raton and Folsom soars over bucolic Johnson Mesa.

U.S. 180: (98 miles, 2 hours) From Silver City to Reserve, this highway passes largely through national forest.

Sunspot Highway: (17 miles, 30 minutes) Highway 6563 winds south from Cloudcroft to Sunspot National Solar Observatory, with White Sands visible below.

Excerpted from the Ninth Edition of Moon New Mexico.
Travel map of New Mexico

New Mexico

Travel map showing Driving Distances in New Mexico

Driving Distances in New Mexico