When people think of visiting New Mexico, the cities of Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque quickly come to mind. But the most historically significant place in New Mexico is a little known town that permanently changed the world.
Los Alamos is the birthplace of the atomic bomb. For years it was a closed city; a large military installation cloaked in secrecy. The major employer is still the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Groundbreaking physics continues, but so does cutting edge research in biology, astrophysics, and genetics. It's no longer all about bombs, but there are still plenty of secrets.
Outside of Los Alamos, people may try to discourage you from visiting by telling you the water is radioactive or the people are crazed warmongers. The secret is – that’s not true.
The city sits on five finger-mesas of the Pajarito Plateau, formed during the last eruption of the Jemez Volcano, 1.1 million years ago. To the east is the lush valley of the Rio Grande River. Surrounding the city is national forest land, Bandelier National Monument, and tribal lands belonging to San Ildefonso Pueblo. Thanks to the high altitude, summers are pleasant with cooling afternoon thunderstorms, and the area is populated with ponderosa forests full of wild flowers and boletus mushrooms. Los Alamos is the mountain biking capital of New Mexico, with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, many of which become cross-country ski trails in the winter.