New Mexico's Dramatic Natural Scenery
Collected by Kate Donnelly, AFAR Local Expert
When nature enthusiast Georgia O'Keeffe arrived in New Mexico, she quipped, "I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.” Well, the secret is out, and New Mexico's natural and dramatic landscape plays out like a painting: vast skies with bright sunlight, and stark shadows leaving silhouettes on the desert's wide expanse. Nature's scene is set and you'll certainly know why the artist came to paint in and around New Mexico.
Tent Rocks, New Mexico 87025, USA
Forty miles southwest of Santa Fe, you find the awesome, magical Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, a series of mind-blowing, conical sandstone formations that resemble indented ocean waves. Chose from one of two trails—one on ground...
228 Old Santa Fe Trail #10, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
The Turquoise Trail is a National Scenic Byway in New Mexico linking Albuquerque and Santa Fe. If you plan to drive to Santa Fe from Albuquerque, avoid the interstate and take this well beaten path instead. You will be rewarded with majestic...
15 Entrance Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
I’m not sure at what age humans develop the skill to stand still and appreciate scenery, but based on a scientific survey of kids who live in my house, it’s not age seven. (On a trip to the Canadian Rockies, as my wife and I snapped photos of the...
Santa Fe, NM, USA
Santa Fe ski area (as well as Taos) is one of my favorite ski resorts in the world. Although it's not the biggest, it has a great mixture of runs for experts as well as beginners, and what always impresses me is that for such a small ski area, how...
El Prado, NM 87529, USA
10 miles north of Taos (you head out of town and turn left at the "blinking light"), the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, recently renovated in 2012, will give you a dizzying sense of vertigo and the opportunity to take pictures that will make you look...
1001 NM-1, San Antonio, NM 87832, USA
Snowy egrets, geese, herons, cranes, owls, pheasants and road runners abound in the Bosque del Apache. My aunt and uncle lived in their RV at the refuge for two winters, volunteering at the visitor's center and on the "farm" plowing under the...
White Sands, NM 88002, USA
Once a month there is an opportunity to camp under the stars and witness a full moon in White Sands, NM. But rarely do rain clouds fill the sky making for a spectacular display of a gray sky against the stunning white sand. I was lucky enough to...
Taos, NM, NM, USA
The area around Taos, New Mexico is quite volcanic, with extinct volcanos rising blue in the distance. The basalt plain west of town is cut deeply by the Rio Grande and can be viewed for dramatic effect in the afternoons when the shadows delineate...
San Ildefonso Pueblo, NM 87506, USA
La Capilla de la Familia Sagrada sits at the base of Black Mesa, a sacred mountain on the San Ildefonso Pueblo reservation. It is one of the most photographed buildings in New Mexico. The little adobe chapel, against the backdrop of the Sangre de...
Espanola, NM, NM, USA
Georgia O’Keeffe called the grouping of weathered rock outcroppings near Abiquiu “The White Place” and immortalized it in paintings. The land is so arid, and so little changes in New Mexico, that the location and signature V shape have survived. A...
1800 Upper Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
The artist Randall Davey (part of the Santa Fe Art Colony) painted and worked at this former studio turned National Audubon Society on Upper Canyon Road. The land is now a preserved wildlife sanctuary (with a vast variety of birds like the...
Atalaya Mountain, New Mexico 87505, USA
Starting from a trailhead at the small campus of St. John's College, the Atalaya Mountain Trail begins simply and then rises to a steep and challenging 5.4-mile hike that'll leave you grateful for having made the effort. (Shorten the...
Silver City, NM 88061, USA
Suspended on a catwalk high above the Whitewater Creek, this is no ordinary canyon trail. It begins in a tranquil, tree-lined picnic area along the banks of the river, and winds up far above, alongside sheer canyons walls. The catwalk origins date...
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