New Mexico is known as the “Land of Enchantment” and with good reason! No matter the kind of adventure you are looking for, there is sure to be somewhere in this beautiful state that will provide the unforgettable experience you’re looking for. From the adrenaline-packed white water rapids, to the breathtaking and peaceful desert sunsets, there is very little that New Mexico doesn’t offer!
To help you narrow down the overwhelming amount of experiences available, we have created a list of the top five New Mexico adventures!
- White Water Rafting The Rio Grande
- Chaco Culture National Historic Park
- White Sands National Park
- Wheeler Peak
- Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness
White Water Rafting The Rio Grande
Starting from the San Juan mountain range in Colorado, and journeying 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico, we are lucky enough to have a piece of the Rio Grande in our backyard! Some of the best rafting experiences on the Rio Grande are located in the northeastern part of the state near Taos. The Rio Grande offers many adventures that everyone could enjoy!
You can take a full-day trip down the adrenaline pumping 17-mile section of the Rio known as the Taos Box, offering a plethora of class 3 and 4 rapids. The beautiful 6-mile Racecourse section of the Rio Grande offers exciting rapids up to class 3, and is a half-day trip making it an easy addition to a day with other New Mexico adventures planned! The Rio also offers a relaxing day floating down the class 2 Orillia Verde, a 6-mile section filled with wildlife and beautiful views. If it’s too hard to pick one section, consider an overnight trip! The overnight trip includes all three sections mentioned above, as well as a chance to camp out under the beautiful New Mexico sky. The Rio truly is one of the best New Mexico adventures a person could experience!
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
If taking a step back into an ancient world surrounded by beautiful views and breathtaking sunsets sounds good to you, a trip to Chaco canyon may be the adventure you’re looking for! Located in the northwestern part of New Mexico, the park is filled with the largest amount of ancient ruins in the United States. Walk among the rubble of the ancient great houses, enjoy learning about the deep and beautiful culture of the ancient Chacoan people.
There are beautiful campsites within the park surrounded by petroglyphs and ancient rubble that can be seen sitting in a chair at your own campsite! Chaco canyon is also a dark sky park, offering some of the clearest views of the night sky unpolluted by artificial lights. Chaco culture national historic park is truly a must for anyone looking to experience the beauty and deep history this state has to offer.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park offers views unlike almost anywhere on earth. Go visit the world’s largest gypsum dune field, located in the southern portion of the state, and experience the otherworldly scenery. Hike through the dune field to find astonishing views of the magnificent park.
White Sands offers not only gorgeous views, but also incredibly fascinating geological information, truly making it a unique and mind-blowing experience. Getting the opportunity to explore White Sands National Park is absolutely something you will remember for years to come.
If you are looking for one of the best hikes New Mexico has to offer, then look no further than Wheeler Peak. The peak sits at 13,167 feet, making it the tallest point in all of New Mexico. The most popular hike to the peak is accessible through the stunning Taos Ski Valley. This hike will take you near the beautiful William’s Lake, before turning upward to bring you to the summit.
The summit provides a breath taking view of the surrounding land, as well as a rewarding sense of accomplishment after the challenging but extremely rewarding hike. We would encourage anyone looking for a beautiful hike in New Mexico to consider this absolute gem of a trail.
The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area (or just called the “Bisti Badlands”) will make you wonder if you’ve been transported to another planet. The 45,000-acre wilderness area, located in western New Mexico, provides abundant opportunities for exploration. The area was once an ancient sea but is now a desert wasteland filled with alien-looking rocks and canyons.
The allure of the land lies in its strange and absolutely mystifying beauty; around every turn is something that looks like it could have been the set of a science fiction movie. Bisti being a wilderness area also offers more opportunities for adventure off “the beaten path” than one would find at a national park or monument. Go hike around this alien landscape and see what amazing things you can find, you won’t be disappointed.
We hope this list has made the planning of your New Mexico adventures a little bit easier. This state has a multitude of experiences to offer just as long as you’re willing to go out and find them. It truly lives up to the name “Land of Enchantment”. Happy Adventuring!