New Mexico is a land of beauty and wonder. Home to two parks, two national historic parks, one national heritage area, and eleven national monuments, New Mexico’s natural beauty is well-protected and easily accessible to the public. With so many different spectacles spread across the entire state, it can be quite hard to make time to visit all of them. To make sure visitors see the best of New Mexico’s natural beauty, here are the top five New Mexico monuments and parks.
The Best New Mexico Monuments and National Parks
Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument
The Rio Grande Del Norte national monument is a 242,555 acre monument located just west of Taos, New Mexico. Sitting at 7,000 feet above sea level, this monument embodies the dry, high desert climate of the area. Featuring the exotic Rio Grande that cuts an 800-foot gorge through the landscape that provides protected habitat for bighorn sheep, this monument also provides visitors with a wealth of beauty and recreation, featuring activities from camping to Rio Grande rafting.
El Morro National Monument
This national monument is a small sandstone bluff in western New Mexico. While the bluff itself certainly holds a plethora of natural beauty, this monument is more about the reliable watering hole at the base of the bluff. In the days of western expansion, this watering hole made El Morro a popular campsite for everyone from American explorers, to Spanish travelers, and ancestral Puebloans alike. Over time these visitors carved more than 2,000 signatures, dates, and petroglyphs over the surrounding area, gifting El Morro with a cultural and historic significance that makes it one of the most special New Mexico monuments.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park, located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a stunning landscape of rolling sand dunes. However, the sand is as white as flour. Windswept gypsum deposits in the area slowly eroded under the windy environment, creating the stark white sand dunes that can be seen from miles into the air. Visitors can walk anywhere on the dunes, and even take a sled down some of the steeper ones. White Sands is a testament to the power of the wind and is a must-see if one visits New Mexico.
Four Corners National Park
Four Corners national monument is located on the intersection of four state lines: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. This area is commonly known as the Colorado plateau, and offers a unique perspective on the high desert environment. It is also the only place in the United States where one can stand in four different states at once, making it quite a popular visit for tourists. The Monument is also located on Navajo tribal lands, meaning that it is administered by the native government and not the National Park Service.
Chama Canyon Wilderness
The Chama Canyon Wilderness is a federally designated Wilderness area north of Espanola, New Mexico. In the summer and autumn, El Vado dam increases water flow through the canyon, allowing visitors to partake in all kinds of river activities, from boating to fishing. The unmatched solitude and beauty of the Canyon allows visitors to separate from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take in nature’s beauty untouched by humanity. With sights like the Chama Wall and Christ in the Desert monastery accompanying the adventure, the Chama Canyon is well worth the trip for anyone visiting New Mexico. You absolutely don’t want to miss Rio Chama rafting too!
The land of enchantment has many sights for visitors to see, so be sure to not miss these spectacular parks and New Mexico monuments while you visit! After checking out the parks, book an adventure with New Mexico’s top-rated outfitter! New Mexico River Adventures offers Whitewater Raft Trips, New Mexico Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Horseback Riding, and more all over New Mexico. Check it out and book your next adventure today!