Exploring new places in New Mexico

New Mexico has more than earned its nickname as the “Land of Enchantment.” This diverse state is a melting pot of culture, history and stunning landscapes.

Whether you’re a hiker, skier, mountain climber, explorer or tourist, there’s something for everyone in New Mexico! Explore sweeping desert landscapes, vibrant cities and lively marketplaces in this beautiful state.

1. Blue Hole

If you’re looking for a great way to cool off in the desert heat, there is no better place than Blue Hole. This one-of-a-kind waterhole naturally replenishes with 3,000 gallons of fresh water per minute.

The Blue Hole is one of the most popular diving destinations in the US and draws scuba divers from around the globe. It is a circular bell-shaped pool or small lake that is located east of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

It has an exceptional water clarity and is a one-of-a-kind swimming venue. It is also a top diving destination for open water and advanced certification courses. The constant water flow averaging 3,000 gallons per minute means the water is always clear and you can often see the bottom from the surface.

2. Four Corners Monument

One of the most unique tourist destinations in New Mexico is Four Corners Monument. A popular photo spot, this location is where the borders of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico come together.

The monument is located along Route 160, about 6 miles north of Teec Nos Pos in Navajo County. It’s an easy stop on a day trip to Monument Valley, Arches or Canyonlands national parks and makes for an excellent side trip from Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Once a simple cement pad, the site has been renovated several times since 1912. It now features a granite disk with two intersecting lines through it marking the boundaries of each state.

3. Sandia Park TinkerTown

When it comes to a fun and quirky place to visit, Sandia Park TinkerTown can’t be beat. Built in 1983 by New Mexico folk artist Ross Ward, it boasts one of the most impressive collections of carved miniature Western town scenes ever to grace the state.

The museum itself is a 22-room wonder, packed with Ross’s art and eccentric collections of American ephemera: wedding cake couples, wagon wheels, mining and farm relics, and old license plates. Its centerpiece is a curiosity crafted out of 50,000 glass bottles – a true labor of love.

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4. Chaco Culture National Historical Park

The ruins of Chaco Canyon, now a National Historical Park, preserve the most outstanding concentration of ancestral Puebloan sites north of Mexico. The region between 850 and 1250 was a center of political, economic and ceremonial activities for thousands of people.

The buildings, roads and kivas of Chaco testify to the extraordinary organizational and engineering abilities of ancestral Puebloan peoples. Using pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, and landscaping, the ancient people of Chaco built cities that still amaze visitors a thousand years later.

While the ruins themselves are the star of this park, it is also important to consider the greater Chacoan landscape that stretches beyond this center. Today, this vast cultural area is threatened by oil drilling and fracking that has scarred the land with tens of thousands of wells and roads that cut through the archaeological treasures of Chaco Canyon.

5. Las Vegas

If you’re looking for a Wild West town that feels like it’s taken you back in time, head to Las Vegas. It’s one of New Mexico’s lesser-known tourist destinations and it’s packed with plenty of history.

The town was a stop on the Santa Fe Trail in the 19th century and became an important part of the New Mexico railroad boom. Today, it’s home to many historic buildings including a Carnegie Library, the City Museum and Rough Rider Memorial on Grand Avenue and several picturesque historical districts.

A number of western films were filmed in Las Vegas, including Easy Rider and Red Dawn. Located only 70 miles east of Santa Fe, the town has a lot to offer those who are interested in exploring new places.