1. Pecos River
A quick day trip up north from Albuquerque takes you to one of New Mexico’s most beautiful spots for fishing, hiking, camping and endless scenic views. The Pecos River is just about an hour and a half drive from Albuquerque.
The Pecos has hiking spots, fishing spots, and places for picnics all alongside Highway 63. As an added bonus, the drive over is one of the more beautiful drives in the state. As you ride alongside the river, you become immersed in wildlife, cool temperatures and some of the natural beauty New Mexico has to offer.
2. Sandia Crest
Standing 10,678 feet above the City of Albuquerque, the Sandia Mountains are one of the most identifiable landmarks in New Mexico to both locals and out-of-state residents. The trip from Albuquerque to the Sandia Crest is only about a forty-five minute to an hour drive.
The crest is host to beautiful views as well as hiking and biking trails suited for all experience levels. The numerous trails on all sides of the mountain provide their own unique experience with different scenery to be seen each time.
The crest is host to a restaurant on top of the mountain as well as a gift shop. It is also the premier attraction for skiing and snowboarding south of Sante Fe. Visitors with children are also welcome to enjoy the mountain snow, as there are plenty of family-friendly areas for tubing and building snowmen, as well as lookouts to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.
The crest can be accessed by car, tram or even by foot. For those looking for an adventure, there are numerous spots across the mountain where hikers and climbers can scale to the top of the crest.
Abiquiu and the surrounding area in northern New Mexico has provided visitors and residents with some of the most beautiful views, colors and points of interest the Southwest has to offer. Famous painter and “mother of American modernism” Georgia O’Keeffe visited Abiquiu in 1929 and was so inspired by the landscape that she eventually moved there full time. She later went on to use Abiquiu and the surrounding area as a source of inspiration in her works.
“When I got to New Mexico, that was mine. As soon as I saw it, that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It is something that’s in the air — it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different,” O’Keeffe said. The town has some of O’Keeffe’s original paintings, and hosts tours of the O’Keeffe home, which now serves as a museum. In it, visitors can see some of the unique scenery which inspired many works of art.
Abiquiu has a lake which is open for fishing, swimming and boating, as well as numerous hiking trails to explore. The town is a two-hour drive from Albuquerque, and about a forty-five minute drive from Santa Fe.
4. Galisteo Pueblo
A truly hidden gem is the village of Galisteo, founded about the same time as Santa Fe around 1612.
Before Spaniards came to Galisteo Basin, it was home to about a dozen tribes and thousands of Native Americans, according to the Galisteo Basin Preserve website. The church Iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (The Church of Our Lady of the Remedies) was originally reconstructed in 1884 and its history dates long before the Europeans, as it was occupied by multiple pueblo peoples as far back as 7,500 to 6,000 B.C. The location has also been a hotspot for many western movies, including “Young Guns,” “Crazy Heart” and “There Will Be Blood.”
A day could be spent visiting the surrounding Pueblo ruins, petroglyphs and taking a beautiful drive behind the Sandia mountains.
Galisteo is an hour drive up I-40 from Albuquerque to Highway 41 and a quick forty minute drive from Santa Fe.
5. Rio Grande Valley State Park (The bosque)
Located right in the heart of Albuquerque, Rio Grande Valley State Park, better known as the bosque, is a gem hidden in plain sight.
The bosque stretches from Sandia Pueblo all the way to Isleta Pueblo. Its open space areas, trails and river access establishes the bosque as one of Albuquerque’s premiere destinations.
Geese, ducks, beavers and other creatures call the bosque home, making wildlife viewing one of the favorite hobbies among river goers.
Numerous trails have been carved out across the bosque that are great for biking, running or walking your dog, as the trees provide shade and keep you cool in the midday heat.
River access allows for folks to swim and play during the warmer seasons, and with the bosque being so expansive, there is always plenty of room for all.