Jemez Mountain Trail: Cuba, New Mexico


In late August, I found myself in Albuquerque with a day to spend, and I wanted to hit the roads and see some scenery. So, I devised a loop route, which was just about the right length (perhaps just a tiny bit too long) for a one-day road trip. I decided to head north from Albuquerque via I-25 and US-550 to Cuba, then east through the Jemez Mountains via NM-126 and 4, then south to Santa Fe on US-285, and back to Albuquerque on I-25. The entire route is about 250 miles.

The first leg of the trip, Albuquerque to Cuba, is a pretty drive, as you’ll see in the Drivelapse video:

As you’ll notice, the scenery is typical desert until you get onto US 550, beyond the business sprawl of Bernalillo.

Even then, it’s the kind of scenery that’s beautiful to drive by, but it’s tough to select one specific spot for a photo.  I stopped at the edge of the road for a shot of this butte, then kept driving on to…

Cuba, New Mexico

There isn’t a lot to see in Cuba, but since it’s the biggest place around, I wanted to explore a little before heading on.  The Cuban Cafe appears to be a good choice for a meal.

In addition to its painted sign, there’s also a nice, funky old neon sign out front.  It’s one of several signs that caught my eye while driving through Cuba…

… along with the Del Prado Motel…

… and the Frontier Motel.

The stretch of US 550 from San Ysidro to Cuba is part of the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway. The Byway loop continues on NM-126, and then NM-4 back to San Ysidro. NM-4 eastbound to White Rock is also included in the byway. On the next page, we’ll cover NM-126, which heads into the Nacimiento and Jemez Mountains.

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