The Enchanted Land Trip

7 Days in New Mexico

Unlike most of my trips, this one doesn't begin and end in the same place. In order to save time closing the loop, I flew into El Paso, Texas, and departed from Albuquerque, New Mexico. You could choose to arrive and depart from the same city, since Albuquerque and El Paso are only about 5 hours apart, via Interstate 25.

From El Paso, the route heads east through the mostly empty western panhandle of Texas, passing the little known Guadalupe Mountains National Park before entering into New Mexico. From there, you'll pass Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the town of Carlsbad. Then, continue north to Artesia, and hang a left at US 82, taking you into the mountains surrounding Cloudcroft, and eventually to Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument. From there, travel west to the mountain town of Silver City, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, and the almost completely untouched Gila Wilderness. View the Very Large Array of satellite dishes near Magdalena, and the Trinity Site near Socorro, then view more Native American ruins at Gran Quivira. See the sun setting against the Sandia mountains, take in Albuquerque, the state capitol of Santa Fe, and the High Road to Taos.

Day 1

Driving through West Texas

Day 2

Carlsbad Caverns and southeastern New Mexico

Day 3

Exploring White Sands and elsewhere in Southern New Mexico

Day 4

Indian Ruins and a Treacherous Hike

Day 5

A healthy dose of radiation

Day 6

To Santa Fe and Taos

Day 7

Santa Fe and Albuquerque