New Mexico to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Stunning landscapes, culture and adobe villages await on this 1,789-mile adventure.
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Hiker in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

Hiker in White Sands National Monument

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Land of Enchantment

If you follow a lonely road through the rolling hills of northern New Mexico, you’ll catch sight of the Pedernal. Stretching 9,862 feet into the blue sky, it’s the mountain that captured artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s attention, repeatedly making cameos in her paintings.

“It’s my private mountain,” O’Keeffe said. “God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it.”

Her words provide a window into the New Mexican ethos where people share a deep relationship with the earth—a connection some call sacred—that stretches back more than 1,000 years. At Acoma, one of the nation’s oldest continuously occupied settlements, you’ll find a sun-baked Native American adobe village built 1,000 years ago. In El Sanctuario de Chimayo church, people have collected dirt believed to have healing powers for more than 200 years.

In Santa Fe, soft adobe buildings and homes climb hillsides and line streets like spectators at a parade. In Las Cruces, green chiles harvested nearby transform classic dishes into sensory experiences.

To the east, the earth turns blinding white as it sprawls across 275 square miles to form White Sands National Monument. Next to this stark beauty lies White Sands Missile Range where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Herein lies the magic of New Mexico—for every breathtaking turn in the road, there’s a story. It’s your turn to uncover them in this intriguing land.

Map

Start: El Paso, Texas

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site near El Paso, Texas

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

Border Secrets
While most people tend to associate El Paso, Texas with the U.S.-Mexico border, there’s so much more to this flavorful city. From desert adventures to historic missions, here are our top four things to do.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Slaughter Canyon Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Slaughter Canyon Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Once part of a reef in an inland sea, Carlsbad Caverns has more than 119 limestone caves, including the Big Room, which is as large as six football fields. The Big Room Trail is the most popular ranger-guided tour in the caves. From the trail's Rock of Ages viewing area, enjoy views of famous cave formations such as the Hall of Giants, the Temple of the Sun, the Chandelier and Crystal Spring Dome.

Sitting Bull Falls near Carlsbad Caverns National Park in N.M.

Sitting Bull Falls

Go Below in Carlsbad
There's more to see beyond Carlsbad National Park. Dip in a natural swimming hole under a waterfall and paddle down the Pecos

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

The sparkling white sands of the world’s largest gypsum field are mesmerizing at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Hike or sled down them to experience them.

Astronaut at New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo

Astronaut at New Mexico Museum of Space History

Space Out in Alamogordo
Just minutes from White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, N.M., offers some must-see attractions.

Hikers in Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Hikers in Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Las Cruces Hot Spots
Once part of Mexico, the Las Cruces, N.M., area offers an incredibly rich culture woven together with strong strands of traditional Mexican influences. Here are the top seven things to do while visiting this university town

Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe

Albuquerque hot air balloons, Santa Fe sculpture

Albuquerque hot air balloons, Santa Fe sculpture

Albuquerque vs. Santa Fe Personality Quiz
Driving through New Mexico en route to the Grand Canyon, do you spend more time in Albuquerque or Santa Fe? Take this quiz to find out.

Tip for Traveling from N.M. to Arizona: Every year Texas and New Mexico go to daylight saving time, but Arizona does not. Remember this one-hour difference as you travel between the states.

Flagstaff, Arizona

The visitors path along ruins in Walnut Canyon National Monument

The visitors path along ruins in Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff

Phenomenal Flagstaff
Located two hours from six national monuments and Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff is a thriving university town with a charming historic downtown. Here are six things to do.

On the ropes at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

On the ropes

Play in the Trees at Flagstaff Extreme
Fly through the trees at Arizona’s only tree-top self-guided obstacle course with five adult courses and one kids course ranging from easy to challenging.

Clark Telescope Dome at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff

Clark Telescope Dome at Lowell Observatory

Starry Nights at Lowell Observatory
Visit a legendary landmark where Pluto was discovered and scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the universe. 

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

IMAX Theater at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center in Tusayan

IMAX Theater at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center in Tusayan

Stop at Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hidden secrets await in Tusayan.

Bring the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn't take up space. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/

48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.

Yavapai Lodge's Tavern Patio in the evening

Yavapai Lodge's Tavern Patio in the evening

A Grander Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep well and sustainably about a mile from the rim. The Yavapai Lodge's restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.

Tori Peglar's family hiking down the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon

Family hiking down the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon

Into the Deep
Read a family's story about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and discovering there's more than meets the eye.

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