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.
Start: El Paso
Bordering Food and Fun in El Paso, Texas
El Paso offers outdoor adventures and a fascinating glimpse of life here hundreds of years before Texas became a state.
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.
Swim and Spelunk near Carlsbad, N.M.
See world-class caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and dip in a natural swimming hole under a waterfall.
White Sands National Monument
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.
Go Nuts in Alamogordo
Just minutes from White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, N.M., has some must-see attractions.
7 Hot Spots in Las Cruces, N.M.
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.
Sante Fe or Albuquerque?
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.
6 Stops in 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.
Star Treks at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff
This observatory helped create maps of the moon and is home to the telescope that helped an observatory assistant discover Pluto. Read more.
One Giant Leap
Fifty years ago, Americans landed on the moon. Few know the important role the Grand Canyon area helped achieve this seemingly impossible goal.
Fly Through the Trees at Flagstaff Extreme
The adventure course is Arizona's only tree-top self-guided obstacle course with five adult courses and one kids course ranging from easy to challenging.
Grand Canyon South Rim
Four best-kept secrets to experiencing the Grand Canyon and finding a parking space, a pool and nightlife.
National Geographic Visitor Center and IMAX
Soar past towering cliffs and raft through huge rapids when you watch the IMAX movie Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.
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.
GyPSy Guide South Rim Driving Tour App
Feel like you're touring with a local in your car. The Gypsy Guide app uses your phone or tablet’s location to play commentary about attractions as you drive. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/
Leave Your Car When You Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep in a forest of ponderosa pine trees near Grand Canyon's South
Rim. The Yavapai Lodge's restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.