Albuquerque Off The Beaten Path Tips by kymbanm Top 5 Page for this destination
Albuquerque Off The Beaten Path: 71 reviews and 109 photos
Along the creek ...
Chimayo is a small town in Northern New Mexico. The first settlers came here after the Pueblo Revolt (1680-1692) for the fertile farmland. About a hundred years later, (~1810) a local friar was performing penance, and saw a light coming from the hillside. At the sight of the light, he dug a short way down and found a crucifix. Later named, Our Lord of Esquipulas, this crucifix was taken by a priest to another area. Three times the crucifix turned up missing. Three times the crucifix was found back in it's hole in Chimayo. By now, it was determined that El Senor Esquipulas didn't want to leave Chimayo, and a small chapel was built around his favorite spot. He was placed on the altar
Miracle healings began to occur in Chimayo, and pilgrims began to arrive in droves. Over time, the crucifix and it's healing power became overshadowed by the dirt in El Posito, the sacred sand pit.
Known as the Lourdes of North America pilgrims come from all over - especially at Easter. The Easter pilgrims arrive by foot ... walking from Taos (40 miles), Santa Fe (24 miles) and other part of of the region. The walk itself is seen as a devotion to El Senor Esquipulas .. in anticipation, or in gratitude for previous miracles.
Of course, the local native tribes and pueblos have stories of healing from this area that predate the European settlers. The water from stream and the sacred soil are still important to aboriginal healing in the region.
Chimayo estimates 300,000 visitors a year ..... 30,000 of them for Easter alone. It's a bit of a zoo then, but a worthy journey. It shouldn't surprise anyone who's visited New Mexico that where France has Lourdes and water .... New Mexico has Chimayo and dirt :) We are known for our dust afterall!
Head north on I-25 towards SantaFe, take 599 (Veteran's Memorial Parkway) towards Espanola. Once in Espanola, take 76 about 5 miles to Chimayo and follow the signs to the Santuario
Windows of history...
The people of Salinas Pueblo Missions left the area over 300 years ago. They where believed to be decendents of the Anasazi and the Mogollon .... native ancestors known to be in the region over 7000 years ago.
These pueblos were agricultural centers and became large cities of stone with large plazas which contained spiritual places of worship and ceremony known as Kivas. Hundred of apartment-like rooms contained the inhabitants of each pueblo.
Early exploration of the New Mexico region ocured during the 1500's. By the 1600's, the riches of New Mexico were considered largely legend. The nearby salt field was considered a great find - but this was not enough to maintain the presence of the Spanish military in the region. Pope Phillip II had charged the Spanish crown with Christianizing the New World natives ... so regional missions were built and maintained at the cost of the government of Spain.
I love wandering ruins, and these have quickly become one of my favorites! What do I like about them ??... the surroundings, architecture, and spiritual feeling of these pueblos. I am a person who loves to wander about, and this is a wonderful, historical, yet natural series of places to do just that ..... wander about :) BTW-This is a day's trip to/from ABQ I take NM337 down, and US60 out ... so It's like a strange circle.
Driving directions from NPS website: To travel the historic highway route from the north, take I-40 east from Albuquerque to NM 337, drive south 54 miles to Mountainair. Information on the Quarai, Abo, and Gran Quivira ruins, as well as the surrounding area, are provided by National Park Service rangers at all three ruins and park headquarters.
Abo: Ruins are 9 miles west on US 60 and one-half mile north on NM 513. Telephone: (505) 847-2400.
Gran Quivira: Ruins are 26 miles south on NM 55. Telephone: (505) 847-2770.
Quarai: Ruins are 8 miles north on NM 55 and 1 mile west. Telephone: (505) 847-2290.
Other Contact: Mountainair, New Mexico
Jemez river during the thaw ....
I love taking day trips from Albuquerque to the Jemez (pronounced 'Hay-mez' by locals).
Between Santa Fe and Albuquerque is an area called the Jemez Mountains. This place has natural hot springs what EVERYONE dunks into 'au naturale'. Of course, that's not legal ... so if you're caught, you get a ticket and fine ... but that doesn't seem to stop anyone! Well, unless you scope out the 'clothing optional' springs ahead of time that is!!!
While wandering the Jemez, you can stop at roadside native american shops, pull off and wander trails, and stop in the town of Jemez Springs.
The bar, Los Ojos, has a great reputation and is visited by locals, day trippers, and travelers in general. I like to play pool while waiting for my food to arrive :)
One set of ruins in the area is known as Bandalier National Monument. You can climb ladders to enter the areas early Native Americans used to call home. There are many rock formations w/ nooks and crannies, as well as wonderful vistas. Because of fire risks, smoking is discouraged, and open fires are prohibited, but camping is encouraged.
Even if you aren't a walker or wanderer, you can see so much just from your car. I take Hwy 4 from Hwy 528 and decide on my route from there. Every few miles are signs to help guide you. North of the area is Santa Fe, south is Albuquerque - so just follw the signs for the city you are heading towards and you'll be fine.
Our BIG surprise :)
This was an unexpected and wonderful day tour! When we were unable to fly our balloon this morning due to wind .... my car buddy and I decided to explore the area near our current launch site. We wandered dirt roads, marveled at quail, jack rabbits the size of my labrador at home, cotton tails, coyote and more .... we found Pinon at a lower elevation than we'd ever seen before ...... as we drove we were amazed at the life in the desert. The rare homestead was passed ...... at the end of the road was the real treat: a view unlike any I'd seen before ........
To find our route, take Southern or Northern out of Rio Rancho westbound. Turn right/north on Rainbow Blvd. Take it miles and miles down the dirt track. Once you get to the trees, slow a bit. Once it gets sandy, get ready for the view :)
To return, you can come straight back down Rainbow, or do as we did and take other dirt roads. The road that finally met up w/ pavement again has an unknown name to me.
As you are returning southbound, and after you pass the relic that used to be a car at the side of the road, look for a dirt road on your left w/ a stop sign. Take that along the power lines until you get to pavement. You're then on Unser. If you go north until it ends, you'll be at Northwest Corridor. Take a right turn, and when that ends, you'll be on 44/550 between San Ysidro and Bernalillo.
Enjoy this adventure :)
Adobe wall in Madrid
Taking Hwy14 north through the mountains located just east of Albuquerque is a wonderful way to actually experience New Mexico living. You can cut over from I-40 or across the mountain from Placitas off of I-25 if the weather permits.
I usually take I-40 to Cedar Crest and up into Madrid. I can spend a ton of time in Madrid :) Okay can I tell you here I like Madrid MORE than Santa Fe when it comes to art?
Though my pages don't yet reflect it, I do love Santa Fe for it's history ...... :)
This route does take longer than simply taking the interstate, but wandering this highway really allows you to FEEL northern New Mexico, not just pass through. So take the time to drive the Turquoise Trail while you are in the area ..... you won't regret taking the extra time.
Yucca in bloom ...
My best friend and I left ABQ about noon, and were driving to El Paso to meet her family.
We drove south on I-25 for a while :) We took an hour's detour (okay, closer to 2 hours) and wandered over to White Sands for a quick visit. We then returned to our I-25 southbound route, and made it to El Paso, ate dinner in Juarez and soaked in the hotel hot tub back on the US side of the border.
In the morning we got up and wandered our way back into New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns (US 182 north). We drove back to ABQ after our tour of the caves (US 285 to I-40), and despite a few stops for gas, food, and wandering/leg stretching, - and even a trip into my favorite gift shop - we made it back home about 2300..
Though short, we saw all we wanted to see, but it would have been nicer to have just a little more time to enjoy each location.
The current itinerary for this tour is to take I40 west. ~45 minutes from albuquerque is Acoma Sky city - bypass the casino there and go to the old pueblo.
After that, continue down I40 to Milan. From there head south on Hwy 53. On this route you can visit El Mapais Nat'l Park, Ice cave/Bandera volcano, El Morro old school gallery, El Morro Nat'l Monument, Candy Kitchen Wolf Rescue, Ramah Lake, Ramah Museum, Los Gigantes, and then Zuni Pueblo.
After leaving the pueblo, take 602 north into Gallup to spend the night. The next day you can wander back the way you came to better explore the sights, or wander back towards ABQ on the next leg of the weekend tour ...
Other Contact: pics to follow after trip ;)
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