Travel from Colorado to New Mexico

New Mexico is an eclectic destination offering easy, affordable travel from Colorado

Clouds Over New Mexico

A short trip south from Colorado to New Mexico offers travelers the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural landscape of one of the most unique states in the country. It’s a sparsely-populated, mostly rural state whose residents range from heavily-tattooed Latino rockabillies, aged cowboys, yuppie outdoor enthusiasts, enlightenment-seeking spiritualists and even the occasional celebrity. It’s a place of blockbuster films, award-winning television, blindingly spicy food, and tangible human and natural history.

While there are thousands of guides covering the “must-sees,” here are some oft-omitted experiences that every Nuevo Mexicano holds dear:

Gila Wilderness / Silver City Region

New Mexico Roadway

Traveling from Colorado to New Mexico into the Gila Wilderness is like crossing into an alternate reality. Lush grassland spotted with tall cacti makes for an unusually green desert landscape. Lazy rivers wind through gentle hills where Billy the Kid and Geronimo lived in hiding. In the middle of it all is Silver City, a town shared by motorcycle gangs, artists, writers, vacationing politicians and indigenous descendants. The tiny city’s food scene even earned a recent spread in the New York Times.

Cheap Eats

Hanging Red Chiles

The outstanding Santa Fe food scene is packed with award-winning dining options. But if you want to chow down on the cheap, try local standbys like Blakes Lotaburger or one of the many traditional New Mexican restaurants. The question is always, “red or green?” Try both and answer, “Christmas. ”

Snow sports

Skis Above Snow

Colorado takes the cake over any state in snow sports but NM makes a case in accessibility and affordability. You won’t fight lines on the roads or at the lifts in New Mexico. Plus, Taos boasts some of the steepest, most technical runs in the Rockies. Point your tips down West Basin’s chutes and say a prayer.

White Sands National Monument

White Sands

Travel to White Sands and you’ll feel like Luke Skywalker on the surface of Tatooine. Deep ivory dunes of gypsum crystal shimmer in the sun and glow by moonlight between distant mountain ranges. Spend the night and awake to a Bedouin sunrise.

Breweries

Santa Fe Brewing Company

The brewery scene in New Mexico is thriving just under the radar. La Cumbre Brewing in Albuquerque took the gold medal in the coveted IPA category at the 2011 Great American Beer Fest. Nondescript taprooms offer large patios to soak up the 300+ days of desert sunshine – rent a bike and cruise to Marble, where you can bring your dog and listen to local music.

‘Burque

Hot Air Balloons

Santa Fe and Taos get all the attention, but travel to Albuquerque (locals call it “’Burque”) for contrast. While best known for the outstanding Balloon Fiesta, it also boasts film studios behind blockbusters like The Avengers and it’s not uncommon to see the film’s stars hanging around. Breaking Bad fans can take the location tour to visit Walter White’s haunts.

Colorado: if you’re looking to get away, New Mexico has you covered.