What is a trip to New Mexico without a drive between Albuquerque and Santa Fe? Of course, you can take Interstate 25 North and get there in, oh, a little over an hour.
But, why would you do that when you can take the famed Turquoise Trail which takes you over the mountains, through the Cibola forest, and through a collection of sweet old mining towns. It is a National Scenic Byway, so, conveniently enough you can follow signs along the way.
Let me tell you about the practical details that you’ll need to know first and then the fun stuff second.
First, why don’t you take a look at this map of the trail. It gives a great overview of what you have to look forward to as you head from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Head east on I-40 from Albuquerque. Get off at exit 170 which is for Route 333. You can try out the famous Singing Road in Tijeras! And start heading north on Route 14.
The entire route is just shy of 70 miles if you include a fun little side trek to the top of Sandia Mountain. Which you should do. Of course you should. A view of Albuquerque from 10,000 feet? Yes, please.
You can make as few or as many stops as you’d like. But, why not plan for at least 3 or so hours to make your way, assuming you stop and see some of the fun stuff along the way and make stops to enjoy the view. Ok? Ok.
Now. To the fun stuff. You took my advice and downloaded the map, right? Thanks, darling. As you see, there are 62 official stops along the trail. You are not going to make all of those stops. Some, like the Cerrillos Community Church, aren’t your cup of tea. Some, like the two realtors, are irrelevant. Some, like the plumber, are weird to have on a tourist map. And some, like the many hotels and Bed and Breakfasts, don’t apply to YOU, sweetums, because you aren’t going to stay on the trail. So, all that to say, don’t be intimidated by this list. And just listen to my advice…
Focus in on the following:
#1. The Church: An art incubator in an old church
#3. The Pueblo tour. I love archaeology and cultural tours. But, if you’ve gotten to Acoma, Taos, or Zuni, you will have a good sense of what you’d see. If you haven’t been to those, make a stop. Learn something!
In Sandia Park:
#17. Sandia Peak Tramway. It won’t take long at all and you’ll get to enjoy glorious views from the peak. Feel free to skip this if it is cloudy, raining, snowing, or overcast on the day of your visit, you won’t get those killer views you came for.
Definitely park and take a walk along the main street in Madrid. Oh, and first things first, it is MAD-rid. Not MA-drid. Not like the city in Spain. I just saved you from some embarrassment. You are welcome. Madrid is a former ghost town that has been revived through the efforts of many local artists. What isn’t listed on your overview is a stop at Connie’s Photo Park. It is filled with fun, old-timey paintings that Connie painted herself where you stick your head through the opening for the perfect photo op.
Other than those must-sees, let your interest guide you! There is a lot to see and a lot to catch you eye. Let New Mexico enchant you!