New Mexico, aptly called The Land of Enchantment, is full of unexpected wonders, unusual attractions, sometimes road runners, and absolute beauty.
Here are a few places within driving distance from & around Santa Fe to take your mind on a vacation. Cosmic mystery awaits.
Start off with a cup of Maelstrom of Axolotls (maybe look up the pronunciation first), which is basically the fountain of youth in an iced drink form, from CrashMurderBusiness on your way to downtown Santa Fe. Then grab some pastries from Sage Bakehouse – we can’t decide between the cinnamon melt, the pecan-raisin wreath, or the PBJ muffin – to take to De Vargas Park.
Just outside Santa Fe, along Hyde Park Road/NM Route 475, there’s an unusual rock formation, known as shatter cones, produced under extreme heat and pressure caused by meteor impact. The rocks look like they are melting down from the top, forming unique cone or fan shapes in a variation of sizes. You can see them from the side of the road on the northside of the highway just past the Chamisa Trailhead.
Reverse the sensory overload of everyday life and enter a euphoric, dreamlike state. Allow your muscles and mind to rest and recover while laying in a body-temperature saltwater tank at Grey Matter Float. You may feel more focused & creative after a float session and will likely have a really peaceful sleep that night.
Take a tram up 4,000 feet to look out over the city of Albuquerque and across deep canyons from the 10,378-foot crest of Sandia Peak. If you want the breathtaking (that elevation gain is real) scenery with a little exercise, you can hike up to the peak for 11,000 square miles of panoramic views.
Looking for something less busy? Try out some other hikes in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness.
The United World College houses the Dwan Light Sanctuary, a room built with prisms perfectly positioned to turn sunlight into rainbows, giving visitors a space to admire, relax, reflect, and meditate. The Sanctuary is located within the United World College campus so you’ll need to stop at the Welcome Center for directions and an access key.
Local Tip: Montezuma Hot Springs (free!!) are also located on the campus, with geothermal pools ranging from 95-120F degrees. Bathing suits are required.
Built for anyone who values experiences over possessions and adventures of all types, the House of Eternal Return was once home to the Selig family, who fractured time and space through experiments with interdimensional travel. Explore, touch, dig into deeper meanings if you’d like – portals to all kinds of adventures await.
American sculptor Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field is an opportunity for mere humans to truly live within nature’s art. It starts out with a bus ride from Quemado to the “undisclosed destination” to spend the night in one cabin (fits up to 6 people) surrounded by 400 stainless steel poles. The poles attract and disperse lightning, creating a man-made grid system and a closer connection to the earth’s magnificent wonder.
There are endless opportunities to explore New Mexico’s culture & cuisine, architecture & art, but when you need to escape everything to let your mind reset, you know where to go.
The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa is an absolute oasis in the desert – a simple, pure blue 80-foot-deep hole filled from an underwater aquifer in an extra dry part of the country. The water stays around 16 °C (61 °F) all year because it’s actually one of seven sinkhole lakes connected by underground water channels.
Echo Amphitheater in the Carson National Forest is a natural sonic phenomenon disguised as a simple roadside stop near Ghost Ranch (home to Georgia O’Keeffe). Shout until your lungs feel like they’re on fire, let those endorphins flow, and maybe hear a sad ghost crying back.