Sights and activities for a two week trip to New Mexico for a budget traveller bumming a free ride.
June 14, 2008 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Last minute trip down to New Mexico came out of no where but I'm leaving tomorrow with a backpack and wanted to know what one could do for a couple weeks. I don't even have enough time to grab a guidebook and my only plans so far are to read The Border Trilogy. The ride is stopping overnight somewhere Utah then finally in Taos. I've got little money to spend regardless, what should I see and do here? I'm looking for a relaxed, unique, authentic Southwest American experience.
posted by ageispolis to Travel & Transportation around New Mexico (4 answers total)
Rent a bike in Taos, have a nice soak on the Rio Grande, .
posted by hortense at 9:38 PM on June 14, 2008

Best answer: If you have the ability to travel away from Taos, the Chaco Culture National Historic Park is very cool. Chaco Canyon was an important Anasazi (ancient Native American) cultural center from about 900 through 1130 AD. About 30 ancient masonry buildings, containing hundreds of rooms each, attest to Chaco's importance. Some of the structures are thought to serve as astronomical observatories or even calendars. Archaeologists discovered jewelry made from Mexican and Californian materials in ancient trash heaps. Large well-constructed roadways thought to be built for pilgrims or traders, lead from sites 50 miles away to the center of Chaco Canyon.

There's nothing else around Chaco Canyon, so you need to get there and back on the same day, but it is well worth the effort. I was mesmerized by the ancient ruins, kivas, and stone calendars when I had the privilege of visiting.
posted by netbros at 9:48 PM on June 14, 2008

Best answer: Chaco is a wonderful place to visit but many people plan their trip around the summer solstice (June 21) which is a very interesting time to go but probably more crowded. Also it is hot as hades out there so bring protection and water.

El Santuario de Chimayo is an interesting place as well. It has been a place of healing for a long time and so there are a ton of ex-voto offerings and it generally has a great vibe.

Bandelier National Monument has wonderful hiking and White Sands (although fairly far south) is a truly amazing place. The desert is gypsum and so it is white and soft and even on the hottest days you can run around there since the gypsum doesn't get hot. It is particularly amazing during the full moon when the desert becomes illuminated by moonlight and feels like another planet.

You can go to hot springs in Ojo Caliente for a soak and to see a place where the sixties never ended. Anywhere you go this time of year will be hot and dry and so plan ahead.
posted by KTrujillo at 2:01 AM on June 15, 2008

When we went to New Mexico we did little day hikes in the national parks, which there are a lot of near Taos. You need transportation to get to them, but they are absolutely *gorgeous*, free, and cooler than the town as they're high up. Provided us with lovely and authentic memories for a long time. -wistful sigh-
posted by GardenGal at 7:31 PM on June 15, 2008

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