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Archive for new mexico

Hoodoos at the Four Corners

By Linda Tancs

Weathered sandstone often forms otherworldly rock formations known as hoodoos that take the shape of pinnacles, spires and cap rocks. You’ll find plenty of examples of this at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (Bisti badlands), a 45,000-acre wilderness area in New Mexico. The badlands’ name is as unusual as its landscape. Taken from the Navajo language, “bisti” means “a large area of shale hills.” De-Na-Zin is taken from the Navajo words for “cranes.” Just south of Farmington, the area is one of the most extraordinary attractions in the Four Corners region, where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

An Upgrade for White Sands

By Linda Tancs

New Mexico’s sea of glistening white sands known as White Sands National Monument got an upgrade in December, when it was officially designated the nation’s newest national park. Now known as White Sands National Park, it’s the 62nd such park in the country. In the spirit of the season, go sledding. Unlike snow, the sand is not slippery; you can buy a sled in the gift shop.

A Landmark Ride in the West

By Linda Tancs

Sixty-four miles of Rocky Mountain splendor await you on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad running between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. A National Historic Landmark, the rails were originally constructed in 1880 as part of the Rio Grande’s narrow-gauge San Juan extension, which served the silver mining district of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Almost lost to history when the last freight train crossed the Cumbres Pass in 1968, the historic route was bought and preserved by both states. Unlike other legacy routes, it features original coal fired, steam operated, narrow gauge locomotives and 19th century passenger cars. Scenic highlights include the Rockies, Chama Valley, Toltec Gorge, Cumbres Pass (the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the U.S.) and alpine meadows lined with wildlflowers, along with an array of wildlife like elk, deer and bears. It takes under seven hours to traverse the entire 64-mile line from Antonito to Chama or vice versa. The regular season runs this year to October 20. Buy your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Apache Tears

By Linda Tancs

Thanks to its monument status granted in 2001, New Mexico’s Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a popular, otherworldly attraction featuring teepee-like rock formations arising from volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. You’ll find a three-mile trail used for hiking, walking, nature trips and birding, where sandy washes are littered with black obsidian (volcanic glass) known locally as Apache Tears. Forty miles west of Santa Fe, the area is signposted starting from exits 259 (NM 22) or 264 (NM 16) of interstate 25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Space in New Mexico

By Linda Tancs

The New Mexico Museum of Space History highlights events in the Tularosa Basin and greater New Mexico that advanced our exploration and knowledge of space. In fact, many major breakthroughs in technology occurred in the Alamogordo area, some calling it the cradle of America’s space program. The museum’s more celebrated objects include a very large moon rock and rare replicas of the first man-made satellites, Sputnik and Explorer.

An Ancient Pueblo in New Mexico

By Linda Tancs

The history of New Mexico’s southwest Indians is centuries old. Acoma Pueblo, in particular, is regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, dating to 1150 A.D. Their mesa-top settlement is built atop a sheer-walled, 367-foot sandstone bluff in a valley studded with sacred monoliths. It’s the only Native American site to be designated a Historic Site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. You can learn more about the tribe at The Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum. Open year-round, the cultural center offers exhibits, guided tours, sought-after Acoma pottery and Native American crafts for sale by local artisans.


A Feast for the Eyes in Santa Fe

By Linda Tancs

This weekend marks the 96th annual Santa Fe Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Begun in 1922, the market is the largest and most prestigious juried Native American arts show in the world. It attracts over 100,000 visitors from around the world who buy art directly from roughly 900 artists from over 200 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. and Canada. Items include pottery, sculpture, textiles, paintings, wooden carvings, bead work, baskets, drums and bows and arrows. The event is preceded by Indian Market Week, a series of events in Native film, literature, music, fashion and visual art.

A Gathering of Nations

By Linda Tancs

North America’s largest powwow is the Gathering of Nations event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The festival kicks off on April 27 with the Miss Indian World talent presentations, followed by two days of colorful Native American powwow dancing and singing. Over 2,500 indigenous dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from Canada and the United States come to the Gathering of Nations annually to participate socially and competitively. The family friendly event also includes an arts and crafts bazaar and musical entertainment across genres. The fun takes place at Tingley Coliseum/Expo.

A Nut in New Mexico

By Linda Tancs

Travelers along U.S. 54 between Alamogordo and Tularosa in New Mexico have an oddity to tickle their fancy. That’s where you’ll find the world’s largest pistachio. Appropriately enough, the giant-sized attraction is located at PistachioLand, a family farm featuring every take on the nut imaginable, like habanero lemon, BBQ, bacon ranch and garlic. The motorized tour of their orchards will show you how pistachios (and grapes in the vineyard) grow in their desert climate. The pistachio is one of the oldest edible nuts on the planet and is very nutritious. They’ll have some grafts for sale at the farm next February.

A Humpback in New Mexico

By Linda Tancs

Ask anyone in northern New Mexico to name their most unusual geological oddity and they’ll likely say it’s Camel Rock. As the name implies, it’s a rock that looks like a camel—sitting down. Located in Pojoaque, this inanimate nod to an ancient mammal is a quirky attraction opposite a casino (called Camel Rock, of course) owned by Tesuque Pueblo. The big question is (no, not ‘guess what day it is’)—one hump, or two? You decide.

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