Best 10 National Parks In New Mexico To Visit In 2023!
BY Ankita TripathyJun 26, 2023
Are you searching for the best national parks in New Mexico? If your answer is yes, then you have reached the right place. There are many breathtaking vistas in New Mexico, which is in the Southwest region of the United States, yet tourists generally ignore them. The state is also home to the Rocky Mountains, the Rio Grande, a variety of vivid canyons, cliffs, and caves in addition to its stunning but harsh desert landscape. If you are planning to visit the state, you need to check out some of the best national parks that are located in New Mexico. If you don't know which one to begin with, you might just find his blog to be of help. Keep reading this article till the end to learn more… Top 10 Must-Visit National Parks In New Mexico In 2023! You can tour the magnificent archaeological sites that the Ancestral Puebloans left behind at several locations. Providing a fascinating look into the cultures and individuals who have influenced the state, they are protected as a component of the nation's parks and monuments. With so many facets and breathtaking beauty on display, New Mexico more than lives up to its moniker as the "Land of Enchantment." and what better way to explore them than the national parks in New Mexico! Here are the best national parks in New Mexico that you need to visit at least once in your life, if not in the year 2023! 1. Aztec Ruins National Monument Image Source The captivating Aztec Ruins National Monument, which is next to the little city of the same name, is tucked away in the state's northwest. It has been guarding the ruins and remains of a fascinating prehistoric pueblo, thought to have been constructed about a thousand years ago, since 1923. This magnificent archaeological monument, which early American settlers mistakenly credited to the Aztecs, has over 400 rooms to explore, with its Great Kiva unquestionably the standout. Visitors can enter a duplicate that has been meticulously recreated in order to see the real ruin's glorious stonework in addition to viewing it as it was in its prime. The museum at the national monument is definitely worth visiting if you want to learn more about the history and culture of the Ancestral Puebloans. There are lots of eye-catching exhibits and artifacts there. 2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park Image Source Carlsbad Caverns National Park comes in second on the list of the top national parks in New Mexico. The fascinating Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the southeast of the state, not far from Texas. It is a remarkable location with more than 119 caves, the greatest and most impressive of which is Carlsbad Cavern, its show cave. Although the state of New Mexico is breathtaking from the outside, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to at least one subsurface natural wonder. Carlsbad, which is far from anything else in New Mexico and is situated on the border with Texas, is well worth the trip. The Big Room, a natural chamber that is 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high, is the third-largest cave chamber in North America and the seventh-largest in the world. Carlsbad is covered in limestone that an old coral reef deposited. Intricate and enormous, Carlsbad is home to tens of thousands of rare cave formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, cave pearls, flowstones, cave crystals, and underground lakes. Visitors have the option of taking a ranger-led expedition into one of the less popular caverns or exploring the well-lit tunnels on their own. The half-day Hall of the White Giant and Spider Cave trips are not for the claustrophobic, but the King's Palace and Left Hand Cave tours are appropriate for kids and beginners. The closest established campsite is in Guadalupe national park, which lies across the Texas state line. Camping is permitted in the park's wilderness. 3. El Malpais National Monument Image Source The state's westernmost national monument, El Malpais, is where a sizable volcanic field may be found. It is situated in a remote but breathtaking area just off Interstate 40 and is full of cinder cones, lava flows, and rock formations. Its barren, devastated, and lava-scarred areas, which are a part of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, seem to continue on forever; the most recent flow occurred there about 3000 years ago. There are several amazing lava tubes for visitors to explore, some of which are home to shimmering ice caverns, tucked away among the isolated and rocky remnants. El Malpais' immensely varied volcanic scenery provides solitary pursuits, leisure, and adventure. Unbelievable geological phenomena like lava flows, cinder cones, lava tube tunnels, and sandstone bluffs are just a few to explore. People have been adjusting to and living in this unique terrain for decades, despite what some may perceive as a barren setting. 4. El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail Image Source In all of the United States of America and Mexico, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is revered as a historic path for trade and cultural exchange. Trade and travel along this path influenced the settlement and growth of the larger Southwest and changed the lives of individuals and communities. In addition to helping to break down barriers between cultures and improve the lives of those who live along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the designation of this route as an international historic trail honors the connections and interactions that have existed between American Indian, Mexican, Black, Spanish, and other European cultures both historically and currently. The aims of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro were varied. Many of its users participated in the lengthy mission of the Spanish empire to convert American Indians to Christianity. However, the road was home to a wide variety of personalities; those traveling north included settlers, priests, and newly appointed officials; those traveling south included retiring officials, friars, traders, enslaved Indians, prisoners of war, and convicts. The path was also a key route for trade, serving as a conduit for the exchange of products and knowledge. Each of the thirty-two waggons in a typical caravan along the road was pulled by eight mules and could hold around 4,000 pounds of freight. Most caravans also carried other livestock like cattle, lambs, goats, burros, and poultry. The freight included private goods, correspondence, mission supplies, and royal decrees. Between El Paso, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail stretches for 404 miles; the historic trail continues all the way to Mexico City. Along the entire length of the trail into Mexico, there are museums, historic sites, churches, and remnants of the old trail. 5. Fort Union National Monument Image Source The territorial-style adobe remains of the greatest 19th-century military fort in the area are exposed to the wind in a broad valley of short grass prairie, among the swales of the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Union served as a catalyst for political and cultural change in New Mexico and the Southwest for forty years, from 1851 to 1891, whether those changes were wanted or not. North of Watrous in Mora County, New Mexico, is where you'll find Fort Union National Monument, a part of the US National Park Service. On June 28, 1954, the national monument was established. The site includes the remains of the third fort as well as the second of three forts that were built there starting in 1851. A network of ruts from the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the previous Santa Fe Trail is also discernible. From a self-guided tour and a much interpretive trail where the guides take the visitors through the fort, to a short 0.5-mile walk with a special focus on some parts of the fort, the tourists can have it all here! The Fort Union National Monument opens at 08:00 a.m. in morning and stays open till eight in the night. You can visit this place on Saturdays and Sundays. 6. Bandelier National Monument Image Source Another of the region's top archaeological sites, the magnificent Bandelier National Monument, is located not far from Santa Fe. It is located on the Jerez Mountain slopes and has a tonne of amazing wilderness, as well as various Ancestral Puebloan sites scattered throughout its picturesque surroundings. It was established in 1916 and now preserves some of the state's most stunning, reachable, and substantial cliff homes. Visitors can explore caves, kivas, and ceremonial structures utilized by the Ancestral Puebloans for generations in Frijoles Canyon's magnificent peach-colored surroundings. Petroglyphs and rock art can also be found here and there. Even though it is the most well-known and picturesque location in the park, there are many more amazing things to see across the national monument, with delightful wildlife, landscape, and views everywhere you look. It also boasts a fantastic museum that displays ancient artifacts and finds from archaeology. 7. Chaco Culture National Historical Park Image Source Northwest New Mexico is home to the fascinating Chaco Culture National Historical Park, one of the most significant and magnificent pre-Columbian cultural sites in the whole United States. It is one of the best national parks in New Mexico. Its expansive site, located within the Navajo Nation, safeguards a large number of historically significant pueblos. Pueblo Bonita, built between AD 900 and 1100 from pieces of sandstone that were skillfully placed, was once the hub of Puebloan culture and trade. The ruins of several "great houses," and other smaller structures can be seen all across the starkly gorgeous Chaco Canyon, many of which are aligned with the sun's and moon's light and shadow patterns. In the wake of a protracted drought that began in 1130, the homes were abandoned. A network of old roads known as the Chacoan Roads connects the Chaco Culture national historical park to a number of formerly prosperous desert settlements. After visiting Chaco, a first-come, first-served campground at the end of a 21-mile dead-end dirt road, go 75 miles north to Aztec Ruins National Monument to see another magnificent grand house and a recreated underground ritual space called a kiva. The backdrop is equally stunning as the extensive archaeological sites, which are fascinating to investigate. The barren desert steppe is punctuated by enormous mesas and stunning buttes. Visit the museum at the site before leaving to learn all there is to know about the Ancestral Puebloans who once lived in the dry area. 8. El Morro National Monument Image Source Imagine how refreshing it would be to reach water after days of sand-filled journey. El Morro (the headland) was a well-liked camping area for hundreds of years because of a dependable waterhole concealed in the base of a sandstone bluff. Over 2,000 signatures, dates, notes, and petroglyphs were engraved here by prehistoric Puebloans, Spanish, and American travelers. Make a pit stop at the El Morro National Monument while traveling. Two paths can be found at El Morro National Monument. To select the path that's best for you, stop by the visitor center and speak with a ranger. The tourist center is where all routes start and end. Only when the visitor center is open can visitors access the trails of El Morro National Monument?. It is necessary to start hiking the Headland Trail by 3:00 PM. Before 4:00 pm, hikers who want to complete the Inscription Loop must start. Let me give you some advice if you intend to visit the El Morro national park and want to know what to do there. On the Headland Trail, you can go hiking. The Inscription Loop is part of this 2-mile track, which also leads to the top of the El Morro bluff. With a 224-foot elevation climb, the course is somewhat challenging. You can trek the Inscription Loop by taking a shorter trail. You can walk the half-mile trek to the pool while passing through hundreds of Spanish and American inscriptions and ancient petroglyphs. The looping, half-mile asphalt trail is wheelchair accessible with some help. If you only have an hour or so to spend at the park, this is a fantastic option. It must begin at 4:00 p.m. at the latest. 9. Manhattan Project National Monument Image Source The Manhattan Project was a groundbreaking, top-secret government initiative during World War II that saw the United States race to create and use the first atomic weapons before Nazi Germany. One of the most significant historical moments of the 20th century was the American employment of these weapons against Japan in August 1945. The project brought about the nuclear era and left behind profound impacts that are still felt today. Three key places across the nation served as the birthplace of the Manhattan Project: Hanford, Washington; Los Alamos; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The villages created to house the Manhattan Project personnel were established and are managed by private businesses and enterprises under contract with the project. Every community transformed into a hub of activity with theaters, shops, schools, hospitals, parks, and community gathering spaces. The population of Oak Ridge had increased to roughly 75,000 by 1945. Richland, a Hanford Site bedroom suburb, witnessed an increase in population to 15,000 while Los Alamos had an increase to 6,000. 10. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument Image Source Less than an hour south of Santa Fe, Tent Rocks offers slot canyons, strangely beautiful rock formations, and breathtaking views—everything you could desire in a desert hike. Before opening up beneath the 100-foot conical hoodoos that give this national monument its name, the three-mile trail's first half winds through a slot canyon so narrow you can touch the walls on both sides. From there, the trail switches back up to the top of the mesa for a commanding view of the Jemez Mountains and the Rio Grande River Valley. In the Keresan language, Kasha-Katuwe translates to "white cliffs" and is spoken by the people of Cochiti Pueblo, which also co-manages the monument. The volcanic tuff that formed the white cliffs, hoodoos, and slot canyon was formed during an eruption about a million years ago. Tent Rocks does not allow camping and the route is only open during the day, although the Cochiti Lake recreation area is close by and has built campsites. It makes for a wonderful day excursion because it is a short drive from old Santa Fe. Wrapping It Up! In case you were searching for the best national parks in New Mexico, I hope that this log has been of much help to you. If there are any other queries related to the same, feel free to let me know. All that you need to do is scroll down till you reach the bottom of the page, then leave your comments and queries in the box below, And I will be there to answer them all for you! Read Also: Top 12 Montana National Parks You Must Visit In 2023! A Guide To National Parks In Georgia – Latest Guide Top 10 National Parks In Oregon That You Need To Explore 7 Best National Parks In Ohio You Should Know Before Going