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16 Top Travel Places in New Mexico to Plan a Backpacking Trip

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Top Travel Places in New Mexico
Top Travel Places in New Mexico

Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

Best backpacking in New Mexico – Lying in the South-western region of the United States, New Mexico is a state which was founded in 1610 and is the fifth-largest state in the US.  From exquisite foods to diversified habitats, New Mexico is home to some unique foods as well as flora and fauna. It thus holds a really special place informing the spirit of the United States and apart from the fact that New Mexico holds the largest hot air balloon festival in the world and that is one of the youngest American states one must also know that New Mexico is a wine state.

Yes! You will find almost 50 wineries that produce over a million gallons of wine yearly. Further, New Mexico is more than just a desert as it has the most diverse landscapes in the world there is snow, wildflower fields, and jungles. You can see Yucca Plant, in most areas, as it is the official State Flower of New Mexico. There are also white sand dunes and vast expanses of prairie.

Thus, calling New Mexico beautiful would be putting barriers on its beauty, as it simply goes beyond that and there is probably nothing that you would not find in the state. All this makes New Mexico one of the best places for tourism with countless places to visit, even during the global pandemic that we are facing currently. Yes, you heard it right; planning a backpacking trip to the destination is what you can go for to break the monotony at this time.

1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Top Travel Places in New Mexico

The Carlsbad Caverns National park is one of the most visited sites in New Mexico. It has approximately 120 known caves hidden mostly underground. Carved from limestone which is deposited in an ancient Sea, its underground landscape attracts thousands of tourists. Thus, if you are an enthusiast of archaeology and nature, this can be a treat for you. Besides, visitors can also experience bat tours, expeditions to specific caves, and walks through the wondrous geographical formations.

Here since you are traveling amidst the pandemic, it is recommended to take along the best backpacking food to stay safe and healthy during the journey. Such meals are perfect for backcountry hikes and can be preserved for quite a long time.

2. White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

The White Sands National Monument is yet another magnificent landscape in New Mexico. Surrounded by rugged mountains, this stunning landscape lies in the Tularosa basin, a Northern offshoot of the Chihuahua desert. Gleaming with gypsum, the sand here has built up into a marvelous landscape of dunes, up to 60 feet high, that constantly get displaced by the wind. This marvel of nature attracts thousands of tourists across the globe all year.

3. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Attracting more than 80,000 people each autumn, Albuquerque is home to the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. It is a nine-day festival, which kicks off with the “Mass Ascension “ and continues with a unique display of coordinated ballooning and nighttime presentations. The tradition which was first started in a parking lot with only 13 balloons in 1973 has evolved so much that it occupies a 365-acre park today with more than 500 balloons participating.

There are countless incredible things to do at this festival too. From several kids’ activities, to live musicians, craft shows, and street performances under the beautiful, multicolored sky, this festival instantly makes one fall in love with the culture of New Mexico. So if you happen to visit New Mexico during this time of the year, you do not want to miss the Albuquerque international balloon fiesta.

4. Taos Ski Valley

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

If you are a fan of winter sports, New Mexico is again the right place for you to visit. Northeast of Taos, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at about 8,900 to 12500 feet, is where these beautiful, unique, and equipped winter sports are held; in the region of Taos Ski Valley. Known as the Skier’s hill, this hill has exceptionally striking and advanced terrain. Half of the trails here are for experts only. Considering the current conditions and the virus outbreak, skiers perhaps need to backpack essentially nutritious food that can strengthen their immunity and protect them from not just Covid-19 but also other kinds of bacteria.

5. Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park

New Mexico is home to a lot of ancient and historical sites. The Pecos National Historical Park is one such site, which encompasses what was once, one of the largest Native American Pueblos in the state. The park is also home to the civil war battlefield of Glorieta Pass which can be toured through a 2.25-mile trail, without a guide.

6. The Wheeler Peak Wilderness

The Wheeler Peak Wilderness – best backpacking in New Mexico

The summit of Wheeler Peak Wilderness is the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161ft. This area is home to a wide range of wildlife where visitors can find marmots, Pikas, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and golden eagles. Hiking here is the most popular thing to do, along with several striking trails, ranging from 4mi to 8mi long. Therefore, if you are a really inspired hiker, you may want to consider backing foods that are less likely to be affected during the times of Covid-19 outburst and can serve you for a long time.

This also includes freeze-drying meals that come packed with high levels of nutrients, which will keep you energized and full throughout your trip. The Wheeler Peak Wilderness enjoys moderate temperatures during summers and cold winters with temperatures falling regularly below freezing point. Summertime is the ideal period to visit this place as the place is both warm and wet.

7. Shiprock

Shiprock New Mexico

Shiprock is one of the most extraordinary and incredible cultural sites to see in New Mexico. The more you explore this site, the more astonishing facts you will know about it. The site is of great significance to the Navajo nation as it is perched within the nation. The Shiprock is in fact a great place one can find themselves and is a treat for the mind. So if you happen to be in that part of New Mexico, visiting the Shiprock is always worth the time.

8. Santa Fe

Santa Fe New Mexico – Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

Arguably one of the most beautiful and majestic, Santa Fe is one of the most popular and the oldest city of New Mexico and is also the capital of the state. The major cultural attractions of Santa Fe include the palace of the governor’s museum, located in the nation’s oldest public building with its permanent collection of more than 20000 artworks, including pieces of Ansell Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Francisco de Goya.

This city is a major tourist attraction and sees massive tourism throughout the year. So if you are a passionate traveler and an art lover, you can travel even during the times of a global pandemic that we are facing today. Although what you must not miss is to backpack food that is healthy and hygienic which will help you resist the infection while enjoying the journey through the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

9. Sandia Peak Tramway

Sandia Peak Tramway New Mexico – Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

At the Sandia foothills, just outside Albuquerque, is this aerial Sandia Peak tramway which takes you up to 2.7 miles to the Sandia Peak. The journey there is beyond incredible. The terrific view that one can only dream of is just a part of this short journey. The tramway offers a view of the Rio Grande valley. Apart from the scenic beauty, this area is also used for skiing in winters and also attracts several hikers and enthusiastic mountain bikers. So if you are a nature lover, the Sandia Peak tramway might just be the place for you, where you can perhaps find solace.

10. Cumbers and Toltec Scenic Railway

Cumbers and Toltec Scenic Railway – Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

This is a narrow-gauge heritage railroad that runs between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonio, Colorado. This is the highest steam-powered railroad in the nation with breathtaking views of the grassy, deer-filled hillside Meadows and stream-laced mountains not to mention the exceptionally thrilling moments this ride offers as it crosses the Cascade Creek trestle. This ride, therefore, is perhaps the ride one should experience at least once in a lifetime as they journey is a pure rejuvenating experience. One can enjoy this scenic beauty while munching on some healthy food that can be backpacked during this journey.

Best backpacking in New Mexico

11. Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument – Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

The Bandelier National Monument has an infrastructure that enables many types of people to enjoy one of the United States Archeological wonders. A true family-friendly environment with paths that wheelchairs can even enjoy. Walking up close to and around the ruins does require more mobility but the site can be broken down into different trails and allowing the person who wants to visit different aspects of the park to do so on separate trips over time. 

This 33,677-acre preserve is the Bandelier National Monument which encompasses some of the most incredibly stunning volcanic landscapes and archaeological ruins in the state. A few remains from this ancient site, which was formerly the home of the ancestral Pueblo people who occupied the area from AD1150 to 1600, include astonishing structures like masonry carves and dwellings, carved out of the volcanic rock.

There are petroglyphs as well, which distinctively portray the Pueblo culture and tell a lot about their lifestyle. This area, thus, is significant to historians and archaeologists and several studies have been conducted here too. Apart from this, the park has a national museum and hiking trails as well. So one can learn and have fun at the same time at this park.

12. Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument – best backpacking in New Mexico

The most remarkable feature of this park is its petroglyphs, images that were carved in the basalt by indigenous people and early Spanish settlers, centuries ago. This makes it a really popular and significant site and thus is visited by people across the world, including several professionals as well. Encompassing about 7,244 acres of land, this area consists of a basalt escarpment, five dormant volcanoes, and a sweeping mesa.

There are about 20,000 petroglyphs in the area, which can be viewed from the hiking trails. There are three hiking routes here and hikers must be well-equipped with water and nutritional foods and be aware of the local wildlife, especially rattlesnakes.

13. Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo – Top Travel tips in New Mexico

Taos Pueblo, located just outside the city of Taos has the oldest dwellings in the US, which are continuously inhabited. Constructed with the use of straw-reinforced mud bricks and timber-supported roofs, these adobe structures date back more than a thousand years. These are apartment-style houses that are about five stories high and the town can accommodate around 150 people at a time.

Visitors are welcome to take a tour of the community which has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a national historic landmark. The Pueblo, on several occasions, remains closed to outsiders during its annual events. It is perhaps a unique and one of the most visited sites in New Mexico.

14. The Ghost Ranch

The Ghost Ranch New Mexico – best backpacking in New Mexico

Located in Abiquiu, New Mexico, the landscape of Ghost ranch encompasses 21000 acres of towering rock walls and bewitching skies. Visitors can enjoy several rejuvenating activities here such as massage therapy, horseback riding, hiking trails, and kayaking at the Abiquiu Lake. The museums at Ghost ranch specialize in anthropology and paleontology, where numerous major research studies are also conducted. 

Ghost ranch is, therefore, visited by tourists as well as some significant paleontologists and anthropologists. One can avail of activities such as the hiking trails here but with certain measures, the most important being the kind of food that one carries along. As Covid-19 spreads all over the world, you can still enjoy hiking by backpacking food that can significantly reduce your chances of getting infected by the virus.

15. Blue Hole

Blue Hole New Mexico – Top Travel tips in New Mexico

The blue hole in Santa ROSA, New Mexico is a natural bell-shaped pool that has an entrancing water clarity that can just take away all your stress. You can take a dip in this 80 feet deep natural pool during the hot months which has a constant water temperature of 61 degrees. This alluring natural pool attracts travelers and offers so many water activities, scuba diving being the most popular one. Santa Rosa is also known as the scuba diving capital of the southwest. It has also been listed in the top eleven best natural swimming holes in the US.

16. Clayton Lake State Park

Clayton Lake State Park New Mexico – Top Travel Tips in New Mexico

This park is a gold-level international dark sky park, designated as New Mexico’s first dark sky park in 2010. The park has its own 14-inch mead telescope. The area has very little light pollution and thus, many stargazing events are hosted here. The park is also known for fishing derbies and dinosaur tracks. You can thus check out the dinosaur tracks during the day while waiting for the clear sky at night.


New Mexico is the perfect place to travel, the single-most place where your dreams can actually meet reality. A place that can be traveled at any time of the year, even during the massive outbreak of the Covid-19. All you need to make sure is that you backpack healthy food that is rich in all kinds of nutrients and can help you repel the virus strikingly.

New Mexico is a place where you can find countless hills, volcanoes and mountains, ancient houses and scenic railroads, white sands, and clear skies. It is a place, worth all your time and money and a journey that you wouldn’t forget.

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