The license plates state it clearly – “New Mexico: Land of Enchantment.” But what exactly is there that is so enchanting in New Mexico? What is there to make a person want to visit? Let’s take a look at some of the things New Mexico has to offer a tourist, and maybe learn a little about the state while we’re at it.
New Mexico is located in the southwest region and became a state in 1912. In general, the climate is semi-arid to arid, but there are a few areas of alpine and continental climates. The terrain varies from mountainous, high plains to desert. Sounds beautiful – and rough. So what then, is there to do, or see, as a tourist?
New Mexico has several railroad companies. You can choose to travel by modern train from one point to another, or you can take an excursion on an old steam locomotive and see New Mexico’s gorgeous landscapes!
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad – located in Chama, NM. This railroad has a couple unique features, the first being that it is the longest narrow gauge railway. The rails are only 3 feet apart. Standard gauge rails are a bit over 4 feet apart. It is one of the nations highest railways as well. It travels through Cumbres Pass, with an elevation of over 10,000 feet.
- The New Mexico Rail Runner Express – when riding this modern railway, you depart from the Santa Fe Depot and travel south, through Albuquerque, with the end of the line being in Belén. Though considered a commuter train, you’ll enjoy the double-decker seating, and views of the Rio Grande and Native American reservations.
- The Sante Fe Southern Railway – this railway travels along the historic Santa Fe railroad route. It features both modern and historical rail cars. It features multiple class services including gourmet cuisine. There is a romantic “Sunsets and Stargazing” dinner train excursion, which boasts gourmet, New Mexican cuisine, wine, beautiful sunsets and star-filled skies.
Native American Festivals and Events
New Mexico is home to 22 Native Indian Tribes. The tribes welcome visitors, and offer insight into their history and lifestyles. You can witness ceremonial dances and enjoy shopping at roadside stands featuring Native art, crafts and jewelry. There are celebrations, festivals and tribal feast days year-long. See the event list to see which is available during your vacation!
Looking for something adventurous? Angel Fire Resort offers the only Zip- line tour in New Mexico. Guides will hike with you in the mountain above Moreno Valley, and you’ll be treated to different zip lines varying from 120 to 1,600 feet in length. Hikes between zip lines vary from 5 to 10 minutes, and are through high elevations and mountainous trails. Be sure to dress accordingly.
If you are very adventurous, you’ll want to head to Diablo Valley. Diablo Valley was the location of the first shootout scene in the movie “3:10 to Yuma”. This flat, sandy canyon is surrounded by steep cliffs and appears to be a barren, lonely place – the perfect setting for climbing! Suntoucher Mountain Guides offers rock-climbing instructions as well as guided climbing tours. This isn’t just for the experienced, families can enjoy climbing as well.
New Mexico offers so much variety, it’d be impossible to cover it all without writing an entire book. Whether your idea of enchantment consists of a a leisurely train ride, rock climbing, or a game of golf, New Mexico is there for you, truly a land of enchantment – for all.