New Mexico Scenic Drives

is filled with stunning views such as this one.
is filled with stunning views such as this one.

New Mexico scenic drives showcase the state's rugged beauty and prehistoric treasures, and also present opportunities for outdoor recreation. The links at the bottom of this page go to articles that will tell you everything you'll need to know before hitting the road in New Mexico. These articles have photos, highlights, and detailed maps for six New Mexico scenic drives.

New Mexico has been a crossroads of cultures for centuries. From North America's earliest inhabitants to Spanish conquerors to Billy the Kid, this region is rich in history. Plotting a route along any of the six scenic byways described below will deliver a cross-section of history, culture, and picturesque landscapes.


Here's a preview of what you'll find in our articles about New Mexico scenic drives:

Billy the Kid Trail

Along the trail named for the country's most famous outlaw, the Old West mingles with local and regional artists -- and their festivals -- as well as local icons such as Smokey Bear, who is honored with a museum on this route.

El Camino Real

Follow the Rio Grande from the Mexican border to Santa Fe and get to know the region's history at museums and historic sites. Ancient ruins and modern towns like Truth or Consequences offer roadside diversions.

Historic Route 66 (Route 66)

Cutting across New Mexico, Route 66 allows visitors easy access to Native American culture and art, as well as Spanish, Mexican, and American history. There are numerous opportunities to explore caves, ski, and enjoy local cuisine.

Jemez Mountain Trail

Ghost towns, hot springs, American Indian pueblos, camping, and the arts community of San Ysidro make this a drive diverse enough to please every member of the family.

Santa Fe Trail

Beginning in Santa Fe, this route leads northeast past scores of historic sites, documenting the history of Native Americans, Western pioneers, and Spanish Missionaries.

Turquoise Trail

Nestled along a route that leads to the wilderness of the Sandia Mountains, this route travels past old mining towns that now support theaters, arts, crafts, and music.


For more useful travel information about New Mexico and beyond, see:

  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.