New Mexico Scenic Drive: Jemez Mountain Trail

Highlights of the Jemez Mountain Trail

In all seasons, the Jemez Mountains offer some magnificent scenery. Visitors enjoy escaping to a quieter, more relaxing way of life. As you travel the Jemez Mountain Trail, consider using this itinerary.

Los Alamos: Your trip through the Jemez Mountains begins in Los Alamos, famous as the home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory for its work and historic role in the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. The Bradbury Science Museum offers a great deal of information.

Valle Grande: After that, travel east and follow the signs to Valle Grande, the remains of a volcano that erupted 1.4 million years ago. Hot springs and recreational opportunities abound here.

Cuba: After Valle Grande, continue north to Highway 126. This road, all the way to Cuba, is not paved but is well traveled. However, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for better safety.

Cabezon: After a rest in Cuba, travel south along Interstate 550. A quick detour off of the byway heading west on 197 will take you to Cabezon, a ghost town that was a flourishing city until the 1940s. Back on Interstate 550, head south through the national forest and down toward the many American Indian pueblos. The Zia and Jemez Pueblos have wonderful opportunities for learning and adventure. (Note that the Jemez Pueblo is not open to the public, except on festival days.)

Spence Hot Springs: The Jemez State Monument is a perfect getaway in the late afternoon and is highlighted by a dip in the Spence Hot Springs.

Bandelier National Monument and Ghost Ranch: Bandelier National Monument, near the Rio Grande, is a wonderful place to see the ruins of many cliff houses and pueblo-style dwellings of 13th-century Pueblo Indians. A little to the north of Los Alamos, in Abiquiu, a cluster of fantastic museums at Ghost Ranch is a trip not to be missed.

You're sure to be wowed by all the cultural, historic, and scenic wonders there is to discover along New Mexico's Jemez Mountain Trail.

Find more useful information related to New Mexico's Jemez Mountain Trail:

  • New Mexico Scenic Drives: The Jemez Mountain Trail is just one of the scenic byways in New Mexico. Check out the others.
  • Jemez Springs, Los Alamos: Find out what there is to do in this city along the Jemez Mountain Trail.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond New Mexico? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.