Jemez Springs Bath House
Photo by Ashley M. Biggers
Albuquerque's location in the state's geographic center is admirable. Hot springs, Native American pueblos, scenic drives through stunning red rocks, and epic hikes lie within an hour of the Duke City.
1 JEMEZ MOUNTAINS
The Jemez Mountain National Scenic Byway cruises past red rock cliffs to the village of Jemez Springs, where mineral waters burble in Giggling Springs and the Jemez Springs Bath House. Jemez Historic Site protects the remains of a 500-year-old Native American village and the 1621 San José de los Jemez mission. Although Jemez Pueblo nestles nearby, it is open only on feast days; visitors are always welcome at the Walatowa Visitor Center.
2 ACOMA PUEBLO
One of North America's longest continuously occupied villages perches on a bluff 60 miles west of Albuquerque at Acoma Pueblo. Tours — the only way to visit — begin at the Sky City Cultural Center & Haak'u Museum, then travel by bus up the 370-foot butte to explore adobe-lined pathways and the ancient Native American culture.
Set on the edge of Albuquerque, this pastoral village boasts the obligatory farmers market (open on Sundays during summer). It's a year-round arts hub, too, with a string of boutiques and galleries along the main thoroughfare.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Photo by thinkstockphotos.com
4 KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS NATIONAL MONUMENT
This geological gem sits between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Conical formations that look like the monument's namesake can be viewed during hikes through slot canyons and scrambles up the soft tuff to mesa tops.
5 TURQUOISE TRAIL NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY
This route ribbons through juniper and piñon-studded hills along the east side of the Sandía Mountains between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It traipses through the mountain communities of Sandía Park, home to a folkart bonanza at Tinkertown Museum and through the mining-town-turned-arts-haven of Madrid.