ABQ To Do Visit Albuquerque Visitors Guide

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Northeast Region of New Mexico

Northeast Region of New Mexico

This historic route takes several paths across northeastern New Mexico. Each leg of the journey posed hazards and challenges in the 1800s, and offers sightseeing and education today.

Mesalands Scenic Byway

A unique combination of modern day and prehistoric attractions, teamed up with rich scenery and history make this byway a special adventure. It is far from a “Point A to Point B” path, but the meandering is part of its charm.

La Bronterea del Llano Scenic Byway

This unique trail across a remote stretch of northeastern New Mexico offers a wealth of scenery and hidden travel treasures. It is open country, just like in the movies.

Welcome to the land “where the plains meet the mountains.” Visit Capulín Volcano National Monument, an extinct volcanic cone (inactive now for 10,000 years) and you can say you saw the plains of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Still visible are the deep wagon-wheel ruts left by those frontiering souls traveling the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to our capital city. Explore the Army post ruins established in 1851 at the Fort Union National Monument near Las Vegas and you’ll learn about the soldiers whose job it was to protect the trail. Also around Las Vegas, check out the spring and fall commutes of waterfowl and birds of prey at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that turn into rolling plains here, giving this region its dramatic landscape. In its wake the range has created a host of lake oases. You may be surprised and delighted to learn that if you’re an angler, a boater, or a Scuba diver, the Northeast region of New Mexico is paradise. Catch pike, bass, catfish, and trout at any number of the lakes in the area – Conchas, Eagle Nest, Maloya, Maxwell, McAllister, Morphy, Springer, Storrie and Ute, among others or waterski, canoe or sail in these desert bodies of fresh water. For Scuba divers from around the world, there’s the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, an 81-foot-deep clear pool that’s a lovely 63-degree temperature year-round. It’s hard to imagine that droughts once forced the Anasazi to abandon the area for points south and west, where they established multistoried settlements like the now-abandoned Pecos Pueblo (now the Pecos National Historic Park). Other must-sees include the St. James Hotel in Cimarrón (Billy the Kid and all of the other gunslingers and outlaws who caroused it are gone, but it’s still a great place for a respite). Also in Cimarrón, don’t miss the Kit Carson Museum, which gives a good portrayal of 1850s settlement life. In Capulín, hit the Folsom Museum for evidence of prehistoric man in the region (we’re talking 12,000 B.C.).

The Northeast Region of New Mexico is comprised of seven counties.

Colfax County – The City of Raton, the Town of Springer, and the Villages of Angel Fire, Cimarron, Eagle Nest, and Maxwell

Guadalupe County (county site down) – The Towns of Santa Rosa and Vaughn

Harding County – The Villages of Mosquero and Roy

Mora County – The Village of Wagon Mound

Quay County – The City of Tucumcari and the Villages of House, Logan, and San Jon

San Miguel County – The City of Las Vegas, the Villages of Pecos and El Cerrito

Union County has the Town of Clayton, and the Villages of Des Moines, Folsom, and Grenville

Colfax County Points of Interest

Carson National Forest (part)

Cimarron Canyon State Park

Provides stream fishing along the Cimarron River, beneath the dramatic granite walls of Cimarron Canyon, conveniently located on Hwy 64.

Cimarroncita Historic Ranch

Offers guided fly fishing trips for novices and experienced anglers. Among the finest private waters in the Southwest for brown trout. 866.376.2482

Eagle Nest Lake State Park

The park is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the high mountains of the Moreno Valley. The lake at 8,300’ elevation is a cool retreat from summer heat or a winter wonderland.

Kiowa National Grassland (part)

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

Has some of the best trout fishing in the area and trolling is allowed up to October. This lake has about 500 surface acres and produces rainbows from 16 to 24 inches. The refuge is located just outside Maxwell, about 23 miles south of Raton on I-25

Shuree Ponds

The ponds are open July 1 through December 31 and are stocked with 15-inch or larger rainbow trout. One pond is reserved for anglers under 12. The daily bag is two 15-inch-or-longer fish. These are ideal float tube waters. The streams are catch-and-release and are good for cut-throat trout.

Springer Lake

With 450 surface acres, is about five miles due west of Springer. Fishing is best April through June and September through October for five-to-25 pound northern pike.

Sugarite Canyon State Park

The nature enthusiast will appreciate the abundance of wildlife, birds, butterflies, and wildflowers among the lakes, creeks, forests, and meadows. Nearly all outdoor recreation activities are possible: Fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and camping.

Valle Vidal

A 100,000 acre unit of the Carson National Forest, can be reached heading northeast of Cimarron about five miles on Hwy 64 and turning northwest on unpaved Cerrosa Road.

Vermejo Park Ranch

Offers unsurpassed opportunities for fishermen. This private resort and working cattle ranch in a wilderness setting is dedicated to sound land use management.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

The Memorial was established in 1968 by Victor and Jeanne Westphall to honor their son, Lt. David Westphall, who was killed in Vietnam in May 1968. When it opened in 1971, it was one of the first Memorials of its kind in the United States dedicated to Vietnam Veterans.

Guadalupe County Points of Interest

Janes Wallace Memorial Park and Power Dam

A beautiful spring-fed lake on the southern outskirts of Santa Rosa, provides some of the best trout, catfish and bass fishing in the area.

Park Lake

In Santa Rosa offers a wide range of free recreational activities, including free fishing for kids and senior citizens at the kiddie ponds and fishing at beautiful El Rito Creek.

Perch Lake

Is located on Hwy 91 near Santa Rosa. It contains a twin engine plane, submerged 55 feet deep and is used primarily for advanced scuba diving training, although fishing is allowed.

Santa Rosa Lake State Park

This reservoir on the plains of eastern New Mexico offers fishing, boating, camping and hiking, as well as abundant bird watching opportunities. Equestrians are welcome at the Los Tanos Campground.

Harding County Points of Interest

Canadian River Canyon

Is at once the most striking and least known feature in eastern New Mexico. Known by few, even among residents of New Mexico, the Canadian River Canyon is a region of soaring cliffs, diverse flora and fauna, wild rivers, striking rock formations and historic ruins.

The possibilities for hiking and backpacking are particularly enticing. It is possible to follow the Canadian River for almost twenty miles. Numerous tributary canyons also provide several hiking opportunities. The vegetation in the side canyons is generally thicker, with pinon pine, juniper, and ponderosa pine providing cover. There are also numerous hiking and backpacking possibilities on the canyon rim.

Kiowa National Grassland (part)

Are part of a national grasslands system that also includes the Rita Blanca, McClellan Creek and Black Kettle. These four grasslands are administered for the U.S. Department of Agriculture by the Cibola National Forest and cover 263,954 acres scattered throughout New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. In New Mexico, the Kiowa National Grasslands are in Union County, Harding County, and on the border of Mora County.

La Frontera del Llano

When the railroads began settlement of the West, homesteaders flocked to remote Harding County and Southern Union County until the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years crushed their dreams. The county is rich in history and has geography that includes mesas, grasslands, plains and rivers. Of particular scenic interest are the spectacular Canadian River Canyon and Kiowa National Grasslands.

Mora County Points of Interest

Carson National Forest (part)

Are all located in the western part of Mora County, offering access to remote fishing in the abundant mountain streams.

Charette Lakes

On a mesa southwest of Springer. These lakes offer good fishing for 10-to-14-inch rainbows and perch. Both Maxwell and Charette Lakes are closed November 1 until March 1 to accommodate migrating waterfowl.

Coyote Creek State Park

14 miles northeast of Mora on Hwy 434, is one of New Mexico’s smallest state parks but has all an outdoor enthusiast needs. Coyote Creek, a tributary of the Mora River, is a favorite destination of serious anglers.

Fort Union National Monument

Exposed to the wind, within a sweeping valley of short grass prairie, amid the swales of the Santa Fe Trail, lie the territorial-style adobe remnants of the largest 19th century military fort in the region. For forty years, 1851-1891, Fort Union functioned as an agent of political and cultural change, whether desired or not, in New Mexico and throughout the Southwest.

Kiowa National Grassland (part)

Mora National Fish Hatchery Technology Center

Demonstrates the reuse of water in the production of game fish. Built with state and federal funds in 1993, it was the first of its kind in the nation and an important demonstration project for the whole country.

Morphy Lake State Park

Is an isolated and primitive mountain jewel that sits on the edge of the Pecos Wilderness in a pristine pine forest. The pretty lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout. For a quiet fishing experience filled with solitude, take Hwy 94 south of Mora to the town of Ledoux to reach this state park.

Santa Fe National Forest (part)

Quay County Points of Interest

Tucumcari Lake and Wildlife Area

One mile from Tucumcari on Hwy 54 is Tucumcari Lake and Wildlife Area. This undeveloped 770 acre reserve provides excellent wildlife viewing, because the shallow lake and wetlands attract numerous birds, including ducks and geese, bald and golden eagles, doves, quail and pheasants. Plans are being made to add several developed trails to the reserve.

Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course

Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course is one of the best courses in New Mexico. Just ask Mayor Charlie Maciel, Jr., or former Mayor Mike Loudder, also a golf pro at the course!

The golf course can be reached by going on Tucumcari Boulevard west to I-40. As the road curves toward the interstate, take the feeder road that continues straight. This beautiful course is situated among the mesas and offers not only an enjoyable and challenging course but a beautiful view. The course is open from 8 a.m. until dark every day except Monday, weather permitting. It’s open on Mondays during holidays. Golfers will find a well-equipped pro shop under the management of experienced professional golfers.

Tucumcari Municipal Golf Course
P.O. Box 1188
Tucumcari, NM 88401

Ute Lake State Park

This reservoir on the Canadian River is one of the longest lakes in the state at nearly 13 miles, and boasts a variety of fun water sports. The campgrounds offer a variety of camping experiences, including the Yucca Campground, designed for RVs.

Walleye Lakes

Are located near I-40 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa. These three lakes offer excellent fishing for walleye, along with smallmouth and largemouth bass and channel catfish. Fishing for crappie is great some years.

San Miguel County Points of Interest

Conchas Lake State Park

This lake features secluded coves, canyons, and sandy beaches, excellent for camping, boating, and fishing. Explore by boat 11 miles of the Conchas River or 14 miles of the South Canadian River portions of the lake.

El Porvenir and Hermit Peak: Located at the base of Hermit Peak, and along Beaver Creek, El Porvenir campground offers fishing, camping, and walking trails. But more importantly, it offers access to the challenging trail up Hermit Peak and a chance to see the cave where the Italian Giovanni María de Agostini lived for three years in the mid-1800s.

Gallinas River (Canyon) Recreation Area

15 miles north of Las Vegas on Hwy 65.

Las Vegas, NM

The original Las Vegas made its name early on as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail and then as a railway hub. It doesn’t hurt, too, that its history also includes characters such as Doc Holiday and Jesse James. But visitors interested in Las Vegas and its rich history of rails, rowdies, and wranglers run the risk if they’re not careful of missing out on the town’s other draw: the great outdoors.

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

McAllister Lake State Park

Eight miles east of Las Vegas on Hwy 104.

Pecos National Historical Park (part)

Gateway to the Plains – In the midst of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains not far from Santa Fe, the remains of an Indian pueblo stand as a meaningful reminder of people who once prevailed here. Now a national historical park demonstrates to modern visitors the cultural exchange and geographic facets central to the rich history of the Pecos Valley.

Pecos River

Is well-stocked, sometimes with 14-inch rainbows especially for a 20-mile stretch north along Hwy 63 from the village of Pecos to Cowles.

Sabinoso Wilderness: Since 2009, this national wilderness was inaccessible to the public, surrounded by private land. Now reachable for the first time, visitors have the chance to explore the wilderness’s 16,000 pristine acres, rich with wildlife, canyons, arroyos, and dense forestlands.

Santa Fe National Forest (part)

Start 15 miles north of Las Vegas on Hwy 65 and offer numerous opportunities for remote alpine stream fishing.

Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort

Someone looking for a new run every time down the mountain should ski elsewhere, but someone looking for charm and an old-fashioned mountain experience should try Sipapu. Conveniently located from Las Vegas, runs on this mountain intersect so often that skiers can pick a variety of ways to reach the bottom. Operated by the same family since the resort opened in 1952, employees are likely to know skiers by name. The facility is open until March 31.

Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort

Storrie Lake State Park

Fed by the Sangre de Christo Mountains, this 1,100-acre lake is home to fantastic fishing, boating, and windsurfing. There are four campgrounds, plenty of hiking trails, and great opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting of all sorts.

This serene lake offers great opportunities for fishing, bird watching, and windsurfing. Choose from a variety of campsites with utility hookups for RVs. The park is conveniently located near historic Las Vegas.

Villanueva State Park

The park is nestled between high sandstone bluffs that form a canyon along the Pecos River. Camp or picnic under the shade of cottonwood trees. Enjoy fishing, birding, wildflower viewing, or hiking the trails along the canyon walls.

Union County Points of Interest

Clayton Lake State Park

The park is an oasis in the rolling grasslands of northeastern New Mexico. Enjoy picnicking, camping, fishing, and hiking. Get a unique glimpse of the past with more than 500 dinosaur footprints.

Capulin Volcano National Monument

A Stellar Example of Recent Volcanic Activity. Come view a dramatic landscape—a unique place of mountains, plains, and sky. Born of fire and forces continually reshaping the earth’s surface, Capulin Volcano provides access to nature’s most awe-inspiring work

Kiowa National Grassland (part)