25 Famous Landmarks in New Mexico You Must See

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A butte on an empty field with small bushes, under a partly cloudy purple sky
New Mexico has an array of unique geological landscapes, like Fajada Butte

If you've ever wondered, "What is New Mexico famous for?" You've come to the right place. New Mexico is famous for so many things! With unique geological landscapes, stunning natural views, and over 40 historical and cultural sites, New Mexico is aptly known as the Land of Enchantment.

There are many famous landmarks in New Mexico outlining the state's history from prehistoric times to the days of the "Wild West". Historical Native American lands still occupy many areas of the state, showcasing their vibrant cultures and teachings. New Mexico also has unique architecture of Native American and Spanish influence.

Natural landmarks in New Mexico include mountains, caves, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, and sand dunes. There are endless miles of hiking trails, places to camp, and whitewater rafting adventures. New Mexico is an outdoor lover's dream!

Read on to learn more about all New Mexico has to offer!

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  • 25 New Mexico landmarks

25 New Mexico Landmarks

New Mexico Landmarks Map

A map of New Mexico landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

A walkway by short stone ruins surrounded by green grass, against deciduous trees
Aztec Ruins National Monument features artifacts and architecture of Pueblo society

Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument is a large ancestral pueblo site built over 900 years ago. Tour the ruins and see the unique historical architecture and artifacts of the pueblo society that once thrived there.

Beyond the ruins, there is a museum that showcases artifacts from the Native Americans that once inhabited this area. Interpretive talks and demonstrations of traditional pueblo music and art also occur at certain times.

oscity/Depositphotos.com
One of the most famous landmarks in New Mexico is the Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument is one of the most famous landmarks in New Mexico

Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park

The Four Corners Monument is a geographical area where visitors can stand at the point where New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah meet. The monument is on the famous Navajo Nation Reservation in San Juan County.

After spending time at the monument, visitors can explore a Navajo Artisan Market on-site. Navajo vendors offer original artwork, jewelry, and other crafts for sale.

A narrow stone staircase leading up to a dwelling inside a cave on a cliff
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument has caves, canyons, rivers, and much more

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a preserved landmark in the Gila National Forest. Ruins of ancient cliff dwellings offer a peek into 12th Century Mogollon Culture. Early settlers built homes and raised families within these rock walls.

Beyond the historic sites, there are over 400 miles of trails in this vast national park. You can hike and explore caves, canyons, rivers, hot springs, and other natural areas.

Looking down from a rugged cliff with some trees around, under a partly cloudy sky
El Morro National Monument has several trails leading to ancient pueblo ruins

El Morro National Monument

El Morro National Monument is a large sandstone bluff surrounded by trails. The main trail leads to a hidden watering hole that served as a stop for travelers in the west for hundreds of years.

The "Inscription Trail" is full of petroglyphs and inscriptions from ancient Puebloans and European and American Travelers. The park also has several other trails that lead to beautiful views and ancient pueblo ruins.

Historic petroglyphs carved onto huge rocks with some shrubs, under a clear blue sky
The symbols at the Petroglyph National Monument were carved 400 to 700 years ago

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument is one of the most unique monuments in New Mexico.

The protected trails are lined with hundreds of historic petroglyphs carved onto rocks and canyon walls. These symbols were carved between 400 - 700 years ago and hold cultural and spiritual significance for Native Americans.

Beyond the petroglyph trails, you can also hike a volcanic valley and ascend the ancient Vulcan Volcano.

A village with small houses on a rugged cliffs under a clear blue sky
Acoma Sky City is still home to the Native American Acoma Tribe

Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo and its surrounding lands of Acoma Sky City are National Historic Landmarks. These centuries-old sandstone dwellings are known as the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.

The Native American Acoma Tribe still lives and works around the Acoma Pueblo. Acoma people are known for their beautiful Native American art and pottery. Visitors can see the art and learn about their history while they tour the Pueblo.

Barrio de Analco Historic District

The Barrio de Analco Historic District is one of the oldest European settlements in the United States. Built in the 1600s, this historic district outlines the clashes between Native Americans and Spanish Colonizers in Santa Fe.

In 1680, Barrio de Analco was the site of the Great Pueblo Revolt. The Pueblo people grew tired of forced labor and catholic conversions imposed on them by the colonizers. Seven buildings remain intact.

A plateau-shaped rock structure on a huge empty field with small bushes
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to the picturesque Fajada Butte

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a bustling hub of Chacoan Culture, ancient ruins of multiple villages and petroglyphs can be found throughout the park.

Ruins from 6 large sites can be found along the main canyon trail. More remote sites and remains of ancient roads can be found in the backcountry. The remoteness of the park also offers prime stargazing opportunities at night.

Inside a cave, looking at caverns on its roof with yellow lighting
Explore several miles of underground caves in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the most famous places to visit in New Mexico. Situated in the Chihuahuan Desert, the park features several miles of underground caves to explore. Above ground, there are 12 different hiking trails with breathtaking desert and canyon views.

At sunset, people gather to watch hundreds of bats emerge from the caves. They descend on the desert to feed and return at dawn.

San Estevan Del Rey Mission Church Historic Site

The San Estevan Del Rey Mission Church Historic Site is on the same land as the Acoma Pueblo and Sky City. This 17th-century church was built as an attempt by colonizers to impose their beliefs on Native Americans. It was also part of the Pueblo Revolt.

Today, the church is run by the Acoma Tribal Council. Visitors can tour the area and learn more about Acoma's history.

adifferentbrian/Depositphotos.com
A steam train on a rail road winding through green hills with trees under a clear sky
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad offers views of canyons, cliffs, and wildlife

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a unique traveling landmark. Guests ride in a historic 1800s steam train exploring 64 miles of the Rocky Mountain West. There are multiple tours available with different experiences.

The train travels through several landscapes and tunnels over the historic Cascade Trestle. Onboard, visitors can catch a glimpse of towering canyons, cliffs, and local wildlife.

Las Trampas Historic District

Las Trampas Historic District is one of many historic villages on the scenic New Mexico Highway 76. It was constructed in the 1700s by Spanish settlers.

Las Trampas was very isolated from other settlers and villages at the time, so it was built from a defensive position. Large walls encased the community with lower buildings inside. The San Jose de Gracia Church, an early relic of Spanish Colonial architecture, sits within the walls of Las Trampas.

Lincoln Historic Site

The Lincoln Historic Site is comprised of 17 original structures that represent the American Southwest of the late 1800s. Visitors can tour sites famous for their "Wild West" aesthetic, including an old general store, mason lodge, and courthouse.

The Old Lincoln County Courthouse and Jail are where the infamous old west outlaw "Billy the Kid" made his daring escape. The town was also the site of the Lincoln County War.

Tall cliffs overlooking shallow brick ruins, surrounded by vegetation and shrubbery
You can explore 33,000 acres of wildlands at the Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument is one of the most significant historical landmarks in New Mexico. It has 33,000 acres of wildlands, 70 miles of trails, and many historical sites to explore. Visitors can spot remains of ancient cliff dwellings along the canyon walls from centuries ago.

Other historic sites include the Bandelier CCC Historic District. Built in 1933, The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the 31 buildings in the Bandelier CCC Historic District in traditional pueblo-style architecture for businesses and lodging.

A round bordered platform with a wooden ladder leading into the basement
Pecos National Historical Park also hosts cultural events and historical reenactments

Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is the "gateway to the plains." Humans have traversed this land for thousands of years, passing through the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

The park has trails that lead to several historic sites. You can hike to ancestral pueblos, a 17th-century Spanish church, and even a Civil War Battlefield. Cultural events and historical reenactments also occur seasonally at the park.

A steel deck arch bridge over a gorge covered with greenery under a partly cloudy sky
Rio Grande Gorge is one of the most visited scenic places in New Mexico

Rio Grande Gorge

Rio Grande Gorge is a massive, mile-wide gorge formed over one million years ago by geological activity. Today the gorge is one of the most visited scenic places in New Mexico.

Visitors come to hike along the bottom of the gorge and raft the Rio Grande River. Eight hundred fifty feet above the gorge sits the Taos Bridge, offering spectacular birds-eye views of the gorge, river, and canyon.

A village with numerous old dwellings against a mountain covered with greenery
Learn about the history and culture of the Tao people at Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is a thousand-year-old village comprised of adobe pueblos. It is the only living Native American community with a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Currently, about 150 Tao Tribal members reside in the village and 1900 more in the surrounding sacred lands. Guests can tour the village and learn about the history and culture of the Tao people.

A white sand desert with scattered green bushes under a partly cloudy sky
White Sands National Park has 275 miles of desert covered with the rare gypsum sand

White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park is one of the most unique of all the major landmarks in New Mexico. At first glance, you may think you are seeing snow, but those glittery white hills are dunes.

This rare gypsum sand covers 275 miles of desert in this national park. Popular activities at the park include hiking, biking, camping, and sledding on the dunes.

Historic Fort Bayard

Built in 1866, Fort Bayard was named for Union General George D. Bayard, who was killed in the Civil War. The United States Army military added the fort to protect the up-and-coming areas mining and business operations as they encroached on Native Apache lands.

Over time, the fort became a central post in the Apache Wars. Today, the site serves as a museum and historical center.

Rio Rancho Bosque Preserve

The Rio Rancho Bosque Preserve spans 178 acres of protected lands along the Rio Grande River. Visitors can enjoy hiking along the river and serene views of the Sandia Mountains.

Visitors may also spot native Wildlife at times. Locals often refer to the preserve as a hidden gem, as it is not as well known or trafficked as other hiking trails in the area.

markzhu/Depositphotos.com
Local people hanging out on a square with a tall monument, trees, grass, and benches
Santa Fe Plaza is a central market and a gathering place for special events

Santa Fe Plaza

Originating from a centuries-old palace and fort, the Santa Fe Plaza is now a historical and cultural landmark. These historic Spanish-colonial buildings currently serve as a central market and gathering place for special events.

You can spend the day perusing art galleries, boutiques, museums, restaurants, and bookstores. Many Native American artists also showcase and sell their work throughout the Santa Fe Plaza.

mixmotive/Depositphotos.com
A store with a signboard of "UFO and Alien Stuff" and a green alien balloon outside
You will find numerous space-themed shops, galleries, and cafes in Roswell

Roswell

Known for UFO sightings and alien cosplayers, Roswell, New Mexico, is a one-of-a-kind town in the Chihuahuan Desert. You will find space-themed cafes, shops, galleries, and attractions throughout the town. It is one of the most famous places to visit in New Mexico.

Roswell is also home to the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Exhibits related to the alleged 1947 Roswell UFO crash are displayed here.

neilld/Depositphotos.com
A cable car against tall and rugged mountains covered with green trees
Sandia Peak Tramway was built in 1966 to connect Albuquerque to the Sandia Mountains

Sandia Peak Tramway

For the more adventurous, the Sandia Peak Tramway offers stunning views of the Sandia Mountains from 1000 feet up in the air. Bell Engineering of Lucerne, Switzerland, built this aerial tramway in 1966 to connect Albuquerque to the Sandia Mountains for skiers.

Today, the tram transports hundreds of people per day to Sandia Peak for shopping, skiing, and hiking. Dining is also available at their unique mountaintop restaurant with panoramic views.

Clayton Lake State Park and Dinosaur Trackways

Clayton Lake State Park is a spacious recreational park comprised of grasslands and sandstone bluffs. The most prominent feature of this park is its dinosaur trackway.

Over 500 fossilized dinosaur tracks are visible from an extensive boardwalk trail. These preserved tracks are believed to be over one hundred million years old. Hiking, camping, and boating are also popular activities at this park.

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin Volcano National Monument is an extinct volcano that visitors can explore in various ways through the park's many hiking trails. Visitors can hike up the top of the crater or explore the lower trails and lava fields around the base.

The park is also a recognized "Gold Tier Dark Sky Park" by the International Dark Sky Association. Astronomy fans will enjoy the night sky views through the park's provided telescopes.

In Summary

Whether visiting the cultural sites and historical landmarks in New Mexico, hitting the trails, or water, there's no shortage of activities to enjoy. You can explore Native American lands, ruins of ancient cities, and follow a path of dinosaur tracks.

From deserts to mountains and art galleries to aliens, every part of the state has a uniquely immersive experience. New Mexico truly has something for everyone!

Visitors are guaranteed a great time with so many things to do in New Mexico! Whether you have a day or a week to spend, check out some of these famous New Mexico places!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Lauren Rey

L_Rey WRITER Based in Florida, but I'm always plotting out a new road trip route with my partner-in-crime, Pickles. Pickles is a mixed-breed rescue dog that loves hiking, road trips, and Starbucks as much as I do!


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