I remember my first New Mexico road trip, face pressed against a station wagon window as my parents cruised still-commissioned Route 66 through Tucumcari. Neon signs flickered in the cobalt-blue dusk, and murals of dancing kachinas had an otherworldly energy.
As soon as I had my license, I would pile friends into my Mazda hatchback and we’d venture to Carlsbad Caverns and points beyond. Throwing snowballs on an empty Taos plaza, staying at the now-defunct College of Santa Fe after all-night desert drives, and camping out under star-blanketed skies are simple but beloved memories of the absolute freedom of road trips.
Nowadays, it’s my young children staring out of a Subaru Outback at passing deserts and mountains, usually only after their game batteries have thankfully died. After a lulling silence, questions begin to percolate from the back seat. “Dad, how old is that?” “How did these mountains form?” One question leads to another, and I grin out to the open road ahead as my kids take an interest in their state.
These 3 New Mexico road trips are just a few of my favorites that hold decades of memories for me. I hope you explore these routes and make memories of your own.