Jemez Mountains

The Jemez Mountains wind from Los Alamos to Jemez Springs in northwestern New Mexico. One of the most scenic settings in the entire state sets the stage for all types of outdoor adventures and relaxing vacations. A scenic daytrip from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, these mountains are the perfect place to get away from it all. Whether you choose to stay in one of the Jemez Mountain cabins, one of its hotels, or you visit for the day, you'll have the chance to experience a place that's filled with natural beauty.

Much of this area is set aside as federally or state-protected land—vast expanses where you can go hiking, admire the views, and stay in Jemez Mountains cabins. The Santa Fe National Forest protects 1.6 million acres of land, including Truchas Peak. Besides amazing opportunities for wildlife watching, the forest is a popular place for wilderness camping and driving scenic byways. You'll also find some of the Jemez Hot Springs, mineral-rich waters heated deep within the earth. Once they return to the surface, they are warm and relaxing.

At the Valles Caldera National Preserve, another federal site, you'll find many things to do. Located in the southern Jemez Mountains, the preserve was a private ranch until 2000 when it was opened for the public's enjoyment. This is a terrific place for discovering the mountain's volcanic past up close; the site covers a now-collapsed volcanic crater. The same geologic forces that create the Jemez hot springs created this crater long in the past. These days, wintertime visitors enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The sleigh rides are an experience you won't soon forget. When the snow melts, you'll find ample opportunities for hiking and hunting, as well as horseback riding. Many of the Jemez Mountain cabins are located within a few minutes of this outdoor wonderland.

At the Bandelier National Monument, you'll have the chance to discover the history of the Jemez Mountains. The Pueblo People, in ancient times, built some amazing structures still standing today. A visitor center and guided ranger tours explain this one-of-a-kind story. Hiking trails wind through the sprawling site—popular for cross-country skiing in the winter and backpacking in the summer. The site also has two campgrounds and a full schedule of interpretive tours.

The monument is located in Los Alamos. This town may best known as the home of the Los Alamos National Lab, whose mission has expanded greatly since World War II. One of the best ways to discover this place is with a visit to the Bradbury Science Museum. At one of the most interesting New Mexico museums, the Bradbury details the history of Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project as well as the current research of laboratory scientists.

After some outdoor adventure and exploring the wonders of science, you'll be more than ready to relax. With a short trip to the community of Jemez Springs, you'll find warm springs where you go for a dip and relax your cares away. The Jemez hot springs long have drawn people this is part of New Mexico. The tradition continues at the area's only bathhouse, which offers an array of therapeutic treatments. Jemez Springs is especially lovely in the fall, when the trees put on a spectacular show.

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