The U.S. National Park Service's Destination: New Mexico

List of National Monuments and Parks in New Mexico:

- Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM: The Pueblo people consider this site an integral part of their migration journey. You can follow their footsteps through ancient passageways to experience a long-gone era. Discover a 900-year-old ancestral Pueblo Great House with over 400 rooms made of masonry. The original timbers still support the roof above you. Trace the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar. Listen carefully, and you might hear the echo of ritual drums in the reconstructed Great Kiva.

Tyuonyi Pueblo and Big Kiva from Frey Trail

- Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos, NM: This park spans over 33,000 acres of rugged and scenic canyon and mesa terrain. It also presents evidence of human presence dating back more than 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the rocky cliffs, and standing walls made of masonry pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still exists in the nearby communities.

Capulin Volcano National Monument by J. Unruh

- Capulin Volcano National Monument in Capulin, NM: Part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field that covers 8,000 square miles in northeastern New Mexico, Capulin Volcano showcases the geology of volcanic origin unique to that area. The panoramic views from the rim of the volcano, which overlooks four different states, are breathtaking both during the day and at night when you can stargaze and marvel at one of the darkest skies in the country.

Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

- Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Carlsbad, NM: The Chihuahuan Desert has a plethora of treasures both above and below the surface. High sea ledges from ancient times, deep rocky canyons, blooming cactus, and a variety of desert wildlife are just some of the natural wonders in store for visitors. Below the surface lies over 119 caves formed from sulfuric acid dissolving limestone, materializing in caverns of different sizes.

Overlooking Chetro Ketl

Welcome to National Parks in New Mexico! Within these parks lies a rich history and a unique experience waiting for you.

First stop is Chaco Culture, located in Nageezi, NM. Witness the impressive testament to the Ancestral Puebloan people's organizational and engineering skills. Come discover the canyon that served as a central hub for thousands of people from 850 to 1250 CE through guided tours, hiking and biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.

Sweeping panoramic views of lava flows, cinder cones, and distant mountains can be enjoyed at Sandstone Bluffs.

Next up is El Malpais in Grants, NM; richly diverse volcanic landscapes offering solitude, recreation, and adventure. Experience unique geologic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, lava tube caves and sandstone bluffs. People have been adapting to and living in this extraordinary terrain for generations. Come discover the land of fire and ice!

El Morro in Ramah, NM is our next destination. Imagine the relief of finding hidden water after days of dusty travel. El Morro served as a popular campsite for hundreds of years, where ancestral Puebloans, Spanish, and American travelers carved over 2,000 signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs. Make El Morro National Monument a stopping point on your travels.

Historic inscriptions carved in the bluff at El Morro.

Our last stop is Fort Union in Watrous, NM. The largest 19th-century military fort ruins in the region boast of an agent of political and cultural change in New Mexico and the Southwest. It functioned for forty years, from 1851-1891, exposed to the wind within a sweeping valley of short grass prairie, amid the swales of the Santa Fe Trail.

Frost on wagons in Mechanics Corral of Fort Union

Come ready for an adventurous trip full of history and stunning landscapes at National Historical Parks in New Mexico.

  • National Monument

    Cliff Dwellings of Gila

    Silver City, New Mexico

    View of Mogollon rooms in Gila Cliff Dwellings

    For millennia, wandering groups took refuge in caves above Cliff Dweller Creek. In the late 1200s, the Mogollon people of the Southern Ancestral Pueblo culture called it a permanent home. They constructed rooms, created pottery, and raised children in the cliff dwellings for up to two generations. By roughly 1300, the Mogollon had moved on, leaving the dwellings behind.

  • National Historical Park

    Manhattan Project

    workers housing in Happy Valley

    Manhattan Project National Historical Park: New Mexico, Washington, Tennessee

    The Manhattan Project is among the most transformative events in the 20th century. It sparked the nuclear age with the production of the world's first atomic bombs. In 1942, the construction of atomic weapons began in three secret communities across the United States. By the end of World War II, the United States had dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, altering the course of history.

  • Red Rock Country, pack mules, Gunnison River

    National Historic Trail

    Old Spanish

    Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah

    Follow the path of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, which extends from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California. Merchants from New Mexico transported locally-produced goods across what are now six states in exchange for mules and horses.

  • Mission church view at Pecos National Historical Park

    National Historical Park

    Pecos

    Pecos, New Mexico

    Pecos is a cultural confluence where hunters and gatherers, traders, conquerors and explorers, immigrants, soldiers, ranchers and tourists passed through. Trek the trails and visualize Pecos through the ages. Discover sites where cultural traditions and practices continue to thrive today—a living heritage of the people who traversed this land. Welcome to Pecos, where the past converges with the present.

  • Petroglyphs and volcanic escarpment view from the Mesa Point trail at Boca Negra Canyon.

    National Monument

    Discover Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, NM, where one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America is protected. The volcanic rocks boast designs and symbols carved by Native Americans and Spanish settlers between 400 and 700 years ago. These images serve as a significant documentation of cultural expression and hold immense spiritual importance for both contemporary Native Americans and the descendants of early Spanish settlers.

    Quarai 2014

    National Monument

    Nestled in the heart of New Mexico, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument offers a view into a unique time in history - full of cultural borrowing, conflict, and hardship. The three distinct sites remain as a reminder of the early encounters between Spanish and Pueblo peoples while highlighting the need for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among diverse communities.

    freight wagons on the Santa Fe Trail

    National Historic Trail

    Travel back in time as you follow the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through CO, KS, MO, NM, and OK. Hear the sounds of trail hands hitching their oxen to freight wagons as they transport goods between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Get ready for an adventure as you explore evidence of past travelers who made this remarkable journey before you.

    View of an oval, grassy area--the caldera--surrounded by mountains.

    National Preserve

    The Valles Caldera in Jemez Springs, NM, is a national preserve that was formed over 1.25 million years ago by a volcanic eruption that created a 13-mile wide circular depression. This natural wonder is known for its massive mountain meadows, diverse wildlife, and meandering streams and represents the ancestral homeland of Native people, as well as the rich ranching history of the region.

    The dunes in soft light

    National Park

    Experience the awe-inspiring wonder of nature in the heart of the Tularosa Basin, where the world is transformed by the shimmering beauty of New Mexico's white sands. Within the sprawling 275 square miles of desert, the great waves of gypsum sands have sculpted the largest dunefield on the planet. And at White Sands National Park, this treasure is carefully preserved, along with the rich diversity of plants and animals that call it home. Come and discover the timeless magic of this unique landscape."

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