The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway is a scenic drive that spans approximately 50 miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, New Mexico, passing through the Westside of the state. Here’s more information about this beautiful and historic route:
Route: The Turquoise Trail follows New Mexico State Highway 14 and State Highway 536, connecting Albuquerque in the south to Santa Fe in the north. The route winds through the scenic landscapes of the Sandia Mountains and the Cibola National Forest.
Scenic Beauty: The Turquoise Trail offers breathtaking vistas of the New Mexico countryside. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of rugged mountains, expansive forests, colorful mesas, and vast desert plains.
Historic Mining Towns: The Turquoise Trail is renowned for its connection to the mining history of the region. As you travel along the route, you’ll encounter several historic mining towns, including Madrid, Golden, and Cerrillos. These towns offer a glimpse into the past with their preserved architecture, art galleries, shops, and museums.
Artistic and Cultural Heritage: The Turquoise Trail is known for its vibrant arts community. You’ll find numerous art galleries, studios, and craft shops showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. The area is rich in cultural heritage, and visitors can explore Native American, Spanish, and Western influences through various artistic expressions.
Outdoor Recreation: The Turquoise Trail passes through or near several outdoor recreational areas. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping in the surrounding mountains and forests.
Wildlife Viewing: The scenic byway offers opportunities for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for various species of birds, including raptors, as well as deer, elk, and other wildlife that inhabit the area.
Historic Sites: The Turquoise Trail is dotted with historic sites and landmarks. One notable stop is the Sandia Peak Tramway, which provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, the area boasts historic churches, mining remnants, and ancient Native American sites.
Unique Shops and Restaurants: Along the Turquoise Trail, you’ll find charming shops and eateries offering unique treasures and local cuisine. From turquoise jewelry and pottery to southwestern-style cuisine, the area showcases the distinct flavors and craftsmanship of New Mexico.
Festivals and Events: The towns along the Turquoise Trail host various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating art, music, heritage, and more. These events provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy live performances and festivities.
Visitor Information: The Turquoise Trail offers visitor information centers where you can obtain maps, brochures, and helpful advice on exploring the route and its surrounding attractions.
The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway is a captivating drive that combines natural beauty, rich history, artistic expression, and outdoor recreation. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic mining towns, admiring local art, or simply enjoying the stunning landscapes, this scenic route on the Westside of New Mexico offers a memorable journey through the heart of the state.