Things to Do – Northern New Mexico

Northern New Mexico is as unique as it is vast!  Home to several National Forests, State Parks, Indian Pueblos and Reservations, a gateway community (Chama) for the Continental Trail Divide, the opportunities to seek, hike, hunt, fish, explore and relax are endless!

We’ve listed a few suggestions (besides our awesome railroad) to help you plan an unforgettable Northern New Mexico experience!

El Vado Lake State Park, NM

Located in New Mexico’s northern mountains, El Vado Lake State Park offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A 5.5-mile scenic trail along the Rio Chama connects El Vado with nearby Heron Lake. Quiet coves around the lake are great places to catch trout and kokanee salmon. The lake and surrounding area are a major wintering ground for bald eagles and other birds.

Visit El Vado Lake State Park
State Road 112
Tierra Amarilla, NM 87575
Phone: (575) 588-7247

Heron Lake State Park, NM

A picturesque lake set among the tall pines of northern New Mexico, Heron Lake State Park has been designated a “quiet lake” where boats operate at no-wake speeds only, making it an excellent location for all types of paddle craft. Heron also has amazing sailing, cross-country skiing, and hiking. Heron is a fisherman’s pardise with record-size trout and kokanee salmon. Ice fishing is very popular in winter. Several campgrounds line the shore of this scenic lake with primitive and developed campsites are available for every taste.

Visit Heron Lake State Park
640 State Road 95
Los Ojos, NM 87551
Phone: (575) 588-7470

Hopewell Lake Campground, NM

Hopewell Lake Campground sits next to its scenic namesake lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla in northern New Mexico. Visitors enjoy horseback riding, hiking, fishing and canoeing.

Hopewell Lake is a small, man-made lake, set high in the Carson National Forest at an elevation of 9,500 feet. A forest of conifer and aspen trees covers the area and offers partial shade in the campground.

The 14-acre lake is perfect for canoeing and is regularly stocked with rainbow and brook trout. Several trails begin in the campground and are popular with horseback riders and hikers.

The campground contains a group day-use shelter and overnight campsite, as well as several family overnight sites. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Horse corrals and water troughs are on-site.

From Taos, New Mexico, take U.S. 64 about 40 miles west. The campground is on the south side of the road.

Visit Hopewell Lake Campground
Tres Piedras Ranger District
PO Box 38
Tres Piedras, NM 87577

Salmon Ruins, NM – Museum, Library and Research Center

Come visit us and see all that we have to offer…

  • Tour our 11th century ruins and a Chacoan great house
  • Experience a 19th century homestead
  • Picnic under our ramada
  • Investigate replicas of a sweatlodge, hogan, tipi, or pithouse
  • View ancient artifacts, as well as interesting new exhibits
  • Research and read in our library, specializing in the archaeology and history of the American Southwest
  • Browse our gift shop, filled with locally handcrafted Native American items and archaeological reference materials

Visit Salmon Ruins
6131 Highway 64
Bloomfield, NM 87413
Phone: (505) 632-2013
Fax: (505) 632-8633

Fish hatchery in Los Ojos, NM

Location: Village of Los Ojos, about 15 miles south of Chama.
History: Formerly called Parkview Hatchery, it was built in 1932.
Production: Catchable-sized rainbow trout, but may be converted to a fingerling rearing facility. Capable of raising three million trout fingerlings per year to be stocked in waters statewide.

Phone: (575) 588-7307

Continental Divide Trail Coalition, NM

The Land of Enchantment offers many wonderful trail experiences. From the rugged Rocky Mountains to the desert grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert, the CDT extends for 770 miles through New Mexico, a mosaic of azure skies, adobe architecture, ancient civilizations, “Wild West” desperados and red rock cliffs.

The CDT can be found through some of New Mexico’s most spectacular natural and historic landscapes. Included are The San Pedro Parks and Chama River Wildernesses with dramatic mountains, mesa tops and canyon lands made famous by Georgia O’Keefe. The Rio Puerco wildlands, the thousand-year-old Zuni-Acoma trade routes, The El Malpais National Monument badlands are some of the nation’s best examples of recent volcanic landscapes. The CDT also travels through The Aldo Leopold Wilderness, The Gila Wilderness (our nation’s first), and ends at the Big Hatchet Mountains Wilderness Study Area, the stomping grounds of Geronimo.

New Mexico is home to a variety of fauna and flora. Pike, pronghorn antelope, roadrunner, lizard, javelina and turkey vultures are on the list. Plant life includes, but is not limited to pinon, juniper, ponderosa pine, cottonwood, aspen, mesquite, leafy aster, prickly pear, and yucca.

Visit Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Phone: (303) 996-2759

Chaco Canyon – National Historical Park, NM

The center of an ancient world…Today the massive buildings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico. The park can only be accessed by driving on dirt roads.

Visit Chaco Canyon National Historical Park
Directions to Chaco Canyon

Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center, NM

Ghost Ranch is a unique combination of natural beauty, paleontology, geology, archaeology, history, and art. It is not just the values of each of these separate aspects, but rather the synergy of all of them that makes Ghost Ranch a unique place to experience.

Ghost Ranch is located 65 miles northwest of Santa Fe (forty miles beyond Española) on U.S. 84 between mile markers 224 and 225.

Visit Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center
Directions to Ghost Ranch
Phone: 505-685-1000
Toll Free: (877) 804-4678