Embarking on an I-25 road trip in New Mexico is a fantastic way to explore the Land of Enchantment. While it may not have the same level of fame as Route 66, I-25 is a crucial artery that connects the state from north to south. Whether you’re a New Mexican looking to discover hidden gems or a traveler passing through, there are plenty of exciting destinations along this route. So, buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey!
As you start your road trip from the north, the charming town of Raton welcomes you with open arms. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Raton Pass, this historic town offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Explore the picturesque downtown area, visit the Raton Museum, or hike along the scenic trails in Sugarite Canyon State Park. In the wintertime, the roads between here and Colorado can be quite dangerous, so make sure to take your time and travel during good weather conditions.
2. Las Vegas
Continuing south, you’ll come across another hidden gem – Las Vegas. No, not the famous one in Nevada, but its New Mexican counterpart. This vibrant city is steeped in history and boasts stunning Victorian architecture. Take a stroll along the Plaza, and see the Historic Plaza Hotel along with various antique shops, cafes, and cantinas. Be sure to visit the Montezuma Castle and Hot Springs and the Dawn Light Sanctuary, or immerse yourself in the local culture at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge.
3. Santa Fe
Next on your journey is the enchanting city of Santa Fe. Known for its rich artistic heritage and adobe-style architecture, Santa Fe is a feast for the senses. Explore the historic Plaza and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and be sure to indulge in the vibrant culinary scene. Be sure not to miss the turquoise vendors across from the plaza, as it is a great opportunity to get some Native handmade jewelry and support local artisans. Don’t forget to take a scenic drive up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin or visit the iconic Loretto Chapel with its miraculous staircase.
Another idea worth a visit is the Santa Fe Railyard and see more local art, restaurants, and check out the market every Saturday, where you can find produce from local farmers, in addition to many locally produced arts and wares. Finally, perhaps the most fun idea for some is Meow Wolf, an interactive artistic experience great for the whole family.
Continuing south on I-25, you’ll reach the vibrant city of Albuquerque. Famous for its annual Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque offers a plethora of attractions for visitors. Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway for breathtaking views of the city, immerse yourself in the colorful Old Town, or explore the fascinating exhibits at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the magical River of Lights which takes place around Old Town in the ABQ Biopark. Old Town is worth a visit at any time of year, with its plaza being comparable to the old Mesilla Plaza in Las Cruces.
While in Albuquerque, be sure to visit us to get your chile fix at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE 87112! A visit to a chile roaster is a great idea while traveling in New Mexico. While here, you can find plenty of souvenirs to take home, whether it is fresh chile, roasted chile, dried chile, a chile ristra, or something else.
For those of you looking for more information about travel ideas in the Duke City, be sure to check out our travel guide to Albuquerque!
5. The Socorro Area
The Socorro area comprises Lemitar, Socorro, and San Antonio. This region is the second most popular area for chile in New Mexico after Hatch, and many farmers here produce a fantastic product. We source a decent amount of our fresh green chile from the farm Snake Ranch in San Antonio. They have a farm store open during the chile season that is definitely worth a visit. Buckthorn and the Owl Cafe are also great places for a green chile cheeseburger if you are hungry.
In Socorro, be sure to visit the Geology Museum located at New Mexico Tech, with one of the best rock collections in New Mexico. Make a pitstop for lunch or dinner at El Camino, a favorite with students at NM Tech as well as locals in Socorro.
6. Truth or Consequences
Originally named Hot Springs, this is town with a long name changed in order to host the radio quiz show “Truth or Consequences” back in 1950. While here, take a dip in the hot springs and enjoy the artsy downtown area. While here, be sure to have a pint at Truth or Consequences Brewing Company, a place that serves up some really fine beverages.
As you venture further south, make a stop in the small town of Hatch. Known as the “Chile Capital of the World,” Hatch is a haven for spice lovers. Sample delicious New Mexican cuisine, visit the local chile farms, or attend the annual Hatch Chile Festival. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you! Speaking of taste buds, while in Hatch, be sure to visit Sparky’s, one of the most famous green chile cheeseburger destinations in New Mexico.
8. Las Cruces
Your I-25 road trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Las Cruces. This vibrant city offers a mix of rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and cultural attractions. Explore the historic Old Mesilla Plaza, hike through the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, or indulge in some retail therapy at the downtown farmers market. Las Cruces is the perfect place to unwind and soak in the beauty of southern New Mexico. For those looking for something chile related, seeing the annual Chile Drop for New Years is a great idea!
Enjoy your I-25 Road Trip!
As you reach the end of your I-25 road trip, take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve made along the way. New Mexico is a state full of surprises, and this road trip is just the tip of the iceberg. So, grab your keys, hit the road, and let the Land of Enchantment captivate you with its charm and beauty! Check out our guide in case you are planning to make a turn in Albuquerque so you can follow Route-66
Another great thing to note about traveling on I-25 is that most chile growing regions of New Mexico run north to south following the Rio Grande like our interstate. I take this road frequently to visit chile farms.