Known for its incredible natural beauty and deep connection to traditional New Mexican culture, Northern New Mexico is a destination that belongs on everyone’s travel bucket list. Our region offers more than enough ways to explore, refresh yourself, and appreciate living in the moment. There are also a wide number of fascinating mountain towns that exude the charm and history for which the area is recognized. If you’re trying to decide where to go within the Land of Enchantment, here is an overview of our favorite mountain towns in New Mexico.
During your journey to the mountain towns in New Mexico, you’ll want to know about the best things to do in each destination. That’s where our complimentary Chimayo Vacation Guide comes in! This handy vacation planning tool is filled with our area’s top activities and attractions including local hiking trails, annual events, dining, theater, shopping, and much more. It’s the only thing you’ll need to plan the ultimate getaway to Northern New Mexico.
4 of the Best Mountain Towns in New Mexico
1. Santa Fe
As the state’s capital, Santa Fe reigns as one of the most historic, beautiful, and nicest towns in New Mexico. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted by awe-inspiring adobe architecture, friendly locals, and a spectacular backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visitors to this artsy town in New Mexico will never run out of exciting things to do. From world-renowned restaurants and shopping to a thriving arts community and some of the best museums in the state, this incredible city has it all!
If you’re hoping to spend some time in the great outdoors, Santa Fe also provides a wide range of fun-filled outdoor activities any time of year. It’s recognized as one of the top hiking destinations in the nation, meaning you’ll find plenty of challenging hiking trails that are sure to get your heart pumping. During the winter months, skiing becomes a very popular pastime and skiers from all over flock here to take advantage of the mountain slopes. No matter how you decide to spend your days in Santa Fe, the city’s historic charm and eclectic vibe are sure to make you want to come back for more again and again.
If you travel just 35 minutes north of Santa Fe, you’ll discover a small yet enchanting New Mexico town known as Chimayo. While this tiny town isn’t as large or popular as its neighbor, it still has many interesting things to see and do. In fact, this is the perfect escape for those looking for a quiet and peaceful getaway in the New Mexican countryside. It is also the home to our quaint Chimayo bed & breakfast, Casa Escondida!
During the 17th-century, the land upon which Chimayo stands was settled by the Spanish and became a quintessential farm town. Over the years, the residents of Chimayo perfected traditional practices such as blanket weaving, raising cattle, tending fruit orchards, and growing red and green chile. Today, you’ll still get to experience many of these ancient traditions since most of Chimayo’s current residents are descendants of the original settlers. Points of interest that are an absolute must are the Chimayo Museum, Centinela Traditional Arts, and the Rancho de Chimayo Restaurant.
Of all Chimayo’s attractions, however, the most popular by far is the El Santuario de Chimayo. This centuries-old Catholic church has been the site of many unexplainable miracles, including the mysterious wooden crucifix that kept disappearing and reappearing on a local priest. Each year during the Holy Weekend, people from all over the nation participate in an annual pilgrimage to the church to worship, ask for divine interference, and obtain a handful of Chimayo Holy Dirt, which is rumored to have incredible healing abilities.
3. Jemez Springs
Whether you’re a history buff or hoping to take a dip in New Mexico’s natural hot springs, then a visit to Jemez Springs, NM is in order! The history of this quaint village dates all the way back to 2,500 B.C. During this time, the pueblo of Guisewa inhabited the land until Spanish missionaries brought civilization to the region during the 1500s. Today, Jemez Springs retains most of its historic charm and still contains historic artifacts including the Jemez State Monument, which are ruins left behind by the pueblo. This makes the town a hot spot for historians and those who love a great history lesson.
However, the town’s main attraction is the collection of all-natural hot springs scattered throughout the Jemez Valley. These springs are formed by water that has risen to the Earth’s surface from deep volcanic aquifers. They are said to contain a variety of minerals that have almost instantaneous healing abilities. Whether you need a way to boost your immune system, battle depression, or just need a relaxing soak, the healing properties of the hot springs can help. If you’d rather not hike to the springs in the valley, the Jemez Springs Bath House is a very convenient spot to treat yourself to a little TLC. The spa uses the same mineral waters from the natural springs in rejuvenating baths prepared just for you. You can also enjoy body scrubs, waxing, and other cosmetology services. We guarantee that you’ll leave looking and feeling better than when you arrived!
Did you know that Taos, NM was once believed to be the “City of Gold” by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago? Although these rumors turned out to be false, Taos has still made a name for itself as one of the best small towns in New Mexico. Its immense natural beauty has inspired renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keefe and Aldous Huxley. Plus, adventurous visitors will find a plethora of fun things to do.
One of Taos’ most historic and popular attractions is the Taos Pueblo, a traditional pueblo village and home to several Taos Indians. It is also designated as a National Historic Landmark and World Heritage site. Visitors are welcome inside the village to experience the everyday life of the locals and explore the historic Pueblo houses. Tradition dictates that no running water or electricity are allowed inside, so you’ll discover a whole new way of life inside the village.
Ghost Ranch is another visitor favorite and boasts plenty of hiking trails to explore, museums that reveal the history of the region, and immersive workshops that anybody is invited to attend. During the winter months, you won’t want to skip a ski trip in Taos Ski Valley! Rumored to stand on sacred ground, Taos Ski Valley is a place of great cultural significance. It is also here where you will find numerous ski trails, snow tubing, ski schools, and plenty of dining! Whether you’re an avid skier or are just a beginner, we guarantee you’ll never forget a fun-filled day on the Taos slopes.
Need a Place to Stay? Welcome to Casa Escondida
A one-of-a-kind getaway to New Mexico calls for a unique place to stay! Meaning “hidden house” in Spanish, Casa Escondida definitely lives up to its name! Unlike other hotels in the mountain towns of New Mexico, our Chimayo bed and breakfast immerses guests in the culture of the Southwest with authentically-designed guest rooms, traditional New Mexican breakfast items, and a naturally beautiful setting. It’s the perfect home base for family vacations and romantic weekend getaways in New Mexico.