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The Turquoise Trail: New Mexico's Road Trip Route

By Courtney Clark

Are we there yet? Road trips are fun for some, but long stretches of highway can seem endless. In central New Mexico, however, the trip from Albuquerque to Santa Fe is anything but boring.

The Turquoise Trail (the road and its surrounding areas) encompasses 15,000 square miles in central New Mexico. The Trail is named after the blue-green mineral the area is famous for- first mined and used by the Pueblo people as early as 900 A.D. Patricia Brown, Association Secretary, tells us that, "The original purpose of the Trail was to provide travelers an alternate route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe."

Today, it's more than just a route. "Little villages along the Trail offer unique opportunities for discovery," says Brown. "Arts, crafts and recreation and history abound in the area. It is the scenic way to to travel between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, off of the Interstate."

While you're traveling, learn a little bit about the history and culture of the area. Check out the Cerillos Turquoise Mining Museum to learn more about the mineral the area was named for, or the Old Coal Town Museum in Madrid. A variety of art galleries dot the trail, paying homage to the area's Native American art influences. There are also "excellent local restaurants in the towns of Cedar Crest , Golden, Madrid, & Cerrillos," says Brown.

Road trippers can also get in touch with nature. Brown tells us that there is access to the Cibola National Forest, the Sandia Crest, and the Cerrillos Hills State Park along the route. Each destination offers mountain hiking trails and the option to see beautiful wildlife such as black bears, sheep, turkeys, mountain lions, and bobcats.

The Trail is a lovely scenic route for those who are traipsing through New Mexico. But don't just drive through- stop in a town, visit a museum, or take a hike. After all, the fun is not in the destination- but the journey.

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About The Author

Courtney Clark graduated from Flagler College with a BA in English and Creative...

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