New Mexico Hiking
6 days
From $ 3399
Duration6 days

Spend six adventurous days under the powerful spell of New Mexico’s desert skies. New Mexico is all at once an alluring escape and a magnificent adventure. The rugged desert landscapes provide excellent terrain for hikes, and the wildflowers, oak trees and mountains each play their part in forming incredible views along the journey. This adventure takes us from south to north. Visit parks, monuments and historical sites, with ample time to enjoy the bounty of New Mexico’s natural and cultural riches. Beginning near the Texas border, hike in Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, then play in the ethereal White Sands National Monument. Explore Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s exceptionally well-preserved fossil reef, and marvel at the stalactite-filled wonderland of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. From here, head to vibrant Santa Fe. Hike in Bandelier National Monument to explore ancestral Puebloan caves and cliff dwellings dating back hundreds of years. Our journey concludes with a visit to the charming mountain town of Taos and a tour of Taos Pueblo, a place where ancient history and modern-day existence collide, and the perfect way to cap off this jaunt through magical New Mexico.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 6 days
    Service level: Standard
  • Starts in: Rocky Mountains
    Physical Grading: Light
  • Ages: 18+
New Mexico Hiking - Tour Map


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Day 1: Explore Organ Mountains and White Sands National Monuments.

Start place: Rocky Mountains

Our trip begins today in El Paso, Texas. Meet your guides and fellow explorers at 7am in the lobby of our host hotel. After an orientation, we board our vehicle and cross into New Mexico during the 90-minute drive to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This rugged and beautiful region is new to the national monument family, established in 2014 to preserve its vast natural resources. Rising thousands of feet above the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert, the summits and spires of the monument’s mountain ranges serve as a dramatic backdrop for our first warm-up hike. After our scenic walk among the wildflowers, agave and oak trees, we travel east to White Sands National Monument. Here we play in an otherworldly landscape of white gypsum sand, sand sledding down and hiking among the rolling dunes. Our final destination this afternoon is Carlsbad, our base for the next two nights. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: up to 4 miles with 450’ of elevation gain/loss; Driving time: 5-6 hours.
Meals: D
Day 2: Discover Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns.
After breakfast this morning we head back south, just over the Texas border to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Containing one of the finest examples of an ancient fossil reef in North America as well as providing habitat to a diverse assortment of flora and fauna, this park is a highlight of any adventure in the Chihuahuan Desert. Today’s hike is along the Devil’s Hall Trail, leading us through canyon bottoms, across rocky slopes, up natural stone staircases and into a narrow slot canyon. Along the way we marvel at the mixture of desert and mountain plants, abundant birdlife and fascinating geology. After a tasty guide-prepared picnic lunch, we transfer to our second national park of the day, Carlsbad Caverns. Entering the park’s mysterious subterranean world, we explore the fantastic cave formations and giant underground rooms, appreciating the amazing handiwork created by water coursing through limestone below the Earth’s surface. All meals included.
Hiking: up to 4 miles with 550’ of elevation gain and 1,300’ of elevation loss (750’ loss in Carlsbad Caverns with elevator out); Driving time: 2.5 hours.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: Travel north and visit Pecos National Monument en route to Santa Fe.
We begin the day with breakfast in Roswell, where our guides entertain us with theories that attempt to explain the crash of an unidentified flying object at a nearby ranch in 1947. Continuing north across the plains, we arrive at Pecos National Monument and investigate the fascinating set of ruins featuring an ancient Pueblo and Spanish Mission Church from the early 1600’s. Long before Europeans arrived, Pecos was a strategic trade center located between the Rio Grande Valley and the Great Plains. By the early 1800’s the last native residents moved west to Jemez Pueblo and the entire village was abandoned. At the end of today’s road trip Santa Fe awaits, and we have the remainder of the afternoon and evening on our own to explore, shop and dine in this marvelous state capital and vibrant center for artists and craftspeople from around the region. Breakfast and lunch included.
Walking: Up to 2 miles with minimal elevation gain/loss; Driving time: 5.5 hours.
Meals: B, L
Day 4: Visit Bandelier National Monument and the Bradbury Science Museum.
Prepare for a day filled with fascinating contrasts; a visit to ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins and to the birthplace of the Atomic Age. We spend the morning at Bandelier National Monument hiking interconnecting trails to ruins and cliff dwellings located in beautiful Frijoles Canyon. Although human history in the area dates back 10,000 years, these habitations were only occupied from 1150 AD to the early 1500’s when the inhabitants relocated to pueblos along the Rio Grande. During World War II, Bandelier’s headquarters buildings were used to house scientists working on the Manhattan Project in nearby Los Alamos. After our hike, we head to Los Alamos—The Atomic City—where the first atomic bombs where constructed during World War II. We explore the related exhibits at the excellent Bradbury Science Museum before returning to Santa Fe for a fun, delicious dinner in one of the city’s great restaurants. All meals included.
Hiking: up to 3 miles with up to 500’ of elevation gain/loss; Driving time: 2.5 hours.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Go whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande. Take a walking tour of Taos.
We travel north to charming Taos today, stopping at the dramatic Rio Grande Gorge to enjoy a morning whitewater rafting trip on the “Racecourse” section of one of the nation’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers. Depending on water levels, this stretch of river can include some big waves and surging eddies or a milder but more technical paddling challenge. Regardless of conditions, we paddle as a team under the instructions of an experienced river guide. After our time on the water, we climb out of the dramatic basalt gorge and finish our drive to Taos. Once in town, we take a guided walking tour and see sites such as Kit Carson’s House, the Taos Plaza and the fabulous San Francisco de Assisi Church. Those interested in absorbing some additional local culture can visit the town’s wide variety of galleries, coffeehouses and museums. Overnight in Taos tonight. All meals included.
Rafting: 3 hours (Class III); Driving time: 2.5 hours.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Visit Taos Pueblo. Drive the High Road en route back to Albuquerque.
Our final day together begins with a visit to historic Taos Pueblo—a thriving trade center for 900 years and still occupied to this day. We tour the Pueblo with a native guide and learn about the history of the Red Willow People as we walk among the adobe buildings. At tour’s end, we begin the drive back to Albuquerque along the High Road. This gorgeous highway winds along the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains passing through quaint villages, pastoral valleys and broad mountain slopes with incredible views. We stop at the tranquil grounds of world famous El Santuario de Chimayo, built in 1816. With its thick adobe walls, two bell towers and six-foot crucifix, the church is considered a prime example of Spanish Colonial architecture. A lovely finale to our adventure in the Land of Enchantment! We return to Albuquerque by 4:30pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: up to 2 miles with minimal elevation gain/loss; Driving time: 4 hours.
Meals: B, L



  • Five nights hotel accommodations
  • professional guide leadership
  • roundtrip van transportation from El Paso, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • all meals beginning with lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 6 except dinner on Day 3
  • Rio Grande rafting trip and related gear
  • Taos Pueblo tour
  • national park and monument entry fees and local taxes
  • Accommodation

    Hotels, 5 nights

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