Scenic and Historic Byways in the Santa Fe National Forest

16 Miles; NM Highway 475

Santa Fe Scenic Byway, fall photo

This nationally recognized strip of highway starts at the historic Santa Fe Plaza and ends 16 miles later at the Santa Fe Ski Area. This drive is perhaps most iconic in the fall when the aspen turn a fiery gold and the mountains literally shimmer in the sunlight.

There are many great stops on the way. Vista Grande Overlook, near the top of the byway, has spectacular views of the Rio Grande Valley that lies between the two major mountain ranges on the Santa Fe National Forest - the Jemez Mountains on the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east. On a clear day, the cities of Santa Fe, Los Alamos, White Rock and Albuquerque are visible from this vista. Big Tesuque and Aspen Vista both have great views of the fall foliage. The Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway, also called Hyde Park Road, provides access to several popular campgrounds, picnic areas and trails.  


163 Miles; NM 4, NM 126, NM 44

Jemez Ruins, photo

The Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway takes you through time and past amazing geological formations, ancient Indian ruins and the Pueblo of Jemez. This part of the Santa Fe National Forest has a rich traditional and cultural history as well as a legacy of logging, mining and ranching. 

Beginning north of Albuquerque in the village of San Ysidro at the junction of NM 44 and NM 4, this trail winds through the beautiful Jemez Mountains. Roughly 65 miles of the scenic byway cross the Santa Fe National Forest.

Communities along the route include Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs and Cuba. Some of the notable sights accessible from the scenic byway include Soda Dam, a natural dam formed by thousands of years of mineral deposits from a spring, Seven Springs and the ancient cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument. Take your time, and enjoy all the sights along the way.

For more information on America's Scenic Byways visit