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 in the historic downtown plaza in Santa Fe and ends, 16 miles later, at the Santa Fe Ski Area. This drive is most scenic in the autumn when the aspen colors are in full effect.

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 between the Jemez Mountains to the West and the Sangre de Cristos.  The cities of Santa Fe, Los Alamos, White Rock, and on clear days, even Albuquerque are visible form this vista.  Big Tesuque and Aspen Vista both have great views of the fall foliage. In addition to great views there are also a number of campgrounds and picnic areas along the way. 

163 Miles; NM 4, NM 126, NM 44

Jemez Ruins, photo
  • Jemez Mountain Trail takes you through time and past amazing geological formations, ancient Indian ruins, and an Indian pueblo. The area is rich in logging, mining, and ranching heritage. 

Roughly 65 miles of this lengthy trail are located in the Santa Fe National Forest. 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.

Along the route are the towns of Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, and Cuba, among others. There are also great stop-offs at Soda Dam (a natural dam formed by thousands of years of minerals from a natural 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