The excitement of exploring on your own is exhilarating, but just as exciting is the unfolding ad-venture that comes with a guided tour. What you learn and see and do with someone who knows the lay of the land quite often makes a trip. Here’s a selection of 10 tours that will have you ex-periencing New Mexico in ways you never thought possible.
Train travel opened the door to the West in the 1800s. You can experience what that was like for those intrepid travelers with a ride on this vintage coal-fired steam engine driven train. This his-toric narrow gauge railroad runs through the San Juan Mountains in the northern part of the State. The 64-scenic mile route zig-zags along the New Mexico and Colorado border through some of the most spectacular landscape in the country. An open gondola viewing car brings the scenery up-close-and personal. On-board guides provide historical context.
White water enthusiasts will find what they’re looking for on any of these trips on the Rio Grande or Rio Chama. Whether you just want to take a scenic float through the canyons or test your mettle running the rapids, there’s a river trip just right for one, a family or a group. Profes-sional and knowledgeable guides on every trip. Half-day, full-day and multi-day adventures available, some with meals. Stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking with world-class instructors also an option, if that’s more up your creek.
Visit the wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge trekking with a trusty steed … no not a horse, a llama. This wooly hiking buddy will carry all the gear, the nat-uralist guides, well-versed in mountain wisdom will point out all the sights worth seeing, and all you have to do is strap on some hiking boots and follow along. Go for a day trip or a multi-day trek through the wilderness and camp overnight. This unique excursion is a safe and educational adventure into and out of the wilderness.
Whatever the occasion, a Sunday afternoon outing or a family reunion or even a bachelorette party, a wine tour is an engaging way to see the local landscape and get a taste of the local winemaking tradition. Choose from a variety of tours including a rafting trip than wine tasting adventure, a social group tour with locals and visitors, a soak-your-bones in hot springs tour, a scenic ride to the town of Chimayo with a stop at a local winery, or create your own experience. A safe and pleasant way to sip vino and enjoy the enchanting New Mexico scenery year-round.
See historic homesteads, petrified forests, ancient petroglyphs and even get a glimpse of ancestral ruins that few get to see as you’re rocking and rolling over the geological marvels of the New Mexico backcountry. With a driver, who’s also a guide, you’ll travel through high mesas and hidden valleys, across sand dunes and past sandstone outcroppings dotted with fossilized sea shells. Tours last between three and seven hours depending on how far off the grid you want to get. Keep your eyes open for wild horses, desert tortoises and maybe even a wily coyote.
What crashed in the New Mexican desert 70 years ago? An alien space ship? A military weather balloon? Find out the answer to these and many other questions about the incident on this fun and educational tour with a top local UFO researcher. You’ll tour the city and learn about local history, as well as take a trip of the Roswell Army Air Field. The two-hour guided tour, which accommodates four people, unlocks the mysteries of the UFO crash, retrieval and cover-up of this very real incident.
Fly fishing is as much about the experience as it is about actually catching a fish. Standing hip deep in a high mountain stream or alpine lake and casting about for illusive trout is a view bor-dering on magical. The expert guides and fishermen won’t guarantee you’ll catch a fish, but they will take you to the best fishing holes in every type of water from streams to rivers to lakes and ponds in northern New Mexico. Gear, transportation, lunch, drinks and snacks are included with every tour. Day trips, both wading and floating, and multi-day overnight trips available.
An up, up and away float in a lighter-than-air craft above the Rio Grande Gorge opens up pano-ramic vistas of the entire Taos Valley. Beginning at dawn, you’ll rise and drift along on the air currents above the Rio Grande River where you might even get to make a splash-and-dash in the narrow box canyon—winds permitting. The flight ends with a champagne brunch and celebration at Rio Grande Gorge State Park. This is an all-hands-on-deck experience. You’ll get to help unfurl, inflate and deflate the balloon. Tours only go up when the winds are cooperating.
Traveling on a sure-footed steed is just an enlightening way to see … and feel … the country-side. The 1,000-acre Corralitos Ranch is a tranquil terrain that traverses hills and canyons, is dot-ted with historical landmarks, rock art, old mines and abandoned homesteads, and is home to spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The two-hour rides take you across the old Butterfield and Overland stage routes and along ancient migration routes. Rides are generally two-hours. Horses are safe and experienced on the trail. A seasoned trail hand is along to point out the best photo ops. Take your camera!
Bring your binoculars on this adventure and you might get to see an American Dipper, Three-toed Woodpecker, Dusky or Hammond’s Flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireo, Grace’s, Virginia’s, Black-throated Gray, Macgillivray’s Warblers, Gray Catbird, Common Blackhawk, Mississippi Kite or a Northern Cardinal on a variety of guided tours throughout the area. Go for a half, full or multi-day journey or a sunrise to sunset trek. A great way to experience New Mexico’s feathered friends.