Located in the south western part of the United States, this enchanting state offers various kinds of wonders to the tourists. It is a land best known for its remarkable scenery and natural beauty but on the other hand it is also home to some of the most sensational cities like Las Vegas and Santa Fe. Adventurers often enjoy excellent hiking and skiing opportunities in this state. New Mexico is also known for its extremely scrumptious and exotic cuisine. No trip would be complete without tasting the ‘sopaipilla,’ the ‘Piñon nuts,’ or the blue corn-meal tortillas. The main attraction of this state is in the almost magical landscape that it has to offer.
The Bisti Badlands
The Bisti Badlands Is a hauntingly beautiful area of hills that have been steeply eroded into a magnificent maze of mounds, ravines and caves. Hidden away in the desert of northwestern New Mexico, these badlands are a sight to behold. Often a small variety of wildlife can be found here such as the prairie dogs, coyotes, scorpions, tarantulas, ravens and prairie falcons. People often come here to go exploring in this desolate area. Hiking, camping, photography and horseback riding are some of the common activities that are done here.
Bandera Ice Caves
The Bandera Volcano is New Mexico’s “Land of Fire and Ice.” An intricate maze of the volcano’s lava tube system once ran 19 miles long. Today, though much of this complex has collapsed, some spectacular sections still remain. One of them is the beautiful Bandera Ice Cave. Inside this queer ice cave, temperatures never seem to rise above freezing point. The floor glistens due to the reflection of the light from the entrance. In summer this cave is insulated from the sun by the large rocks on the surface. This beautiful cave is one of nature’s most miraculous creations as the right set of conditions have caused ice to accumulate inside this cave since many thousands of years.
White Sands National Monument
The world’s largest pure gypsum dune system in the world lies in the Tularosa Basin in the southwest of New Mexico. These stunning white dunes of Mexico make for some of the most beautiful and unique natural scenery you will ever find. These beautiful dunes cover an area of approximately 275 square miles. The animals living in this habitat have evolved remarkably to adapt to the conditions. Some of the wildlife here includes the Apache pocket mouse and bleached ear-less lizards.
City of Rocks
The City of Rocks State Park is a small but utterly fascinating geological wonder in New Mexico. It is composed of numerous naturally sculptured rock columns that stand up to 40 feet high. From a distance this conglomeration looks like a city on the horizon. Most of the rocks are extremely rare and only about six other places in the entire world have similar rock formations. These rocks housing 35 different species of birds are about 35 million years old. These rocks also provide shelter to the wandering tourists in the hot summer sun.
This intimidating rock formation is actually the solidified basalt lava core of a 30 million year old volcano. The Navajo called this brilliant rock formation “Tse Bitai” or “the winged rock.” According to their legend their people were flown to safety when this rock formation rose up and transported them to this new location. It is named the Ship Rock peak as it resembles the 19th century clipper ships. The ruggedness of its contours gives an insight into how violent the explosions of the volcano must have been.
Formed within a limestone chasm, this deep natural spring has water gushing into it at an unbelievable rate of 3000 gallons per minute. The Blue Hole of New Mexico gives one of the most remarkable scuba diving experiences in the south west. The water in the hole is so clear that when it remains undisturbed by divers, it is possible to see straight through to the bottom.
The Valley of Fire
Some 1000 years ago a series of fractures opened up on the floors of the Tularosa Basin unleashing thick lava flows which formed huge black, primordial looking terrain. The Valley of fires is an excellent place to see the different rock formations that lava makes. One can also observe the many rodents and reptiles that have adapted by developing abnormally dark coloration to blend in with their surroundings. The beauty of this place lies in its bizarre landscape and serene surroundings.
The Carlsbad Caverns is a gigantic network of caves within the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. Decorated with spectacular limestone columns, stalactites and stalagmites, these deep caves are a mystical wonder. These caverns today are remains from the Permian Age about 250 million years ago. The one million Mexican migratory bats inhabiting these caverns is another highlight of this place.
The Soda Dam on the Jemez river looks like a big boulder tumbled into the river to obstruct the natural flow of the water but the story of its formation is quite different. This bizarre and gigantic natural wonder started formation about one million years ago when hot underground springs released water which upon reaching the surface cooled off and left behind a thick mineral deposit of calcium carbonate. Over the course of time, this deposit of calcium carbonate grew and today it has become a 330 foot long limestone structure that has overgrown the very river itself. This fascinating work of nature is absolutely mindblowing.