Recreation & Outings - Albuquerque Journal

Recreation & Outings

Heritage sites

New Mexico boasts three World Heritage Sites, a coveted designation from UNESCO, more than any other state.

55) Taos Pueblo

Likely constructed about A.D. 1325, with roots that stretch back beyond A.D. 1000, cited for “the significance of its traditional Native American living culture.”

56) Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Thousands of ancestral Puebloans lived in the massive buildings in Chaco from about A.D. 850 to 1250. A particularly impressive event is the summer solstice sunrise when the precisely engineered Casa Rinconada kiva reveals a pattern of light and shadow as the sun begins its climb in the sky.

57) Carlsbad Caverns National Park

With more than 120 limestone caves that natural forces carved about 25,000 years ago, the park is one of the best preserved and most accessible cave systems available for scientific study in the world.

Golf courses

For a desert state, New Mexico is liberally sprinkled with lush golf courses to lure the discerning putter. Golf Digest ranked these as the state’s top courses for 2021-22 (public and private, accessible to public).

58) Paako Ridge Golf Club, Sandia Park

In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, Paako Ridge combines three nine-hole courses to create an unending series of challenges.

59) The Club at Las Campanas, Santa Fe

Two championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses woven through the natural high desert beauty of northern New Mexico. Each of the 18-hole courses offers a golfing experience enhanced by glorious mountain vistas.

60) Black Mesa Golf Club, La Mesilla

Black Mesa is a links-style course set against a backdrop of stunning sandstone ridges. The 18-hole course offers a majestic desert golf experience on rolling fairways extending through mountainous valleys.

61) Twin Warriors Golf Club, Santa Ana Pueblo

Twin Warriors is unique in that it winds around 22 cultural sites of previous habitation, creating a challenging and fair test of golf. There are numerous picturesque holes.

62) Cochiti Golf Club, Cochiti Lake

The 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. public golf course is conveniently located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It is nestled in the beautiful high desert terrain of northern New Mexico with the blue waters of Cochiti Lake as a refreshing backdrop.

63) Piñon Hills Golf Course, Farmington

With a high desert layout and lots of green grass, the course has a relaxing, parkland feel. The fairways and greens were contoured to the rolling shape of the landscape.

64) Rockwind Community Links, Hobbs

Designed and built as a Scottish-style links course, Rockwind features rolling hills, few trees and undulating greens and fairways.

65) Sandia Golf Club, Albuquerque

The 7,752-yard golf course was designed by Scott Miller and will challenge and delight golfers of all skill levels with a layout routed through the rugged high desert landscape featuring panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains and greater Albuquerque area.

66) Red Hawk Golf Club, Las Cruces

Red Hawk’s links-style design is player friendly at all levels. Playing directly at the Organ Mountains can be visually intimidating for first-timers.

State parks

Outdoor recreation is a driving force in New Mexico’s economy and the state’s 35 designated state parks are key players. For a complete list of parks, go to and click on “state parks.” Following is a completely unscientific list of favorite state parks if you’re planning a particular summer activity.

Hyde Memorial
Elephant Butte
Murphy Lake
Bluewater Lake
Heron Lake
Coyote Creek
Manzano Mountains

Sugarite Canyon
Cerrillos Hills
Oliver Lee Memorial
Hyde Memorial

City of Rocks
Clayton Lake
Leasburg Dam
Cerrillos Hills

Navajo Lake
Bluewater Lake
Cimarron Canyon
Ute Lake
Eagle Nest Lake
El Vado Lake
Fenton Lake
Heron Lake
Clayton Lake
Coyote Creek
Morphy Lake
Sugarite Canyon

Navajo Lake
Elephant Butte
Bluewater Lake
Caballo Lake

Bottomless Lakes
Heron Lake
Elephant Butte

Pancho Villa
City of Rocks
Leasburg Dam
Percha Dam
Caballo Lake
Elephant Butte
Mesilla Valley Bosque

Ghost towns

New Mexico’s past yields a modern state sprinkled with ghost towns, bygone reminders of the Old West and mining history.

74) Madrid

This former mining town on the N.M. 14 Turquoise Trail doesn’t really count as a ghost town as it enjoys new life as a bustling artist enclave and tourist destination. But reminders of its mining past remain, including derelict miners’ shacks in the south end and more well-kept buildings such as the popular Mine Shaft Tavern.

75) Lake Valley

An old silver mining town south of Hillsboro in Sierra County, Lake Valley has a small museum located in the old schoolhouse. It’s filled with artifacts donated by local folks. There’s also a restored chapel that visitors can enter.

76) White Oaks

In southeast New Mexico near Lincoln, a few people still live in the town known primarily for the No Scum Allowed Saloon, which survives with a mix of special events and old-time Western atmosphere. The joint was named the best-known country bar in New Mexico by Discovery Channel.

77) Pinos Altos

Found just north of Silver City, site of the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House, which dates back to the original gold rush days. Another building that dates back to the early days of town, a former log cabin and schoolhouse, now houses the Pinos Altos Historical Museum.

Other Things To Do This Summer

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