New Mexico’s National Parks

Staff - April 7, 2019

Here is a list of New Mexico's National Parks, Monuments, and Trails.

NATIONAL MONUMENT
Aztec Ruins
Aztec, NM
Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar. Listen for an echo of ritual drums in the reconstructed Great Kiva.
[Great Kiva with Walls of West Ruin]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Bandelier
Los Alamos, NM
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities. Bandelier Cliff Dwellings
[Bandelier Cliff Dwellings]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Capulin Volcano
Capulin, NM
Come view a dramatic landscape—a unique place of mountains, plains, and sky. Born of fire and forces continually reshaping the earth’s surface, Capulin Volcano provides access to nature’s most awe-inspiring work. Capulin Volcano
[Capulin Volcano National Monument by J. Unruh]
NATIONAL PARK
Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad, NM
High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus and desert wildlife - treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 known caves - all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes. **Check out our new "Park Ranger Blog" feature! Learn all about the park from a ranger's viewpoint. Carlsbad Caverns
[Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns]
NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Chaco Culture
Nageezi, NM
Today the massive buildings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs. Chaco Canyon
[Overlooking Chetro Ketl]
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
NM,TX
Take a journey on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail to savor 300 years of heritage and culture in the Southwest. This Spanish colonial "royal road" in New Mexico and Texas originally extended to Mexico City, Mexico. Walking the trail in the Jornada del Muerto, a scorching 90-mile stretch of El Camino wherein colonists had to leave the cool Rio Grande to continue their journey north El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
[Two-wheeled carretas carried goods up El Camino from Mexico City in 1598]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
El Malpais
Grants, NM
The richly diverse volcanic landscape of El Malpais offers solitude, recreation, and discovery. Explore cinder cones, lava tube caves, sandstone bluffs, and hiking trails. Wildlife abounds in the open grasslands and forests. While some may see a desolate environment, people have been adapting to and living in this extraordinary terrain for generations. Come discover the land of fire and ice! el malpais
[Sweeping panoramic views of lava flows, cinder cones, and distant mountains can be enjoyed at Sandstone Bluffs.]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
El Morro
Ramah, NM
Imagine the comfort and refreshment of finding water after days of dusty travel. A reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a sandstone bluff made El Morro (the headland) a popular campsite for hundreds of years. Here, Ancestral Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved over 2,000 signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs. We invite you to make El Morro a stopping point on your travels. El Morro
[Historic inscriptions carved in the bluff at El Morro.]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Fort Union
Watrous, NM
Exposed to the wind, within a sweeping valley of short grass prairie, amid the swales of the Santa Fe Trail, lie the territorial-style adobe remnants of the largest 19th century military fort in the region. For forty years, 1851-1891, Fort Union functioned as an agent of political and cultural change, whether desired or not, in New Mexico and throughout the Southwest. Fort Union
[Frost on wagons in Mechanics Corral of Fort Union]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Gila Cliff Dwellings
Silver City, NM
For thousands of years, groups of nomadic people used the caves of the Gila River as temporary shelter. In the late 1200's, people of the Mogollon Culture decided it would be a good place to call home. They built rooms, crafted pottery and raised children in the cliff dwellings for about twenty years. Then the Mogollon moved on, leaving the walls for us as a glimpse into the past. Gila Cliff Dwellings
[View of Mogollon rooms in Gila Cliff Dwellings]
NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Manhattan Project National Historical Park, NM,WA,TN
This site tells the story about the people, events, science, and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bomb, which helped end World War II. Manhattan Project National Historical Park
[workers housing in Happy Valley]
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Old Spanish Trail
AZ,CA,CO,NV,NM,UT
Follow the routes of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. New Mexican traders moved locally produced merchandise across what are now six states to exchange for mules and horses. Old Spanish NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
[Red Rock Country, pack mules, Gunnison River]
NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Pecos
Pecos, NM
In the midst of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains not far from Santa Fe, the remains of Indian pueblos stand as meaningful reminders of people who once prevailed here. Now a national historical park demonstrates to modern visitors the cultural exchange and geographic facets central to the rich history of the Pecos Valley. Pecos NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
[Mission church view at Pecos National Historical Park]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Petroglyph
Albuquerque, NM
Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers. Petroglyph NATIONAL MONUMENT
[Petroglyphs and volcanic escarpment view from the Mesa Point trail at Boca Negra Canyon.]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
Salinas Pueblo Missions
Mountainair, NM
Tucked away in the middle of New Mexico you’ll find Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The three sites offer a glimpse into a unique time in history. A time entrenched with cultural borrowing, conflict, and struggles. The now abandoned sites stand as reminders of the Spanish and Pueblo People’s early encounters. Salinas Pueblo Missions
[Quarai 2014]
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Santa Fe Trail
CO,KS,MO,NM,OK
You can almost hear the whoops and cries of "All's set!" as trail hands hitched their oxen to freight wagons carrying cargo between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through five states and you'll find adventure and evidence of past travelers who made this remarkable trip before you! Santa Fe NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
[freight wagons on the Santa Fe Trail]
NATIONAL PRESERVE
Valles Caldera
Jemez Springs, NM
About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history. Valles Caldera Jemez Springs, NM
[View of an oval, grassy area--the caldera--surrounded by mountains.]
NATIONAL MONUMENT
White Sands
Alamogordo, NM
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here. White Sands
[White Sands National Monument]