Best New Mexico Attraction (2017)


New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment for good reason. Culturally, the state is a melting pot of Native American, Anglo and Hispanic cultures. The natural landscapes are equally diverse – everything from subterranean caverns and vast sand dunes to aspen-covered slopes and snow-capped mountain peaks.

  • Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

    Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

    One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way. This moving National Historic Landmark represents one of New Mexico's most spectacular day trips.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

    Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
    Ojo Caliente

    For deep relaxation, New Mexicans and visitors head to the community of Ojo Caliente, located between Española and Taos, famous for its mineral-rich hot springs. It's one of the oldest health resorts in the U.S.; visitors have been coming for well over a century, and Pueblo Indians were taking advantage of the hot springs long before that.
    Photo courtesy of Ancho. / Flickr

  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park

    Hidden beneath the surface of the Chihuahuan Desert in Southeastern New Mexico lie 119 caves and caverns. Carlsbad Caverns National Park protects these wonders of nature, where visitors come to gawk at larger than life formations or witness some 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats exit the cave for their evening hunt.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo/Peter Jones

  • Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

    Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

    Some of New Mexico's most otherworldly scenery lies within the 60-square-mile swathe of badlands known as the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness outside of Farmington. The landscape of sandstone and shale hoodoos and other odd formations were formed from millions of years of water and wind eroding the ashy layers.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Sandia Peak Tramway

    Sandia Peak Tramway

    Measuring 2.7 miles, Albuquerque's Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest aerial tramway in the world. Riders on the 20 minute trip to Sandia Peak pass above deep canyons and stunning mountain scenery of Cibola National Forest. From the 10,378-foot observation deck at the top, views extend for 11,000 square miles across the Rio Grande Valley.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Bandelier National Monument

    Bandelier National Monument
    Los Alamos

    Ancestral Pueblo peoples lived within cliff dwellings carved from the volcanic tuff of Bandelier National Monument from 150 CE to 1550 CE. The monument protects 33,000 acres of canyon and mesa dotted with cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. Wooden ladders give access to some of the original dwellings to see the Ancestral Pueblo village of Tsankawi from the inside.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Old Town

    Old Town

    Albuquerque was founded in 1706 in a neighborhood today known as Old Town. With its central plaza surrounded by a church and numerous historic homes and businesses, Old Town teems with hidden patios, brick paths and traditional adobe buildings housing more than 150 shops and galleries, as well as more than a dozen restaurants.
    Photo courtesy of Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • White Sands National Monument

    White Sands National Monument

    Like a visit to somewhere totally “other,” a drive through the largest pure gypsum dune field in the world (at 275 square miles) enthralls. The rolling sand hills invite such unusual recreational pursuits as sledding and, in the summer and fall, full moon programs. Five trails encourage visitors to study closely the site’s subtle, seemingly stark, ecological communities.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • Chaco Canyon

    Chaco Canyon

    Between 850 and 1250 AD, thousands of ancient Puebloans made their home within Chaco Canyon, leaving behind a series of 13 ruins. A visitors center houses a small museum on Chaco culture, and an observatory with telescopes facilitates some of the best stargazing in the American Southwest.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • Chimayó


    The small village of Chimayo on the road between Santa Fe and Taos is home to one of New Mexico's most spiritual places, El Santuario de Chimayo. While Easter Weekend sees a pilgrimage of tens of thousands descend upon the church, the town is famous year round for its intricate weaving and fiery red chiles. 
    Photo courtesy of

For the last four weeks, USA TODAY 10Best readers have been voting for their favorite New Mexico attractions. 

The top 10 winners in the category Best New Mexico Attraction are as follows:

  1. Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad - Chama
  2. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs - Ojo Caliente
  3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Carlsbad
  4. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness - Farmington
  5. Sandia Peak Tramway - Albuquerque
  6. Bandelier National Monument - Los Alamos
  7. Old Town - Albuquerque
  8. White Sands National Monument - Alamagordo
  9. Chaco Canyon
  10. Chimayó

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jamie Lewinger (More Than Turquoise) and 10Best editor Lydia Schrandt were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in New Mexico.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Jamie Lewinger

Jamie Lewinger

Jamie Lewinger

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt