#69 best destination in the world

 

Pueblo Alto Trail, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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Best time to travel: Sept-Oct
Walk difficulty: Moderate
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Has the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico
  • Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction
  • Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a 50 drought commencing in 1130

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

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Best time to travel: Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Museum dedicated to the artistic legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe, her life, American modernism, and public engagement
  • Opened in 1997, eleven years after the artist’s death
  • Works range from the artist’s abstract art to her iconic large-format flower, skull, and landscape paintings to paintings of architectural forms and rocks, shells, and trees

Alcove House Trail, Bandelier National Monument

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Best time to travel: early Oct
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Monument that preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans
  • Most of the pueblo structures date to between 1150 and 1600 AD
  • Over 70% of the monument is wilderness, with over one mile of elevation change, providing for a wide range of wildlife habitats
  • Bandelier was designated by President Woodrow Wilson as a national monument in 1916, and named it after Adolph Bandelier, a Swiss-American anthropologist, who researched the cultures of the area and supported preservation of the sites

Interdune Boardwalk, White Sands National Monument

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Best time to travel: late Oct-early Nov
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • 275 square mile field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals
  • The gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth

Slaughter Canyon Cave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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Best time to travel: early May-late June, early Aug-early Oct
Walk difficulty: Hard
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Two-thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness area, helping to ensure no future changes will be made to the habitat
  • Carlsbad Cavern includes a natural limestone chamber almost 4,000 ft long

Bisti Badlands Trail, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Best time to travel: late Sept-Oct
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • 45,000-acre wilderness area located in San Juan County, and established in 1984
  • The Wilderness is a desolate area of steeply eroded badlands, with the exception of three parcels of private Navajo land within its boundaries
  • Translated from the Navajo word Bistahí, Bisti means “among the adobe formations,” De-Na-Zin, from Navajo, translates as “Standing Crane”
  • Petroglyphs of cranes have been found south of the Wilderness

Petroglyph National Monument, Bernalillo County

Best time to travel: Sept-Nov
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Monument that protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 24,000 images carved by Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers
  • Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex
  • Their meaning was, possibly, understood only by the carver