New Mexico is a big state. Covering it all in 1 week would only wear a traveler out. That's why I've relegated this tour to the northern part, which has the highest concentration of sights. You can gaze at ancient petroglyphs etched on stone at the Petroglyph National Monument, shop one of the world's top art markets on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, marvel at the play of light on the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos -- and even take a white-water rafting trip if you choose. Really, you can do this trip during any season, though the warmer months offer the mildest climate and the most options.
Days 1-2: Albuquerque
If you have some energy left after traveling, head to Old Town, where you can wander through the plaza and peruse some shops. Be sure to tuck into some of the back alleyways and little nooks -- you'll uncover some of the city's most inventive shops in these areas. Next, head over to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History to get a good sense of this land's story. Finish the day with one of New Mexico's premier treats -- an enchilada -- at Sadie's. Wash it down with one of their margaritas.
Start out your second day in Albuquerque at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, where you'll get a sense of the cultures you'll encounter up north, and then head to the Albuquerque Biological Park, both in the vicinity of Old Town Plaza. From here, go west of town to visit the Petroglyph National Monument. (If it's summer, you may want to go during the cooler early morning.) In the late afternoon, find your way to Central Avenue, just south of Old Town, and drive east on Route 66. This takes you right through downtown, to the Nob Hill district and the Sandia Mountains foothills, respectively. Finish your day with a ride up the Sandia Peak Tramway. Ideally, you should ride up during daylight and back down at night for a view of the city lights. You may even want to dine at the top.
Day 3: The Turquoise Trail & Santa Fe
Today, strike out for the ghost towns and other sights along the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe, stopping to peruse some of the galleries in Madrid. This will put you in Santa Fe in time to do some sightseeing. Head straight to the plaza, the Palace of the Governors, and St. Francis Cathedral. If you shop from the Native Americans selling under the portal, be sure to ask about the art you buy; the symbols on it may have interesting significance. Next, make your way over to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Finish your day with an enchilada at the Shed. In the evening, depending on the season, you may want to check out Santa Fe's excellent arts scene; try the Santa Fe Opera or the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Day 4: Santa Fe Arts
In the morning, head up to Museum Hill, where you can take your pick from four unique museums: the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. You can have lunch at the Museum Hill Café. On your way back to the plaza, take a stroll and do some shopping on Canyon Road. At sunset during the warmer months, you can enjoy a cocktail at the bell tower of the historic La Fonda Hotel. Eat dinner at Santacafé -- or if you lingered over your shopping, stop in at Geronimo or the Compound on Canyon Road.
Day 5: Bandelier National Monument & North to Taos
Head out of town today to Bandelier National Monument. Explore the ruins and be sure to climb the ladders to see the kiva set high above the canyon floor. Then continue north to Taos. On your way into the city, stop at the San Francisco de Asis church. And if you like music, head out to the Sagebrush Inn for some country-and-western tunes.
Day 6: Taos Pueblo
Spend your morning exploring Taos Pueblo, the Millicent Rogers Museum, and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. You can then ditch your car for the afternoon and step out on foot. Do some shopping around Taos Plaza. At cocktail hour, head to the Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn or the Anaconda Bar at the new El Monte Sagrado.
Day 7: The High Road
On your last day, enjoy a leisurely morning and then head south on the High Road to Taos. Be sure to spend some time at the Santuario de Chimayo, where you can rub healing dust between your fingers. You may want to spend the night at a bed-and-breakfast in Chimayo or have lunch at Rancho de Chimayo along the way. Depending on your flight time the next morning, stay the night in Santa Fe or Albuquerque.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.