- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque; tel. 800/766-4405 or 505/843-7270; www.indianpueblo.org): Owned and operated as a nonprofit organization by the 19 pueblos of New Mexico, this is a fine place to begin an exploration of Native American culture. The museum is modeled after Pueblo Bonito, a spectacular 9th-century ruin in Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and it contains a wealth of art and artifacts.
- Petroglyph National Monument (6001 Unser Blvd. NW, Albuquerque; tel. 505/899-0205; www.nps.gov/petr): This hunting and gathering area for prehistoric Native Americans has 25,000 petroglyphs (prehistoric rock carvings) and provides a variety of hiking trails in differing levels of difficulty, right on the outskirts of Albuquerque.
- Bandelier National Monument (Los Alamos; tel. 505/672-3861, ext. 517; www.nps.gov/band): These ruins provide a spectacular peek into the lives of the Anasazi Pueblo culture, which flourished in the area between A.D. 1100 and 1550, a period later than the time when Chaco Canyon was a cultural center. The most dramatic site is a dwelling and kiva (a room used for religious activities) in a cave 140 feet above the canyon floor -- reached by a climb up long pueblo-style ladders. A visitor center and museum offer self-guided and ranger-led tours.
- Pecos National Historical Park (Pecos; tel. 505/757-6414; www.nps.gov/peco): It's hard to rank New Mexico's many ruins, but this one, sprawled on a plain about 25 miles east of Santa Fe, is one of the most impressive, resonating with the history of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. You'll see evidence of where the Pecos people burned the mission church before joining in the attack on Santa Fe. You'll also see where the Spanish conquistadors later compromised, allowing sacred kivas to be built next to the reconstructed mission.
- Acoma Pueblo (Acoma; tel. 800/747-0181 or 505/552-6604; www.skycity.com): This spectacular adobe village sits high atop a sheer rock mesa. Known as "Sky City," it is home to 65 or so inhabitants who still live without electricity and running water. The sculpted mission church and the cemetery seem to be perched on the very edge of the world. Visitors can hike down through a rock cut, once the main entrance to the pueblo.
- Gila Cliff Dwellings (Gila; tel. 575/536-9461; www.nps.gov/gicl): Perched in deep caves within a narrow canyon outside Silver City, these ruins tell the mysterious tale of the Mogollon people who lived in the area from the late 1200s through the early 1300s.
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