Bandelier National Monument
New Mexico Parks
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.
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.
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.
High rising ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, cactus, grasses and thorny shrubs - who would imagine the hidden treasures deep beneath this rugged landscape? Secretly tucked below the desert terrain are more than 119 known caves - all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone.
National Historical Park
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.
National Historic Trail
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.
The primeval black basalt terrain of El Malpais was created by volcanic forces over the past million years. Molten lava spread out over the high desert from dozens of eruptions to create cinder cones, shield volcanos, collapses, trenches, caves, and other eerie formations. This stark landscape preserves one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanism on the planet.
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.
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.
Silver City, NM
Explore the world of ancestors of Puebloan people who lived in the Mogollon area over 700 years ago. Enter the village they built within five of the natural caves of Cliff Dweller Canyon. Become inspired by the remaining architecture. Admire the spectacular views from inside these ancient dwellings.
National Heritage Area
Stretching from Albuquerque to the Colorado border, the heritage area includes Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, and Taos counties. It encompasses a mosaic of cultures, including the Jicarilla Apache, eight Pueblo tribes, and the descendants of Spanish colonists who settled in the area beginning in 1598—a generation before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock.
National Historic Trail
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.
National Historical Park
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.
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.
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.
National Historic Trail
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!
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.
By The Numbers
- 13 national parks
- 1,512,529 visitors to national parks (in 2013)
- $83,200,000 economic benefit from national park tourism (in 2013) »
- 1,110 National Register of Historic Places listings »
- $69,125,818 of rehabilitation projects stimulated by tax incentives (since 1995) »
- 91,295 hours donated by volunteers »
- 1 National Heritage Area »
- 12 National Natural Landmarks »
- 46 National Historic Landmarks »
- $42,152,335 in Land & Water Conservation Fund grants (since 1965) »
- 1,816 acres transferred by Federal Lands to Parks for local parks and recreation (since 1948) »
- $28,014,890 in historic preservation grants (since 1969) »
- 55 community conservation and recreation projects (since 1987) »
- 3 World Heritage Sites »
- 293 places recorded by heritage documentation programs »
- 6,777,538 objects in national park museum collections »
- 9 threatened and endangered species in national parks »
- 8,953 archeological sites in national parks »
- 8 Certified Local Governments »
- 5 Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans »
- 6 Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itineraries »
- Download the summary »
These numbers are just a sample of the National Park Service's work. Figures are for the fiscal year that ended 9/30/13.