Hike New Mexico's Jemez Springs

Visit this village in the hills for great shopping and scenery
Julian Smith

Small enough that many places in town don't bother with an address, Jemez Springs is an out-of-the-way village with plenty of reasons to detour for a visit.

Consider a soak in a historic bathhouse high in the New Mexico mountains, especially after a cooling afternoon thundershower.

Or take the drive for pottery shops, tasty burritos, and cozy overnight options ― not to mention great scenery, from a waterfall hike to a nature preserve inside an ancient collapsed volcano.

GETTING THERE

From Albuquerque, take exit 242 off I-25, go west on U.S. 550 for about 20 miles to San Ysidro, then head north on State 4 for 17 miles. From Santa Fe, take U.S. 285 north 15 miles, State 502 west 12 miles through Los Alamos, then State 4 southwest for 45 very curvy miles.

GO

Jemez Falls. Reach the falls on an easy 1-mile trail through a forest of ponderosa pines. INFO: Park near the Jemez Falls Group Picnic Area, 10 miles north of Jemez Springs on State 4 in the Santa Fe National Forest; 505/829-3535.

Jemez Springs Bath House. Enjoy massages and natural hot springs mineral-water tubs in a restored 1870s spa. INFO: From $10 for a soak, from $37 for a massage; 62 Jemez Springs Plaza; 866/ 204-8303.

Jemez Pueblo. Visit the native village on August 2 to see Corn Dances celebrating St. Persingula Feast Day. INFO: On State 4, 11 miles south of Jemez Springs; 505/834-7235.

Valles Caldera National Preserve. Secure a reservation to hike inside this jaw-dropping collapsed volcano, once an 89,000-acre private ranch. INFO: Guided hikes ($15) and self-guided hikes ($10) by reservation, 866/382-5537; on State 4 near milepost 39.

EAT

Laughing Lizard Inn & Cafe. Buffalo burgers and spinach–black bean burritos in an old mountain mercantile. INFO: $; closed Mon; 17526 State 4; 505/829-3108.

SHOP

Jemez Mountain Pottery. Platters and other stoneware by local sculptor and potter Linda Vozar Sweet. INFO: 17521 State 4; 505/829-3579.

Shangri-La West. Fine crafts by Southwestern native tribes. INFO: 10705 State 4; 505/829-3864.

STAY OVERNIGHT

Cañon del Rio. (from $129; 505/829-4377) is a six-room adobe inn among cottonwoods along the Jemez River. Southwest-style breakfast, included in the rate, is served family-style in the comfy Great Room.

Desert Willow Bed and Breakfast. (from $112; 505/829-3410) offers two rooms plus a two-bedroom cottage with a fireplace, soaking tub, and redwood deck overlooking the river.


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