Visit this village in the hills for great shopping and scenery

Julian Smith,  – July 17, 2007

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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