More plains than peaks, this region’s rippling shortgrass prairie is dotted with hidden lakes. Once the domain of Santa Fe Trail Pioneers and cattle barons, the northeast remains home to working ranches, rugged Westerners, and the storied stops along Route 66.

Northeast Regional Bucket List

Book a Room in the Wild West: Track Western legends to Las Vegas’s elegant Plaza Hotel, once the lodgings of Billy the Kid and Jesse James, or the St. James Hotel & Restaurantin Cimarron, where bullet holes from gunfights by the likes of the Earp brothers, Buffalo Bill Cody, and outlaw Black Jack Ketchum are still visible in the saloon’s ceiling.

Drive Route 66: Though interstates long ago supplanted it in the national highway system, Route 66 still beckons travelers looking to get their kicks. An original 20-mile stretch of the iconic highway runs from Glenrio, at the Texas state line, to San Jon. From there, another 24-mile stretch continues to Tucumcari, a town that recalls the Mother Road’s heyday. Book a room there at the Blue Swallow Motel for a vintage road-trip vibe.

Follow the Trail: In the early 19th century, settlers followed the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri through this region on their way to Santa Fe. Wagon ruts along the route are still visible today.

Saddle Up at a Dude Ranch: It’s called cowboy country for a reason: Visitors to this region can mount up for a morning horseback ride or join the action on working ranches.

See a Show at The Shuler: Raton’s historic Shuler Theater celebrates its centennial in 2015. Grab a seat in this hallowed hall for a play by the Santa Fe School of the Performing Arts or one of the varied offerings from the Raton Arts & Humanities Council.