The legendary Route 66 Scenic Byway enters New Mexico across a vast, sunlit prairie before meandering through rocky outcrops, quiet streams and adobe villages. 

Along the way, the high desert landscape is both austere and sublime, its red-hued cliffs dropping off into immense llanos or pine-wooded hills and valleys. Motels and 1950s diners with restored neon signs line portions of Route 66, others wind through the wooded foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains among Hispanic villages, where the communities center their spiritual and physical heart around adobe churches that predate Route 66 by roughly a century. Travelers who opt for the “Mother Road” of Route 66 in New Mexico are advised to arm themselves with maps and road guides before setting out, the many twists, turns and dead-ends of Route 66 among modern highways can leave even the most well-oriented travelers slightly dazzled.