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Eleven Life Changing Experiences In New Mexico

Few places leave such an impression that they alter your world. New Mexico is filled with unique experiences that will touch your soul and leave an imprint so deep it stays with you forever. This list of transformative New Mexican experiences will leave their mark on you. 

Burning of Zozobra

Send Your Gloom up in Flames. Literally

The annual ceremony of the burning of Zozobra, Old Man Gloom, is an experience like no other. The fiery and spirited event offers an unforgettable kick-off to the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe.

Old Man Gloom appears towering over 50 feet tall, made of muslin and stuffed with shredded paper. This fantastical creature flails and groans eerily at the crowd before he is set ablaze by torches amid fireworks and ceremonial dances. As Old Man Gloom burns, it is said that with him go the feelings of gloom and doom from the past year.

The Burning of Zozobra takes place at Fort Marcy Park, located just a few blocks from the historic Santa Fe Plaza during the first weekend in September, following Labor Day.

Visit a Pueblo or Native American Tribe on a Feast Day

Feast days in New Mexico are rare and precious opportunities that provide a window into the rich lives and culture of Native Americans. Pueblos and tribes open up their homes to the public providing a magical experience like no other.

On feast days tribal members gather together to renew their culture, language and native religion. Families prepare food for the many visitors coming through their homes and participate in the many activities of the day including reverent dances, songs and storytelling.

Feast Days

Although our feast days are open to the public, one must be invited to a home to visit and/or share a feast day meal. If you have been invited to attend feast day, here are some important etiquette tips to keep in mind. While these may all seem like common courtesy, it’s a great reminder. Don’t walk into a home uninvited; after a dance is over please do not applaud for these are not performances. Please while watching the dances do not question community members as to what’s the significance of the dance, save questions for later. Follow these common courtesies and you should be well on your way!

Hot Air Balloon in New Mexico

Let Your Spirit Soar in a Hot Air Balloon

See the world and beautiful New Mexico terrain from a totally new perspective. This unbeatable experience will literally take you to new heights.

New Mexico is famous for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but visitors can take a balloon ride throughout the year with one of the many companies throughout the state. Seize this opportunity for an incredible day with incredible views.

Change Your Perspective on a Moriarty Glider Tour

The expansive clear blue sky is a hallmark of New Mexico. This experience offers a new and exciting way to relish that big western sky. Enjoy a trip up in those clouds overlooking the New Mexico high desert with a Moriarty Glider tour.

Choose from the many flight options available to find a ride that matches your style and comfort. Gliders ascend to altitudes of up to 18,000 feet above sea level offering spectacular views. We advise that you call ahead to book your trip and do not forget to bring sunscreen.

Red River Jeep Tour

A Beaten Path Is Hard To Come By

For an adventure-packed day filled with breathtaking scenery and rich knowledge of the land take an off road open-air jeep tour through Red River. Ascend the mountains, traverse the Aspen groves, stop and see the forgotten gold mines.

Your driver and tour guide will take care of everything while offering rich insight into the land and telling wonderful stories. We recommend the Goose Lake tour, which is the most rugged but offers the most beautiful scenery and vistas. Don’t forget to bring a camera.

Experience A Mass Ascension: The Views Aren't The Only Thing To Take Your Breath Away

Every year in the beginning of October Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta. This is an experience like no other as hundreds of colorful balloons paint the sky with the most stunning and picturesque views.

Right around sunrise is one of the most spectacular features of the event: the mass ascension. At this time all participating balloons are launched into the sky. The dramatic and colorful result is simply extraordinary. Get to the field early to watch as all of the balloons take flight. Be prepared, the field will be packed so get early and leave the chairs behind. 

Balloon Fiesta

Dia de los Muertos

Celebrate Dia De Los Muertos

Dia De Los Muertos, The Day Of The Dead, is a holiday like no other. During this annual celebration families remember, honor and demonstrate love for their deceased loved ones. The Day of The Dead is festive although the subject may not be, as spirits are welcomed back into peoples' lives for another year.

Festivities take over the towns in New Mexico during this time period. Celebrations vary according to the location but in New Mexico there are parades, altars, dances and events among others. Get your face painted with the famous sugar skull and head out to one of the many festivities is town.

La Luz Trail: The Best Views Are Earned

Be prepared to be wowed. This 8-9 mile trail is at the north end of the Sandias and takes you from the base of the mountain to the peak. The trail is gorgeous, challenging and filled with ever-changing scenery. While it is not for beginners, it will provide memories you will never forget. Standing at the peak of the mountain you just climbed is surreal. And the views are stunning. Many World Class athletes take advantage of the trails climb for High Elevation training.

We recommend packing plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Also, weather can change so wear layers and a good pair of climbing shoes.

Gridlessness Awaits At Kokopelli’s Cave

This is truly a unique experience. Leave the world and all of your troubles behind when you stay at Kokopelli’s Cave. The cave is built into the vertical cliffs of Tertiary Ojo Alamo sandstone and overlooks the beautiful La Plata river valley. The accommodations are beautiful and quite spacious. Take in the view from the porch, grill out on the patio, watch the wildlife and scenery and just take in your magical surroundings.

See White Sands In A Whole New Light

The endless wave-like dunes of gypsum sand are stunning whenever you visit. However, for a truly special and unique experience we recommend visiting this natural wonder under the glow of the moon for a Full Moon Hike. Join a ranger for a guided tour May through October every year. Remember to plan ahead for this special experience. Reservations are required and you must register in advance. Find more details here.

White Sands Full Moon Hike

EQUUS Santa Fe

Dare To Self-Actualize With The Equus Experience

Learn about yourself and unleash your true potential with this amazing bonding experience with horses at Equus Santa Fe. Horses are ideal facilitators as they have an innate capacity to feel the intention of those around them, as well as to connect with others whom they trust. Let them guide you on this unbelievable journey of self-mastery and discovery. It’s an experience like no other. Find more details here.