have rode this route several times,stop and eat in jemez springs.Road does get crowded on weekends due to tourist and fisherman/hikers and campers. i like weekdays or early on weekends. nice ride you will enjoy!
This is one of my favorite roads in Northern New Mexico, despite poor road conditions in a few spots. On a bike with a reasonably sporty suspension the road beats me to pieces between Valle Grande and White Rock. I prefer to simply take Route 4 from Valle Grande to White Rock and avoid Los Alamos altoghether, though you mileage may vary.
Great corners, scenery and tourist attractions on this nice road.
This route starts at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park
in north part of the city, just off Interstate 25.
If you can time your trip for the second week in October,
this event brings up to 900 hot air balloons that can take off over a two hour
period in the early morning; not to be missed but plan far in advance if
you want a hotel room. You can take Alameda Blvd east from the Park to Interstate
25 north, or go west on Alameda to 4th St northbound. Thsi is Route 313
and turns into El Camino Real as it crosses onto the Sandia Indian Pueblo.
The latter route is more scenic.
Both routes intersect US Route 550 in Bernalillo.
In both cases, go west on 550 towards Farmington.
After about 45 km, the road enters the tiny burg of San Ysidro.
Turn right onto the start of State Route 4.
You will stay on this road almost all the way to your destination. Route 4 drops down to a very narrow two-lane road as you cross into the Jemez Indian Pueblo. Watch your speed; the road is patrolled asn there are small children and pets that run into the road. As you leave the north end of the Pueblo, the scenery begins to transition to red cliffs and step canyon walls. The road continues north into the town of Jemez Springs. Watch your speed here, highly enforced. North of Jemez Springs is the soda dam, a natural hot spring full of minerals that has built up a natural dam across the valley. Nice palce to stop for a picnic. As you continue north, you enter the Santa Fe National Forest, passing Battleship Rock on your right. The road becomes steep and windy, and then transitions over the ridge into the Valle Grande National Wildlife Preserve, which is the caldera of an enormous volcano that formed most of the land features for over a 50 mile radius. Very scenic views on both sides of the road. Then the road climbs up into the rim again and then over and down into Los Alamos County. At the bottom fo the switchback section, you can continue on Route 4 to Bandelier National Monument and the spectacular Anasazi cliff-dweller ruins, or turn left on West Jemez Rd (NM501) and follow the signs to the town of Los Alamos. If you go to Bandelier first, you can enjoy a 3 or 4 hour hike into the canyon and see the homes that were carved out of the soft tufa walls of the canyon. Then, you can proceed on down 4 into White Rock. At the second traffic light, turn right onto Rover Dr, and then make a quick left onto Meadow Ln. after about 1.5 km, look on your left for Overlook Park. Follow the road to the end, where there is a scenic view of the Rio Grande 200 m down in White Rock Canyon. Bring your camera. Reverse course back to 4 and continue about 4 km down to the 'Y', where you should take the left exit and turn onto NM 502 west and climb up the hill to the town of Los Alamos. Stop for a look over your shoulder...very scenic in the late afternoon. After the airport, look to the right a few hundred meters up and bear right onto Central Ave. After the traffic light, you are in the ehart of town, and you can stop and have coffee or a meal at the Central Avenue Grill. Nearby is the Bradbury Science Museum and other historic buildings related tot he towns history. Here ends the trip.