Lovely curves and views. Great road.
Fast and varied section
Nice little run down south from Mountainair
Fastish road with a few curvy sections.
This route borders on the exceptional and consists of NM State Highways 32, 36 and 117. From Apache Creek to Quemado the road climbs at a good clip with lots of nice twisties and sweepers. It flattens out at the top but there are enough sweepers to keep you focused - really sweet at 80mph. The vistas and rock formations are amazing. But perhaps the most "exceptional" thing about this route is how desolate it is out there. I passed one pickup from AC to Quemado and no vehicles from Quemado to Grants!! Coming the other way I saw maybe 5 cars/pickups over the entire distance - it's a very cool way to go if your traveling anywhere between, say, Silver City area and Taos!!
A short selection of quite good bends and some great views.
Nice mountain views, wide road, easy curves.
Youve seen the mountains of New Mexico, and the centerline of your tires needs some wear to catch up to the sidewalls. This is it. The badlands. You will pass alkali flats and the northern terminus of the White Sands Missile Range near the Trinity Site, location of the first atomic bomb detonation. They chose this place well. A breakdown here without water would be a mistake. But, in a bleak sort of way, the trip is beautiful. Fill your fuel tank and water bottle, and roll that right handgrip. Be sure to stop in San Antonito at the Owl Cafe. Possibly the best cheeseburger youll ever flood your arteries with.
Start in Apache Creek, you can either take 32N to US 60 at Quemado, or continue on 12 to US 60 at Datil. US60 crosses some fairly desolate grasslands, but they are beautiful in their own way. In either case, once you hit US 60, go east, towards Socorro. In Magdelena, there is a side trip up a dirt road to a ghost town called Kelly. Google maps says to take Kelly Road out of Magdelana. Continue on towards Socorro. If youd like to pitch a tent for the night, one of my guide books says Water Canyon is a nice place. Its accessible by forest road, Google calls it Water Canyon Road, on the right, about 8 miles east of Magdelana. Otherwise press on. Food, fuel and lodging are available in Socorro. From here, one can go north nd south on Interstate 25, or, east on US 60.
From Silver City, go west on US 180. Some spectacular scenery, particularly to the east into the Gila Wilderness. Follow US 180 up to Reserve, NM. [Be careful in Reserve, I had a local State Trooper give me a hard time for rolling through the stop sign there. In general, rural NM enjoys the revenue from law-bending tourists like you an me, so stay aware of the speed limits unless you want to make a contribution to the local courthouse.]