From soaring mountains to deep underground caverns, there’s plenty to see in Southeast New Mexico. Some of the state’s loftiest peaks are found around Ruidoso, where there are four seasons of adventure awaiting.
Discover colorful subterranean caverns at Carlsbad National Park and learn everything there is to know about aliens in Roswell, the site of a reported UFO crash decades ago. For easily accessible nature, visit Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge just east of Roswell.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
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Roswell is packed with UFO-themed restaurants, museums, and gift shops, but to really learn about the event which put this town on the map, visit at the end of June each year to experience the Roswell UFO Festival. This event is in its seventh decade and features a cast of expert speakers who are at the forefront of studying the UFO crash, UFO and conspiracy research, astronaut theory, alien abductions, alien life forms, and more.
Sprawling across 275 square miles of southern New Mexican desert, White Sands National Monument protects stunning blinding white dunes which stretch toward the horizon. These gypsum crystal dunes are the largest of their kind on Earth. From the adobe brick visitors center, take a scenic drive among the dunes, then stop to hike through the sand. This landscape is in constant flux – the dunes change shape constantly as they slowly move downwind.
All-American Roswell has a curious slogan: The Alien City. This community of 48,000 draws many travelers who come here with one thing in mind: UFOs. In 1947, a flying saucer was reportedly quarantined nearby, setting off a craze which continues to this day. Though famous for its alien museums and UFO-themed restaurants and stores, Roswell is also home to the New Mexico Military Institute, Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge, and Bottomless Lakes State Park.
New Mexico’s most famous park is mostly underground. Carlsbad Caverns protects well-known and colorful canyons under the Guadalupe Mountains. The largest cave chamber here is almost 4,000 feet long and 255 feet high. Visitors can journey underground to see fantastically-lit formations and walk among pools and otherworldly sights like columns, straws, draperies, and helictites. Don’t forget to see what’s aboveground, too – the park has hiking trails through the desert and plenty of wildlife-viewing opportunities.