300 mile day trip with 3 gas stops and a breakfast or lunch.
To see a Google map of the route click this link—-View Google Map
In the summer I’d leave early (around 7:00) to beat the heat and afternoon showers. In the fall you can head out at around 10:00 and make the stop in Las Vegas for lunch.
This loop starts at Einstein Bros Bagels at Central and Tramway. This is a perfect place to meet, Smith’s gas Stations on the corner has free air.
The first leg of this journey is a straightforward run east on I-40 for 63 miles to NM-3. You will pass through Moriarty and Clines Corners (just a gas station at the crossroad of NM-285). You can make good time on this straight shot down the Interstate if you feel the need for speed and don’t mind any possible ticket.
Exit to NM 3
Go North on NM-3, it’s a narrow road with a few twists and turns. Think you’ll find this is a road less traveled, don’t expect to see many other vehicle on this segment. Even the cattle standing along the road seem surprised when you go past.
After about 20 mile the road makes a sudden drop into the valley that holds the village of Villanueva.
You will find the turn to Villanueva State Park at the end of the village.
The park is located on the banks of the Pecos River with adobe-style picnic shelters made to look like a Spanish hamlet. There is a visitor center, but mostly it’s a camping area along the river.
Then it’s 10 miles more up NM-3 to I-25 into Las Vegas. Take the first exit into Las Vegas-turn left New Mexico 329 then follow the signs to the Plaza. Drive around the Plaza to the Plaza Hotel.
The Plaza Hotel
The Landmark Grill
Eating breakfast at The Landmark Grill gives you a chance to see the Plaza hotel and historic downtown Las Vegas. Take a few minutes and wonder around the hotel.
Cut across Highland University on Bridge, then turn left on 7st it will take you past lots of old homes and turns onto NM 518. After you pass the Mc Donalds you’ll find several gas stations to fill up for the next leg.
Keep following NM 518 north past Storrie Lake. With the drought it’s low on water, but the highway runs right by it.
Around 12 miles from Las Vegas look for the sign to NM 94. It’s to the left beside a gas station and easy to miss. NM 94 will take you through some beautiful back country into Mora. Watch the road sighs there are a couple intersection with other highways.
Once in Mora turn left back onto NM-518.
Now it time to start climbing into the National Forest, follow NM 518 for about 25 miles to NM 75.
This part of the ride brings you into the mountains with plenty of reasons to stop and take pictures. Soon a river will be running next to the road and you’ll pass Sipapu Ski Resort. In around 9 miles look on the left for NM 75. First you’ll see SR 73 and 1.6 miles later turn onto NM76.
Follow NM 76 as you climb down out of the mountains on one of the most popular scenic roads in the state. To bypass Espanola look for NM 503 to your left a few miles before you get to Chimayo.
NM 503 starts out with tight turns and straight up climb, then it weaves back down. It’s runs through Nambe. Turn left onto NM285 with Pojoaque just a couple of miles away.
Lot’s of places in Pojoaque to gas up for the final part of the ride. If your in the gaming mood, you will find several places between here and Santa Fe ready and willing to take your action.
Follow NM-285 past Camel Rock to Exit 166 and NM 599-this takes you around Santa Fe.
After taking NM-599 to bypass Santa Fe, there are a couple of ways to get to NM 14–one easy—you just stay on NM 599, past I-40 to NM-14.
For the other turn right on Airport Road, then don’t go to the Airport, stay right. This will take you down a twisting road thru La Cienega and to I-40. Cross the interstate on the overpass and turn right on the frontage road to SR 45 on the left. Follow it to NM 14
Soon you will find the ghost town of Cerrillos (1/2 mile to the left). After a couple of turns you will be coming into Madrid, the speed limit drops to 25 and there is lots of walking traffic. This town was the setting for Wild Hogs and some of the movie sets are still there. Lots of shops and the Mine Shaft Tavern make this a hard place to just ride by.
One more leg past Golden and onto the back side of the Crest. When you get to I-40 you can take it into Albuquerque or pass it by and take NM 333 that runs beside the interstate.