Abiquiú, Ghost Ranch and Chama
Round trip of approximately 250 miles
Drive north on US 84/285 to tour the red rock country that artist Georgia O'Keeffe loved. Follow US 84 when it splits off near Española. Keep your eyes pealed for Pedernal, the towering flat-topped mesa, that appears in many of O'Keeffe's paintings. The artist's adobe home in the village of Abiquiú is open for tours but reservations are required and should be booked well in advance.
Farther north on US 84, you'll find Ghost Ranch, where O'Keeffe used to stay during summer months. Now a conference and retreat center, Ghost Ranch offers great hiking trails open to the public by permission obtained at the retreat center.
If you want to catch some rays, you can swim, boat and fish at nearby Abiquiú Lake. Test your vocal stylings at Echo Amphitheater, a natural echo chamber made of sandstone in Carson National Forest.
Head north on US 84 to Heron Lake and the Brazos River, both popular trout fishing spots. Then drive to Chama, where you can climb aboard a steam train and ride narrow-gauge tracks into southern Colorado on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.
For a picturesque return trip, follow U.S. 64 east from Tierra Amarilla to Taos. This remote road, periodically closed in winter, takes you through the San Juan Mountain Range and across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Time to break out the camera because the bridge is dramatically suspended 650 feet above the Rio Grande.
Stop off in Taos before driving south on US 68 to Española, where you'll head back to Santa Fe on US 84/285 south.