Jemez Mountain Trail and Los Alamos
Round trip of approximately 160 miles
What do pueblos, ruins, the atomic bomb, volcanoes and hot springs have in common? Why your next day trip, of courseǃ Hit the road and travel north on US 84/285 to Pojoaque, then west on NM 502. Six miles down the road, you will find San Ildefonso Pueblo best known for the famous black-on-black pottery which originated there and is coveted by fine art collectors world-wide. Potter Maria Martinez lived, worked and helped revive the famous black pots in the twenties. Santa Clara Pueblo is also known for its tradition of hand-crafted pottery, specifically blackware and redware with deep engravings. Santa Clara Pueblo can be found across the Rio Grande on NM 30. Both pueblos continue to produce high caliber pottery today.
For a change of pace, proceed on NM 502 to NM 4 and continue on to Tsankawi Mesa and Frijoles Canyon, two separate locations of Bandelier National Monument. If you've never been to Bandelier you are in for treat and a trip back in time. Self-guided tours are available of these remarkable ruins once occupied by ancestors of the Pueblo Indians.
Jump back in the car and make the trip via NM 4 to Los Alamos. Put on your thinking cap to visit the Bradbury Science Museum to learn about the making of the atomic bomb and the current research being conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory. If you thought that was good, the next stop will blow your mind. Continue on NM 4 to the Valle Grande, one of the world's largest calderas formed when a volcano crater collapsed one million years ago.
Next, you'll arrive at the town of Jemez Springs where you can soak your cares away in public tubs at a bathhouse built during the Victorian era. Continuing on NM 4 will lead you to the Jemez State Monument, site of magnificent ancient Indian ruins and the Jemez Pueblo's Walatowa Visitor Center which tells the story of the site. Follow NM 4 to NM 44 and drive south to Bernalillo.
Last stop is Coronado State Monument where Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his soldiers set up winter camp in 1540 during their search for the fabled Cities of Gold. Return to Santa Fe via I-25 north.