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In spring, summer, and early fall, wildflowers add brilliance to the landscape of Red Rock Park, which has two popular hiking trails (the 3-mi Pyramid Rock Trail, connecting to the 3½-mi Church Rock Trail, hits an elevation of almost 8,000 feet, and has knockout views of the surrounding red-sandstone formation), campgrounds, and a museum. The Red Rock Museum contains well-mounted exhibits of jewelry, pottery, rugs, architecture, and tools of the Anasazi, Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo, as well as native plantings.
The park's red-rock amphitheater holds the ever-growing Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup's premier event since it began in 1922. Over the course of four or five days every August some 50,000 people come to see the dances of more than 50 tribes from across the Americas, watch rodeo events and parades, munch on fry bread, and stroll the native-arts marketplaces Gallup. 505/863–3896.
December the park hosts the Red Rock Balloon Rally; although it's smaller in scale than Albuquerque's international extravaganza, some 200 balloons ascending amid the smooth-faced sandstone cliffs makes this one special. Gallup. 505/722–2228 or 800/380–4989. www.redrockballoonrally.com.
NM 566, Exit 26 or 31 from I–40, 7 mi east of Gallup, Church Rock, New Mexico, 87311, United States
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