Getting Oriented

Broadly referred to as Indian Country, New Mexico's northwestern region is for most travelers a stop just after or before the Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos regions. This beautiful high-desert area extends about two hours west from Albuquerque on Interstate 40 to Gallup and then the Arizona border, and four hours northwest to Farmington via U.S. 550. Many consider most of the region to be part of the Four Corners area. While drive times between stops may be long—and the roads can be rugged if you venture off the beaten path (as we recommend you do)—these lands will reward you with stunning natural settings of terrain, sky, and cloud; a diversity of cultures; a sense of the sacred; and a timeless sense of history.

Heading West on Route 66. The scent of smoldering piñon, the hypnotic chant of dancers, and the quiet intensity of ancient pueblos combine to make this stretch of the legendary highway a truly multisensory journey. Under vibrantly blue skies the pueblos of Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni follow one another as you head into Navajo territory, and remnants of Route 66's storied past (seen in storefronts and signage) punctuate the landscape.

The Four Corners Area. Traveling northwest on the four-lane curves of U.S. 550 through volcanic formations and sandstone striations instills a delicious sense of anticipation. Awaiting the intrepid traveler are monumental Ancestral Pueblo ruins, the surreal Bisti Badlands (for hoodoos and hiking), historic trading posts purveying Navajo silverwork and rugs, and a magical countryside that changes with every shift in light.

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