The Turquoise Trail was already a major trading route 2000 years ago, when turquoise mined in Cerrillos first found its way south to burgeoning civilizations in what’s now Mexico. Today, as NM 14, it’s a National Scenic Backway, lined with quirky communities and other diversions, which makes an attractive back road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. See www.turquoisetrail.org.
High Road to Taos
Go on, take the high road. Of the two routes between Santa Fe and Taos, the famous High Rd isn't necessarily any prettier than the faster Low Rd – beauty is relative here; both are gorgeous – but it has a special rural mountain feeling that is classic northern New Mexico.
Fans of Western history won't want to miss little Lincoln. Twelve miles east of Capitan along the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway, this is where the gun battle that turned Billy the Kid into a legend took place. It's hard to believe that in Billy the Kid's era Lincoln was home to a bustling population of nearly 900.