The Southwest

Rugged. Beautiful. And fun. The Southwest is the ultimate playground, luring adventurers with red-rock canyons, Wild West legends and the kicky delights of green chile stew.

The Great Outdoors

Beauty and adventure are a fun-loving team in the Southwest. They crank up the rapids, unleash the singletrack, add blooms to the trail and drape a sunset across red rocks. This captivating mix of scenery and possibility draws travelers who want to rejuvenate physically, mentally and spiritually. The big draw is the Grand Canyon, a two-billion-year-old wonder that shares its geologic treasures with a healthy dose of fun. Next door in Utah and Nevada, the red rocks will nourish your soul while thrashing your bike. In New Mexico, skiing the steeps and climbing peaks never looked so good.

History

The Southwest wears its history on its big, sandy sleeve. A decade before the Pilgrims even landed at Plymouth Rock, Santa Fe was already a capital city – albeit in what was then another country. Dig quite a bit deeper and you’ll find the oldest ruins north of Mexico: the great houses in Chaco Canyon, the cliff houses at Mesa Verde and numerous others sites scattered throughout the Four Corners. The descendants of these early cultures now live in Pueblo villages at Hopi, Acoma, Taos and elsewhere, the oldest continuously inhabited homes in the United States.

Multicultural Layers

A unique multicultural mix defines the Southwest today. It blends the history and customs of the Ancestral Puebloans with the influences of the Spanish missionaries and colonists and their subsequent interactions and conflicts with the Pueblo, Navajo, Apache and, eventually, the Americans. Tribal traditions and imagery still influence art across the region. Cowboys still roam the scrubby desert, and their cultural legacy remains apparent in fashion, festivals and local attitudes. Hispanic and Mexican cultures, of course, remain an integral part of daily life, from place names, language and food, to headlines about immigration.

Cuisine

Green chile cheeseburgers and red chile posole in New Mexico. Sonoran dogs and huevos rancheros in Tucson. Picon punch and Chorizo and hominy stew in northern Nevada. Regional specialties are pleasingly diverse in the Southwest and sampling local fare is a big reason to get excited about an upcoming trip. Top restaurants are increasingly focused on fresh and locally grown fare – and providing a solid selection of craft brews. The ever-expanding crop of small batch breweries, distilleries and vineyards provide the perfect accompaniment to those smothered blue-corn enchiladas or the gastronomic excesses of Vegas.

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