City Escape: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This loop ride north of Albuquerque, with its rugged natural beauty, pre-historic Native American ruins, and the “Atomic City,” will not disappoint. It features curvy ribbons of asphalt, expansive vistas, and numerous reasons to drop the kickstand. The moderate southwestern climate makes this route ride-able virtually year-round with the appropriate gear.

Length

Approximately 180 miles

Meet-up Spot

Starbucks, 6828 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM.

Lunch Stop

Viola’s Restaurant, 1360 Trinity Dr, Los Alamos, NM, (505) 662-5617.You’ve got to go with Mexican food in New Mexico, right? Viola’s is a family run place with traditional regional Mexican fare.

Scenery (5 out of 5)

This route really has it all—from high desert panoramas and red rocks to incredible alpine views.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Most of the route has relatively light traffic. Los Alamos can be a bit congested, and you’ll have to show ID near the government lab sites. If you wish to avoid Los Alamos, there is a southern bypass route.

Difficulty (3 out of 5)

The loop is a mix of big sweeping curves and some hairpins. Be alert on Highway 4 for animals.

Road Conditions (4 out 5)

Highway 4 is a well-paved, two-lane road. The last leg of the loop is freeway.

Points of Interest

  1. Jemez Historic Site, near Jemez Springs, NM
The site contains stone ruins of both a 500-year-old Native American village and the San José de los Jemez church.
  2. Jemez Falls, New Mexico Highway 4
The 70-foot falls on the Jemez River are a short hike from 
the well-marked trailhead.
  3. Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico Highway 4
The 13-mile-wide volcanic caldera is a must see.
  4. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
The Bradbury Science Museum is your window into the world-changing WWII era Manhattan Atomic Bomb Project.