Mixing Business with Pleasure: Outdoor Adventures

Outdoor adventures that thrill are easy to find in New Mexico.

These are our top picks to mix business with the fresh air, blue skies and natural wonders in New Mexico.

Hot Air Ballooning (Albuquerque, Taos)

Hot Air Balloon over the Rio Grande in Albuquerque

Hot Air Balloon over the Rio Grande in Albuquerque

Imagine floating through the air hundreds of feet above the beautiful Rio Grande taking in views of distant mountains and mesas. That dream is a reality for thousands visitors each year.

Each October, Albuquerque hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest ballooning event – and the most photographed event – in the world. People from all over the world come to celebrate and watch more than 500 hot air balloons fill the sky. The Balloon Glow, a signature event, creates a magical nighttime landscape for spectators to enjoy.

No matter what time of year you visit, companies like Rainbow Ryders offer private and group balloon rides taking you over New Mexico’s spectacular landscapes.

Skiing in New Mexico (Taos, Santa Fe)

Winter in New Mexico’s high Sangre de Cristo mountains means snow, and lots of it.

Taos Ski Valley offers a blend of terrain including groomed trails, basins, parks and hike-in runs. The mountain is located about 19 miles outside Taos in the village of Taos Ski Valley. Bus services run between Taos and the slopes, and daily shuttle service runs between the destination and airports in Santa Fe and Albuquerque daily. Taos is a Class A Avalanche resort, meaning avalanches may occur at any time.

Ski Santa Fe also boasts varied terrain with groomed trails, glades and small bowls. Its mountain peaks afford panoramic views south beyond Albuquerque and north to the Colorado boarder.  The slopes are located about 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, and new this season, bus service runs between the two. Off-season visitors can enjoy thrilling mountain biking and gorgeous hiking trails in the mountains.

River Rafting & Floats (Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque)

There’s truly nothing like a gentle float or paddle down one of the most beautiful rivers in the west. Couple a run with with a lunch or dinner and you’ll be in heaven. More adventurous visitors can tackle New Mexico’s world-class white water rapids. Outfitters like Los Rio River Runners host a variety of trips seasonally.

Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway with a pink New Mexico sunset and mountains.
Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway in Albuquerque takes you from the base to the 14,000 ft. peak.

Hiking and Soaring on the Sandia Peak Tramway (Albuquerque)

Take in breathtaking views on the outskirts of Albuquerque. Hike the La Luz Trail, if you’re looking for an adventure. For an easier trek, take the Tramway to the peak and walk an easy path to the ruins of a Kiwanis Cabin high above the city.

Walking or Riding the Bosque Trail (Albuquerque) 

Run, bike, skate or stroll down one of Albuquerque’s most scenic byways. The Paseo Del Bosque Trail extends from the north to the south borders of the the metro area. What makes the 16-mile trail one of the best trails in the west? It runs parallel to the Rio Grande, stately cottonwood trees and Albuquerque attractions including the BioPark and summer favorite Tingley Beach.

Driving the Route 66 National Scenic Byway (Albuquerque)

Cruise the entire state of New Mexico — from border to border — on Route 66. On Central Avenue in Albuquerque see a nod to to the past with buzzing neon signs, vintage motels and historic architecture.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Cave Exploration at Carlsbad Caverns National Park (Las Cruces)

This National Park offers 119 spectacular limestone caves along with ancient sea ledges and steep canyons above ground. The caverns are accessible and open for guided and self-guided tours, and are part of the landscape that makes New Mexico like nowhere else in the country.

Dune Sledding at White Sands National Monument (Las Cruces)

If you’ve never ridden a sled down enormous sand dunes, then visiting White Sands National Monument is a must. The dunes of this natural wonder are comprised of white gypsum crystals (sand made possible by the dry climate). The monument protects this sand and an abundance of desert wildlife. Hotels in the area , including Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, rent sleds to guests for an experience like no other.

There’s a reason to step out of the conference room and into the great outdoors in New Mexico no matter the season. 

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