Plan the Road Trip of your Life


Route 66


New Mexico Flag


Albuquerque has many Route 66 attractions: the Nob Hill district with Jones Motor Company, Nob Hill Shopping Center and the Valentine Diner Police Substation.
Classic Route 66 motels such as El Vado Auto Court Motel, De Anza Motor Lodge, Tewa Lodge and Luna Lodge.
The Historic Old Town of Albuquerque with San Felipe de Neri Church, the American International Rattlesnake Museum and the Albuquerque Museum. Downtown with the historic Kimo Theater, Maisel's Indian Trading Post and the Rail Runner Train, to and from Santa Fe.
Historic and natural sites: Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Coronado Historic Site, a State Monument and the Vocanoes west of town.... and much more
Get your kicks in Albuquerque!.

Albuquerque NM

< Head West
Laguna ¦ Mesita ¦ Suwanee

Head East >
Carnuel ¦ Tijeras ¦ Edgewood


About Albuquerque, New Mexico

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 5,312 ft (1.619 m). Population: 558,000 (2014).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).

Albuquerque is the most populated and the fastest growing city in New Mexico, and it ranks 32 among the largest cities in the U.S.; its Metro area has 903,000 inhabitants. It is the seat of Bernalillo County, NM. straddles the Rio Grande, between West Mesa and the western slope of the Sandia Mountains.

Tewa Lodge a Route 66 motel

Tewa Lodge in Albuquerque, Route 66, New Mexico
Route 66 motel Tewa Lodge, Albuquerque NM.
John Phelan

It is nicknamed ABQ, The Duke City and Burque. Its inhabitants are "Albuquerqueans" (or Burqueños).

People have lived in this area for over 10,000 years (the site at Sandia Cave is proof of this). Later the Pueblo people settled in the valleys of the rivers that flowed into the Rio Grande.

Seeking the "Cities of Gold", the Spanish explored the area, and in 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado named the native people "Pueblo", after the Spanish word for "village".

The Spanish settlied in Santa Fe in the early 1600s and converted the natives to Catholicism but opression led to a rebellion in 1680 which destroyed the colonial towns. The Spanish returned in 1692 and resettled the area, founding Albuquerque in 1706 as a key stopover on the Camino Real (Royal Road).

Origin of the name Albuquerque

The name Albuquerque comes from Extremadura, Spain. The first part of the word "Al-bury" is arabic for "the tower", remember that the Arabs occupied spain between 711 and 1492 A.D. The second part is pre-Roman, "Karkar" a local hill. Both form: Al-bury-Karkar or "Alburquerque", with an "R".

Another version says the name derives from the latin words for "white oak" (Albus quercus).

The local nobles were the Dukes of Alburquerque and one of them, Francisco was viceroy of New Spain (which comprised Mexico and all of the Southwestern USA) from 1653 to 1660.

The governor of Nueva Mejico named the town after the Duke of Alburquerque. Common usage led to the dropping of the first "R" and the town became known under its present name of Albuquerque.

After its independence from Spain, Nueva Mexico passed on to Mexico but it was ceded to the U.S. who won the Mexican - American War (1846-48). Confederate troops occupied the town during the Civil War and the Battle of albuquerque took place there on April 8, 1862.

Trivia: Altitude

Albuquerque is one of the highest major cities in the United States, ranging from 4,900 feet (1.490 m) in the Valley to over 6,700 feet (1.950 m) in the Sandia Mountain foothills.

In 1880 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad reached the town and built its depot and station 2 miles east of the Old Town Center, creating the New Town or downtown area, which incorporated in 1891 and in 1920 absorbed the Old Town.

Route 66 was aligned through the town along the old Santa Fe - Las Vegas loop. It soon brought new business to the central part of town. In 1937 it was realigned when the Santa Fe cut-off shortened the road which took an east-west course to Santa Rosa through Moriarty and to the west, the "Laguna cut-off" shortened the road towards Gallup.

The atomic age became part of Albuquerque with the Sandia National Laboratories (1949). But Route 66 and its chain of motels, diner and filling stations would be bypassed by I-40 when the Interstate looped around the north part of town in the 1960s.

Where to Stay

There is lodging along Route 66 in Albuquerque:

>> Book your Hotels in Albuquerque just next to Albuquerque.

Lodging Near Albuquerque along Route 66

Heading West...

Albuquerque and Sandia Mountains

Albuquerque and Sandia Mountains at sunset, by Daniel Schwen

Heading East....

The Santa Fe Route 66 segment
Book your Route 66 hotel now
Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> There are RV campgrounds in Albuquerque.

Weather in Albuquerque

Albuquerque is located in the Rio Grande Valley on the western slope of the Sandia Mountains. The climate is dry, sunny (278 sunny days per year) and the relative humidity is low. Altitude and dryness causes large swings between day and night temperatures, even in summer.

Average High ⁄ Low Temperatures in summer (Jul.) are: 92 ⁄ and 65 °F (33 ⁄ 18 °C) respectively. The average in winter (Jan), are: 47 ⁄ and 24 °F (8 ⁄ -4 °C)

Summers are hot and winters are cold. Rainfall tends to fall during the summer monsoon season (July through September), and adds up to about 11 in. per year (279 mm). Shielded by mountains, snowfall is quite low: around 10 inches (25 cm) per year.

Tornado risk

The tornado risk in Albuquerque is nil: Bernalillo County has no Tornado watches.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.

Route 66 and Albuquerque, NM
Location of Albuquerque, Route 66

Getting to Albuquerque

The Arizona State Line is 161 mi. west of Albuquerque, and to the west of the city is the town of Gallup (139 mi.)

To the north of Albuquerque, on the Santa Fe loop of Route 66 are: Bernalillo, Algodones, Santo Domingo Pueblo and Santa Fe (65 mi.)

To the east is Tijeras (16 mi.), Edgewood (26 mi.), Moriarty (39 mi), Santa Rosa (116 mi.), and Tucumcari (176 mi). Glenrio (218 mi.) is located on the Texas ⁄ New Mexico state line.

Map of Albuquerque and Route66

in New Mexico.

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: I-40 & I-25 where they overlap the old alignment.

See Route 66's alignment in Texas

  Click to See the "Santa Fe" alignment of Route 66

Remove or restore State shading

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Route 66 itinerary through Albuquerque

Route 66 logo

Route 66 in New Mexico

Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)

Visit our Santa Fe Loop page which describes the complete 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque through Pecos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo.

Below is full information on Route 66's 1926 alignment in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: Attractions & Sights

Things to Do and See

Albuquerque its Attractions

Where Route 66 crosses itself

Albuquerque has many attractions and sights: from volcanos to Native American pueblos and a historic Colonial Old Town to Classic Route 66 motels (Tewa, el Vado, De Anza) and diners, theaters, trading posts. Awesome outdoor activities and a feeling of the Southwest.

Walking tour in Central Albuquerque

Downtown Sights

A 0.5 mi. walk along central Albuquerque (see Map).

Albuquerque under Snow

Albuquerque under snow, by A Saavedra

Start at Central Avenue and First Street, at the Alvarado Transportation Center and the Rail Runner Train which runs to and from Santa Fe. Then head west, on the NE corner of 5th St. is the Kimo Theater and in the middle of the next block is Maisel's Indian Trading Post. The following block has the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico and the Historic El Rey Theater with Mediterranean style (1941). Head one more block west to bucolic Robinson Park.

Below are full details of all these sights, historic places and Route 66 icons:

Railway Station

The Downtown Albuquerque Rail Runner station is located on 100 1st Street SW, Albuquerque

See Map and Street View.

Railroad station in downtown Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque Station, A. Whittall
Click for Street View

The first station was built here in the 1880s. In 1902 the Alvarado Hotel was added, built in Mission Revival style. It was named after Hernando de Alarado, a member of the 1540 Coronado Expedition. The new station was built next to it. The hotel was demolished in 1970 and the station burned down in 1993. The current complex was rebuilt in the same style as the original buildings between 2002 and 2006.

Take the Rail Runner To Santa Fe

Buy your ticket online or onboard. Fares, ticketing at the Train's website

A high-speed rail link that gets you to Santa Fe in 80 minutes. Named after the "Roadrunner", the state bird, it gives you some views of the Sandia, San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos.

Day Tour to Santa Fe

The train station in Santa Fe is the historic Santa Fe Depot close to the 400-year-old Plaza. There are plenty of sights and attractions for a full day walking tour in Santa Fe.

Walk west along Central Avenue. At 4th St. you can take a detour north to visit (0.6 mi.) the Madonna of the Trail statue:

Madonna of the Trail

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

4th St. NW and Marble Ave.

There are 12 monuments, one in each of the 12 states crossed by the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) highway, the statue in New Mexico was located in Albuquerque.

This statue is the work of sculptor Auguste Leimbach of St. Louis and it depicts a pioneer mother holding a baby with her left arm and a rifle with her right one. Another child clings to her. It is 10 ft. high (3.05 m). The statue was cast in 12 identical monuments made from alagonite stone (a mixture of Missouri granite, crushed marble, Missouri granite cement and lead ore).

These monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and they stand as a symbol of the courage of the pioneer women who stood by their families and helped tame the West.

The NSDAR established in 1911 a committe to promote and organize the highway that became the N.O.T. and later, in 1926, Route 66. There is another one on US 66: the Madonna of the Trail in Upland CA.

See its Street View.

Kimo Theater

423 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Amazing fusion of Pueblo and Art Deco style theater which opened in 1927.

Urban myth has it that the ghost of a six-year old boy haunts the theater, he was killed when a heater exploded in the lobby in 1951.


The swastika was a Navajo symbol for life, happiness and freedom long before it was desecrated by its adoption in Nazi Germany.

The name in local Pueblo Isleta language means "King of its kind". It was built for Oreste Bachechi and cost $ 150,000 in 1927. The three-story building has a steel frame and brick walls with ornamental glzaed tile decoration. The marquee and entrance were refurbished in the 1950s. Its decoration includes native designs in chandeliers, staircases and murals.

It closed in 1968, was almost demolished but saved on time it was restored in the 1990s and now offers performances and films. Self guided tours daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Closed Sun, Mon. Website:

Maisel's Indian Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM

Maisel's Indian Trading Post, A. Whittall

Maisel's Indian Trading Post

510 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Built in Indian Pueblo sytle in 1939 by Maurice Maisel, it is still open selling Southwest souvenirs to tourists.

The windows are of pigmented glass and are topped with murals depicting Southwestern Indians painted by native artists. The terracotta flooring are also decorated with native designs.

See its Street View and location map.

End of the Walking Tour

Keep on and visit the El Rey Theater built in 1941 and Robinson Park. From here you can head back or head northeast to the Historical "Old Colonial Town":

Old Colonial Town

The Old Town of Albuquerque is the Spanish colonial city, it is a 1.2 mi. walk from Robinson Park (Map).

Visit the American International Rattlesnake Museum, and then reach the old Plaza with the historic San Felipe de Neri church; to the east is the Albuquerque Museum.

Old Town of Albuquerque

Rio Grande Blvd NW and Central Ave. NW.

This is where the Spaniards founded the town in 1706. It spans about 10 blocks around the central Plaza which was the heart of the Spanish colonial town. The San Felipe de Neri historic church built in 1793 is on its north side.

On the eastern side of the town are Albuquerque Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

It still looks like it did in the 1700s, with Pueblo-Spanish styled adobe buildings have been converted into souvenir shops and restaurants. Enjoy its brick paths, hidden patios and adobe benches ("bancos").

More information at the

San Felipe de Neri

2005 N Plaza St NW, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

San Felipe de Neri Church, Albuquerque, NM

Historic San Felipe de Neri church, A. Whittall

Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city.

It replaced the original 1706 mission church, completed in 1719, whose original name was San Francisco Xavier, but the Duke of Albuquerque renamed it after King Phillip of Spain ("Felipe").

The building collapsed in 1792 due to heavy rain and the current church was erected the following year. Towers were built in 1861 and the school and convent were added between 1878 and 1881.

See its Street View and location map.

A choice of Museums

Albuquerque has many museums, below is just a small sample of them, both are right beside the Old City:

Albuquerque Museum

2000 Mountain NW, Albuquerque NM.

Experience Albuquerque's art and history. Performances, tours and the historic Casa San Ysidro an 1870s ranch in the village of Corrales, north of Albuquerque.

Tue. through Sun. 9 AM - 5 PM. (505) 243-7255 .

American International Rattlesnake Museum

202 San Felipe St. N.W. Albuquerque

An exciting and educational experience for kids and adults. It houses the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the whole world.

Driving around town on short tours

There are two historic districts close by, both on Route 66, drive along the old Mother Road through Albuquerque.

Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District

4th St. from Stover Ave. to Bridge St. south of downtown, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

In 1926 4th Street became U.S. Route 66 (the old Santa Fe alignment) promoting its development to cater to the motorists and tourists.

It has buildings with different styles from Curvilinear to Streamlined Moderne. Later 1950s and 60s buildings were ultra modern. The 1974 Civic Plaza closed the traffic along 4th St. and led to a decline of the community. Later it has been revitalized with government aid.

See, among other buildings, the Magnolia Service Station (1100 4th Street), Durand Motor Company (929 4th Street) the Arrow Supermarket (1101 4th Street) and El Coronado Café (1407 4th Street) and Red Ball Café (1303 4th Street).

See its Location map.

Nob Hill

Satellite Café

With a 10-foot flying saucer on its facade. The bizarre meets Route 66.

See its Street View (3549 Route 66).

Central Ave. S. E., between Girard and Washington and Lomas to Silver.

Head east along Central Ave. It is about 2 mi. from 1st St. in the downtown, passing by the University of New Mexico (Map).

A fifteen block long district is the place for shopping and eating. It has many historic iconic Route 66 buildings.

Route 66 was aligned along Central Avenue in 1937 and this brought new life to the dormant rural highway: motels and diners popped up along it. Flashing neon signs enticed drivers and stores sprung up to cater to the travellers.

Route 66 gave Nob Hill its personality, it became Albuquerque's "Main Street" with the added charm of Route 66 Americana style architecture.

Its main icons are described below:

Jones Motor Company, Albuquerque, NM

Jones Motor Company Nob Hill, Albuquerque, A. Whittall

Jones Motor Company

3222 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Built in 1939 by Ralph Jones it is an Art Moderne building that served as a filling station and car dealership.

Its tower was an eye catcher for those entering town from the east along Route 66. It was the most modern service station in the West. It is now the Kelly's Brew Pub and has been restored and is a restaurant.

See its Street View and location map.

Nob Hill Shopping Center

SW corner of Central Ave. and Carlisle Blvd, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Nob Hill Shopping Center , Albuquerque, NM

Nob Hill Shopping Center in Albuquerque, A. Whittall

Built in 1946 it was New Mexico's first drive-in shopping center, an icon of America's love affair with automobiles.

Local developer DKB Sellers saw the opportuinity of a car-centered society and built it at a key location in Nob Hill. It had a U shaped distribution with a central parking lot. It is built in the Moderne style with two pairs of decorative towers, stucco walls and decorative brick courses. It is still open with many shops and restaurants.

See its Street View and location map.

Valentine Diner Police Substation

On Central Ave. SE and Monte Vista Blvd., Albuquerque, NM at Triangle Park's Girard Gateway.

See Street View and Map

This is a 1940s Valentine's Diner which has been refurbished and renovated. It is now used as a police substation in Nob Hill.

A Diner which once stood on 8th and Central as the "Albuquerque Diner", is a typical example of Route 66 "Americana" (More on Americana), it was a prefab restaurant, defined as "a restaurant shaped like a railroad car", the name derives from "dining car".

The diner was one of at least 2,000 diners built by the Valentine Manufacturing Company of Wichita, Kansas. They were ready-to-use mobile diners with stools, tables and counters, plus a kitchen area. They were available in different sizes and models.

Arthur Valentine (1891 - 1954) invented them and began producing them in 1947. After good growth during the 1950s, the company gradually lost business in the 1960s and folded in 1975, the fast food chains and suburbia had displaced the small diners.

Route 66 Motels

Many iconic Route 66 establishments have lost the battle and faded away Aztec motel was demolished, the El Vado motel and the De Anza Inn are now closed but you can still see their vintage buildings. From Nob Hill, head east and visit some classic motels:

De Anza Motor Lodge

4301 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Opened in 1939 by S.D. Hambaugh and C.G. Wallace it offered comfortable accommodation and a Zuni crafts and jewelwry trading store

De Anza Motor Lodge, Albuquerque, NM

Route 66 Vintage De Anza Motor Lodge, Albuquerque NM
The remains of the De Anza Motor Lodge, a vintage motel on Route 66 in Albuquerque
A. Whittall
Click on the image for a street view.

It was in its time the biggest motel on East Central Avenue built in Spanish and Pueblo styles it had private phones and air-cooling in every unit. Wallace kept working it until his death in 1993. It is now closed, but some scenes of "Breaking Bad" were shot in its parking lot.

See its Street View and location map.

Other Classic Route 66 motels:

Tewa Motor Lodge

5715 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

It opened in 1946, when post-World War II America was experiencing a road travel boom. It adopted an Indian name to evoke Southwestern charm. It was built in Pueblo Revival style with projecting wooden beams and a neon arrow as its sign. It is still open.

Its photo is shown above; see its Street View and location map.

Luna Lodge

9119 East Central Ave., Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Built in 1949 it was the easternmost hotel in town. It is a U shaped property with 28 units built in the classic Pueblo-Spanish Revival style with projecting wood beams and stucco walls.

A typical neon sign with an arrow points the way for guests. It is a housing facility nowadays. But in the 1960s and 70s business fell when I-40 bypassed Route 66.

See its Street View and location map.

Head back west along Central Avenue, and at the opposite side of Town, are the remains of El Vado Court Motel:

El Vado Auto Court Motel

2500 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Opened by Daniel Murphy in 1937 to coincide with the new Laguna cut-off alignment of Route 66 which bypassed the historic Rio Puerco bridge and headed straight out of town along the new Rio Grande Bridge. The name "Vado" is the Spanish word for "ford"

It originally had 32 units and a filling station. It was built in Spanish Pueblo Revival style. Later a pool was added, the gas pumps were removed. It ceased operating in 2008.

See its Street View and location map.

Events, Wines and Local Crafts and Art

Some tips and places to visit during your stay in Albuquerque:

Event: New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair

2501 San Pedro St. NE, Ste. 110 Albuquerque

Held every summer (in June) since 1961. Is a non-profit fair for New Mexican artists. More information:


Local Wines & Wineries

Spanish tradition of winemaking in New Mexico.

Casa Rodeña Winery. 733 Chavez Rd. N.W. Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (

Anderson Valley Vineyards. 4920 Rio Grande Blvd. N.W., Albuquerque. (505) 344-7266

Corrales Winery. 6275 Corrales Rd., Corrales (

Gruet Winery. 8400 Pan American Frwy. N.E., Albuquerque (

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

2401 12th St. N.W. Albuquerque. (505) 843-7270 (Map)

Discover the Pueblo Indian culture. See the traditional dances a collection of pottery, buy handicrafts and turquoise jewels; taste local food at the café. Open 9 AM - 5 PM.

Tours & Itineraries plus outdoor Fun

Nearby Route 66 Towns

Drive east along Route 66 up the Tijeras Canyon, visiting Tijeras where you can access the forests on the Rocky Mountains (Sandia and Manzano Mountains) along the edge of New Mexico's high desert.

You can drive the original 1926 alignment of Route 66 which lies to the north of Albuquerque, and visit the towns of Bernalillo, Algodones, Santo Domingo Pueblo and the City of Santa Fe

Sandia Crest Aerial Tramway

Aerial Tramway at Sandia Mountain, New Mexico
Aerial Tramway on Sandia Crest, close to Albuquerque NM.
Thomas Kriese.

Some Amazing Side Trips

The Turquoise Trail

This circuit is a full day trip, almost 120 miles (round trip) to the north of Albuquerque through Tijeras.

We describe the trip here: Turquoise Trail, in our Tijeras Village page.

You will be able to drive up the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway to the summit at 10,652 ft. (3.249 m) for spectacular views of Albuquerque and the forested mountains.

Aerial Tramway to Sandia Crest

Don't want to drive there? Take the tramway and reach Sandia Crest easily.... On the western slope of Sandia Crest is the world's third longest single span aerial tramway with a stretch of 2.7 miles.

It links Albuquerque with the crest of Sandia Mountains. More details at: The tramway station is at 30 Tramway Rd. NE Albuquerque.

It is an 16 mile drive from Albuquerque (See Map).

Salt Missions Scenic Byway

This is a circuit of 140 miles (roughly 3 hours of driving).

The Salt Missions Scenic Byway follows ancient native trails and trade routes that run from the mountains, to the plains in the east. Read full details here, on our Tijeras Village page.

Pueblo People at Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico

Pueblo people at Ohkay Owingeh. Carptrash

Jemez Mountain Trail

This is a full day round trip with different variants, below we describe them all.

The route goes through the Jémez Mountains with cliffs, forests and a gushing river take you back to the past.

From Albuquerque to San Ysidro

This is the first part of the trip and spans 45 miles (one way); see Map with directions.

It includes two stops at Bernalillo:

Coronado Historic Site

485 Kuaua Rd, Bernalillo, near Exit 242 on I-25 (20 mi. north of Albuquerque); see Map and directions.

State Monument

It includes the partially rebuilt ruins of the Pueblo of Kuaua (it means "evergreen" in the native Tiwa language), which was occupied between 1300 and 1590s.

Visit the Interpretative Center and view the original native murals, walk the interpretative trail and visit the sacred underground ceremonial room (Kiva).

Spanish Conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado was the first European to reach the area in 1540, seeking the Cities of Gold. He named the native people "Pueblo", after the Spanish word for "village".

From Wed. through Mon. 8:30 AM - 5 PM. Admission fee charged. More details:

J and R Museum, Albuquerque

J&R Vintage Auto Museum

3650-A Hwy. 528 Rio Rancho, NM (Map).

Over 60 fully restored antique cars and trucks on display. Books, die-cast toys. Admission fee.

Vintage car at the J&R Museum

To San Ysidro and Jémez

Leave Bernalillo and head west along US-550.

Zia Pueblo

The Zia Sun symbol appears on the New Mexico State flag. The ancient pueblo was occupied by the Spanish in 1583 and razed in 1689. It was rebuilt later. Visit it on the north side of the river (see Map).

San Ysidro

Just ahead is NM-4, there take a right into the Spanish colonial village (Pueblo) of San Ysidro (Map) where the road heads north, next to the Jémez River. The land is arid, but there are farms next to the river. Stop by the refurbished adobe church.

Jémez Pueblo

The road reaches the Jémez Pueblo (Map), where you should stop at the Walatowa Visitor Center ( for an overview of the area's history and visit its museum.

See the red clay pottery at Jémez, the village is known for it. And look at the old homes along the road.

Just ahead is the village of Walatowa (which means "The Place").

The Hemish natives (Jémez) lived in this area when the Spanish arrived in 1541. There were over 60 towns with 30,000 residents which the Spanish grouped into two towns with missions. The only one still standing is Walatowa.

Gilman Tunnels: Short Five mile side trip

Just north of Jémez to the left is NM-485, take it and drive along it for 5 miles. The narrow road follows the Guadalupe River passing by small farms until the canyon narrows and granite rocks appear on both sides. A railroad built in the 1920s, to move the logs downhill cut two tunnels through the cliffs.

See Satellite vies and Map

Towards Jemez Springs

Head along NM-4 northwards as the road follows the Jémez River through the Cañon de San Diego, and reach Jemez Springs, a State Monument (

See Map. The small village was built in the 1860s and has a Bathhouse built in the 1870s and refurbished, where you can get a massage and bathe in the hot water spring. The Indians built a pueblo here and named it Giusewa ("Place of Boiling Waters"), After the Spanish conquest a mission was erected (San Jose de Los Jemez Mission). The pueblo ruins and the church are now part of the State Monument; see the Street View of the ruins at the State Park.

Ahead, one mile north of the village is the "Soda Dam", a natural dam built by layers of mineral deposits that block the narrow canyon almost entirely; the river cuts through it. Location and Street View.

The road heads north passing Battleship Rock, a volcanic ridge and then reaches La Cueva, where the road forks and offers different alternatives for your day trip:

West to Fenton Lake, Cuba and back to Albuquerque

At La Cueva you can buy some snacks and head along the left fork, NM-126, reaching Fenton Lake, a State Park, 8 mi. west.

Lake Fenton State Park, near Albuquerque, NM

Lake Fenton State Park, New Mexico
Lake Fenton State Park, New Mexico.
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Turn back to La Cueva or head northwest going through the Santa Fe National Forest reaching Cuba after 30 miles -there are 20 mi. of unpaved road in the central part of NM-126, closed in winter. (Map), where you can take the road back to Albuquerque along NM-550. See the map of this alternative, which is a 105 mile long loop from San Ysidro and back again, through Cuba.

East to Jémez Falls, Bandelier National Monument and Albuquerque.

From Las Cuevas keep along NM-4 and head east into the forest of aspens and pines, at the Jémez Falls Campground is a trail that leads to the 70 ft. cascade of Jémez Falls (0.5 mi trek).

Valles Caldera National Preserve

After 5 mi., the road enters the Valles Caldera National Preserve ( a park that covers a collapsed volcano that erupted over 1 million years ago. You can return via NM-4 using the same route you came by or head east towards Santa Fe and from there head back to Albuquerque:

This is the map of the road from La Cueva via Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and to Albuquerque via I-25: Map via Santa Fe which is 138 miles long.

Bandelier National Monument

See the Steet View of the access to the site.

The monument covers 33,000 acres of mesas, canyons, arid and forested areas and is a place to spot wildlife, hike and visit the petroglyphs and cliff dwellings that date back almost 11,000 years. More information at the website

From Bandelier, head back to Abuquerque via Santa Fe.

The Old alignment of Route 66 near Albuquerque

route 66 shield New Mexico

Across Albuquerque along Old Route 66

Route 66 through Albuquerque, NM.

See the Map and Directions through Albuquerque (1937 alignment).

Full details on the 1926 - 1937 Alignment of Route 66 through Santa Fe (The Santa Fe Loop).

> > See the previous segment Carnuel to Eastern Albuquerque.

> > See the next segment Suwnaee to Laguna.

From Central Ave and Tramway Blvd., next to I-40's Exit 167 in Eastern Albuquerque, follow Central Ave. all the way into Albuquerque, it crosses I-25 and goes through the downtown ABQ. It Becomes Central Ave NW.

Route 66 crosses itself

On the corner of 4th St and Central Ave., Route 66 crosses itself: the 1937 alignment crosses the old 1926 alignment that came from Santa Fe.

Albuquerque to Suwanee - Correo through Isleta and Los Lunas

The 1926 - 1937 alignment

South of Albuquerque, the road 1926 alignment of US 66 followed US 85 and was part of the National Old Trails Road. It passed through Isleta and Los Lunas and then turned west towards Correo. - Suwanee. This longer alignment was replaced in 1937 with the "Laguna Cut-off" (see Map of the 1926 alignment south of Albuquerque).

Albuquerque to Suwanee along the 1937 alignment

This segment up to Rio Puerco is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Map of this Segment. From the downtown of ABQ (4th St. and Central Ave) head west along Central Avenue as it curves and crosses the Rio Grande River. The Avenue approaches I-40, but don't enter it, cross to its north side along Atrisco Vista Blvd. and follow the N. Frontage Road west at Exit 149. This area is a sandy area west of the river with dunes and known as the "Nine Mile Hill", it has Great Views of Albuquerque and the Sandia Range to the east.

You will have to enter I-40 ahead at Exit 140 because Central Ave. ends further ahead and turns north. Remain on I-40 until Exit 126, where you should head along NM-6 towards the south and reach Suwanee and the 1926 alignment of Route 66.

Santa Fe to Albuquerque alignment 1926 - 1937

Get full details of this segment that passes through Santo Domingo (Kewa Pueblo), Algodones and Bernalillo here: Santa Fe to Albuquerque via Old Route 66.

National and State Parks

Petroglyph National Monument

About 8 mi. northwest of Albuquerque. Access from Exit 154 of I-40, head north along Unser Blvd. for 3 mi. to Western Trail, gateway to the Nat. Monument.

This volcanic area with the black volcanic rocks were sacred for the Pueblo people, who engraved their petroglyphs on them.

The National Monument is a day-use park that closes at 5 PM. Take your time (average hiking time through the park is from 1⁄2 to 4 hours). Stop at the visitor center is (at Unser Blvd. NW and Western Trail) for current park information, maps and brochures. Open 8 AM - 5 PM.

Boca Negra Canyon

View around 100 petroglyphs along a paved trail guided with signs. Paid parking, drinking fountain and restrooms.

Rinconada Canyon

A 2.2 mile round trip trail (no water) with 300 petroglyphs; 1.5 to 2 hour trek.

Piedras Marcadas Canyon

A 1.5 mile rount trip trail (no water) with 500 petroglyphs; 1.5 hours.

The Volcanoes

The "Three Sisters" or Albuquerque volcanoes, and the West Mesa area formed simultaneously 150,000 years ago when the Earth's crust cracked and allowed magma to rise through it along a 5 mi. (8 km) fissure like a curtain of fire.

The Rio Grande Valley is actually a "rift", where the Earth's crust is thinner allowing lava to flow upwards, the valley to sink and the lateral areas to rise, like the Sandia Mountains to the east.

There are several trails from 0.8 to 2 miles long, from easy to moderately strenuous, which allow you to view the volcanoes by hiking around the cinder cones. Great views of the Rio Grande Valley and the Sandia Mountains. Take water with you. Parking lot is located at Atrisco Vista Blvd. NW (former Paseo del Volcan), about 4.8 miles north of I-40. (see Map and Street View.

More information National Parks website

View of one of Albuquerque's volcanoes

Volcano in Albuquerque, Route 66, New Mexico
Volcano in Albuquerque NM.
Jeremy Taylor

Cibola National Forest

11776 Highway 337, Tijeras NM. (505) 281-3304. Official Website

The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands spans several locations covering 1.6 million acres in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

The areas nearest Albuquerque are the Sandia and the Mountainair Ranger Districts. Further west, between Albuquerque and Gallup is the Mt. Taylor Ranger District.

Full details.


See the Side Trips described further up.


Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.

Photo by Carptrash, under its CC BY 3.0 License.

Jeremy Taylor under its CC-BY 2.0 License.

Albuquerque Basin Volcanic Field, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Image, by John Phelan, under its CC BY 3.0 License.

Image by Camerafiend, under its CC BY-SA 3.0 License.

Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico, UNM Press.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License