About New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Area: 121,589 sq. mi. (315.194 km2). Population: 2,085,572 (20134est.).
Width: 342 mi. (550 km). Length 370 mi. (595 km)
Time zone (along U.S. 66 alignment): Central (CST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-6).
- Nickname: "Land of Enchantment".
- Motto: "Crescit eundo" (It grows as it goes)
- Capital: Santa Fe
- Highest point: Wheeler Peak, 13,167 ft. (4.013 m)
- 45th most populous state.
- Fifth largest state in the U.S.
- Admitted as the 47th state of the Union on January 6, 1912
- Route 66 length in Texas is 392 miles (6314 km), the longest mileage of the whole road.
Camino Real and the Old 1926 Route 66 in Algodones
Name: New Mexico
The Spaniards named it in 1563 after the Aztec (Mexica) Empire. At that time, what is now known as Mexico was named Nueva España (New Spain), and only after 1821 did it become Mexico.
New Mexico's History
The Clovis culture with a distinct stone tool industry dates back to almost 13,000 years, and is named after the site in Clovis, NM. These Paleo-Indians would later lead to the Pueblo and Mongollon people met by the Europeans during their first forays into the region. Francisco Coronado explored the area in 1541 seeking the mythical wealthy city of Cibola.
The area was part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain, as the Province of New Mexico (1598). Spanish missionaries settled the Sangre de Cristo Mountains founding Santa Fe in 1608 and again after the 1680.1692 Pueblo Indian Revolt. Albuquerque was established in 1706. After Mexican independence, the province became part of Mexico (1821).
It was annexed by the US after the Mexican - American War (1846-48), established as a Territory in 1850 and enlarged by the Gadsden Purchase of 1853.
It was admitted in the Union in 1912, with its capital in Santa Fe.
Route 66 crosses the two prongs of the Rocky Mountains into New Mexico, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains east of Santa Fe, the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque and the Zuni Mountains west of Albuquerque. The Rio Grande River flows past Albuquerque. The eastern area is a high plateau that falls off towards the Texas Panhandle.
Sandia Crest Aerial Tramway
New Mexico, its Climate
Along the alignment of Route 66, in the higher parts of the State, summer temperatures are moderated by the altitude, averaging 70°F (26°C), but in other parts of the state, the temperature in July can exceed 100°F (38°C).
The state is arid or semi-arid and very dry: average rainfall is around 14 inches (350 mm) yearly.
It snows across the state in winter, especially in the higher northern mountains. Albuquerque averages around 2 inches of snow monthly in winter.
Bear in mind that altitude and dryness causes large swings between day and night temperatures, even in summer. Tornadoes are extremely unlikely in NM.
Cities in NM
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state (Pop. 556,495). Santa Fe is fourth with 69,976.
Around 492,000 people live along Route 66's corridor through New Mexico.
It has over 134,000 Native Americans and is an important center of Indian culture. The main groups are Navajo, Apache and Pueblo.
The Hispanic culture also permeates the state (half of its population has Hispanic origin) both from the original Spanish colonists and the later Mexican immigration. There is a strong presence of Native American art and handicrafts. Buy an Indian souvenir during your trip.
Where to Stay in New Mexico
Accommodation in New Mexico
The New Mexico towns along Route 66 offer different lodging options. Check out hotels and motels in the main towns.
Towns from East to West
- Motels and Hotels in Tucumcari.
- Motels and Hotels in Santa Rosa.
- Motels and Hotels in Moriarty.
- Motels and Hotels in Albuquerque.
- Motels and Hotels in Acoma Pueblo.
- Motels and Hotels in Grants.
- Motels and Hotels in Gallup.
Hotels along the Santa Fe segment of Route 66
>> Book your Hotel in New Mexico
Map of Route 66 through New Mexico
Interactive Route 66 map in NM
See our New Mexico Route 66 map, with the location of each town, and links on the map that give full details on attracions, sights, Route 66 icons and more.
Towns located on Route 66
Click on the links below for complete information on each town and village
Alphabetical list of Route 66 Towns in New Mexico
Choose the town for full details...
Alphabetical list of Towns
A list of New Mexico's Attractions
Below we list the main attractions along Route 66 in New Mexico. They are listed from east to west along the main alignment, followed by the Santa Fe Loop.
Historic Place: Oldest Church in the US, San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe
by A. Whittall
San Felipe de Neri (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Saint Joseph Church (Laguna Pueblo) Historic Site
San Esteban del Rey Mission Church (Acoma) Historic Site
Santa Maria Mission (McCartys)
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Old Zuni) Mission (Zuni Pueblo) Historic Site
Nuestra Señora de Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) (Tecolote)
San Jose Church (San Jose)
Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos (Pecos) Historic Site
Nuestra Señora de Luz Church (Canoncito) Historic Site
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi (Santa Fe) Historic Site
San Miguel Mission oldest church in the U.S. (Santa Fe) Historic Site
Our Lady of Sorrows Church (San Lorenzo Sanctuary) (Bernalillo) Historic Site
Sands Motel Sign in Grants
by A. Whittall
Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumcari) Historic Site
Cactus Motor Lodge (Tucumcari) Historic Site
Sunset Motel, Sands Motel, Cactus Motel and Lariat Motel (Moriarty)
El Vado Auto Court Motel (Albuquerque) Historic Site
De Anza Motor Lodge (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Tewa Lodge (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Luna Lodge (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Wayside Motel and Sands Motel (Grants)
Lariat Lodge (Gallup)
El Rancho Hotel (Gallup) Historic Site
Plaza Hotel (Las Vegas) Historic Site
Dead Man's Curve, Mesita
by A. Whittall
Other Historic Sites and Places to See
General Stores and Trading Posts
Richardson Store (Montoya) General Store Historic Site
Maisel's Indian Trading Post (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Acoma Curio Shop (San Fidel) Historic Site
Bowlin's Old Crater Trading Post (Bluewater) Historic Site
Santo Domingo Trading Post (Santo Domingo) Historic Site
Santa Rosa Route 66 Museum
by Tony Hisgett
Park Lake Historic District (Santa Rosa) Historic Site
Nob Hill District (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Old Colonial Town of Albuquerque (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Barrio De Analco (Santa Fe) Historic Site
Saint Joseph Church, Laguna Pueblo
by A. Whittall
County Courthouse (Santa Rosa) Historic Site
Greene Evans Garage (Moriarty) Historic Site
Jones Motor Company (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Nob Hill Shopping Center (Albuquerque) Historic Site
Fort Wingate (Wingate) Historic Site
Glorieta Pass Battlefield (Glorieta) Historic Site
Oldest House in the U.S (Santa Fe) Historic Site
Palace of the Governors (Santa Fe) Historic Site
Palomino Motel, Tucumcari
by Ross Griff
Whiting Brothers Service Station (Moriarty)
Ruins of the Whiting Bros. Gas Station (San Fidel)
Roy T. Herman's Garage and Service Station (Thoreau) Historic Site
Whiting Brothers Service Station and Motel (Continental Divide)
Historic Segments of Route 66
Each segment is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Glenrio to San Jon
San Jon to Tucumcari
Tucumcari to Montoya
Montoya to Newkirk
Newkirk to Santa Rosa
Albuquerque to Rio Puerco
Laguna to McCartys
McCartys to Grants
Grants to Continental Divide
Iyanbito to Rehoboth
Manuelito to Arizona State Line
Bar in Suwanee
by A. Whittall
Clines Corners Sign
by Alan Levine
Club Cafe site (Santa Rosa)
Route 66 Auto Museum (Santa rosa)
Longhorn Ranch (Moriarty)
Red Top Valentine Diner (Edgewood)
Dead Man's Curve (Carnuel)
Musical Highway (Carnuel)
Valentine Diner Police Substation (Albuquerque)
Owl Rock (Mesita)
Dead Man's Curve (Mesita)
The Continental Divide Watershed (Continental Divide)
Wayside Motel, Grants, by A. Whittall
Archaeological and Native American Sites
Ruins at Pecos Pueblo, Public Domain
Laguna Pueblo Historic Site
Acoma Pueblo (Acoma)
Visit Zuni Pueblo (Zuni Pueblo)
Rowe Pueblo Ruins (Rowe)
Pecos National Historical Park (Pecos) Historic Site
Pueblos close to Santa Fe (Santa Fe)
Taos Pueblo (Taos) Historic Site
Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo) Historic Site
San Felipe Pueblo (Algodones)
Coronado Historic Site and Kuaua Ruins, (Bernalillo) Historic Site
Santa Ana Pueblo
Route 66 itinerary across New Mexico
Detailed description of the alignment of U.S. 66 through New Mexico, from East to West. For each town we give details of Route 66's alignment through it, so click above on a town and read more about the course of US 66 in that specific town.
Route 66 in New Mexico
Current mileage: 388 mi.
Above we detail each of the Historic Segments of Route 66 in New Mexico
New Mexico is the state with most mileage along Route 66. It is followed by Arizona with 388 mi.
At Albuquerque, two alignments of Route 66 cross each other, one went through Vegas and Santa Fe (the Santa Fe Loop), the other (after 1938), bypassed them.
Route 66 crosses the state of New Mexico from Glenrio on the Texas border to Gallup in the high region in western NM. The old alignment runs mostly parallel to I-40.
A detailed description of Route 66's course across New Mexico with all the towns, attractions and landmarks.
Advertisement: Amazon.com, a good road map.
The road crosses San Jon River (7 miles) and heads west where it meets I-40 and becomes its South Service Road, (15 mi.). Enter the town of San Jon (18 miles) and follow Route 66 all the way to Exit 335 (38 mi.) as the Southern Frontage Road of I-40.
At the Exit, follow the road across I-40 into Tucumcari as I-40 Bus. Loop. - E. Tucumcari Blvd. (41 mi.)
Plenty of Attractions: See its Historic Blue Swallow Motel, to the north of the town is the Conchas Lake State Park.
Pass through the downtown (41 miles), and carry straight on until reaching US 58, where you take a left towards I-40 and get onto it, westwards at Exit 329 (44 miles).
Blue Swallow Motel, New Mexico Public Domain
The old Route 66 continues but is cut at different places (on the North of I-40, as W. Tucumcari Blvd. and later at mile 70, you can spot it as the South Frontage Road which is inaccessible at this point).
You can leave I-40 at Exit 321 and go to the South Service Road, heading west along it (52 mi.) it passes to the north side of the Interstate (56 mi.).
Go by Montoya (63 miles) with its Historic site: Richardson Store. The road keeps close to I-40 and reaches Newkirk (75 mi.), and keeps due west until it reaches Cuervo where it passes to the south side again (Exit 291 - 84 miles). Cross I-40 and turn right after the bridge.
The road forks, the right branch heads back to I-40 (Frontage road), take the left fork which adopts a SW course and separates from the Interstate. It will meet NM-156, (91 mi.) take a right along it.
It will take you to I-40 and U.S. 84, (100 miles) at Exit 277, follow US 84 and cross to the North of I-40, take a left, again cross I-40 and enter Santa Rosa (102 mi.).
Souvenir Shop in Tucumcari, NM by Carol M. Hi ghsmith
Check out its Attractions: See its "Blue Hole", and the Park Lake Historic District (Historic Place).
Leave town and head north (U.S. 84), cross to the North of I-40 at Exit 273, head West along the Interstate. At Exit 267 (119 miles), to the north, is NM 379, the original 1920s alignment via Santa Fe which was moved shortly after further west to what is now Exit 256 where NM 219 departs north to Santa Fe with US. 84, following the 1930s alignment which we describe below:
Route 66 through Santa Fe
Route 66, the "Old" Santa Fe Loop
This is the pre-1937 alignment, which curved north to Santa Fe, and then south back to Albuquerque. The later alignment cut straight west to Albuquerque.
It has many Attractions, for instance, The Santa Fe Trail passed through this town. Visit its Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge.
Return by I-25 to Romeoville and keep west along it. Take Exit 335 and follow the frontage road as it crosses back and forth across I-25. Pass Tecolote, and at Bernal take Hwy B26A on the south side and then back to the north side along the Frontage Road and, again, on the south at Pecos River.
Go right into the city center along Pecos Trail, leaving NM-466; merge with the "Old Santa Fe Trail", and reach the downtown area.
See all the Attractions & sights in Santa Fe.
State Capital and ancient Spanish colonial town. Visit St. Francis Cathedral and the Palace of the Governors. Take in its typical building style.
Leave the center along Alameda St., Sandoval St. and then Cerrillos Rd. Cross US 84, keep SW, the road becomes NM-14. Get on I-25 at Exit 278.
At Exit 259 you can take a side trip to visit Santo Domingo with its Historic Places Santo Domingo Trading Post and Pueblo of Santo Domingo (Kewa Pueblo).
At Sandia Pueblo it merges with NM-556 at a roundabout. Head west along NM556, it becomes 4th St. NW. At Lomas Blvd.
The old alignment enters Albuquerque along 4th St., which changes direction, so follow 5th until meeting the other (1937) alignment of US 66 from Santa Rosa via Moriarty, on Central Ave in the downtown district of Albuquerque.
Getting back to the post-1937 alignment:
The 1937 alignment west of Santa Rosa to Albuquerque
Stick to I-40 which runs straight west for 25 miles, where it turns to cross some low hills. It crosses US 285 (158 mi.) at Clines Corners.
Southwest, along U.S. 285, it is 158 miles to Roswell, of UFO fame.
Stay on I-40 west until Exit 197 (179 miles) to enter Moriarty along I-40 Bus. Loop, following old Route 66. Visit the Sunset Motel and Jr.'s Tire shop.
At 181 mi. Keep on this road until just before Exit 194, take a left and a right to follow NM-333 west, it runs south of I-40 towards the NW.
Go through Edgewood (189 mi.). At Montezuma Heights, hills will appear and you can take the 1930s-40s alignment, crossing to the north of I-40 (Exit 181 - 194 miles) and following Sedillo Hill Rd. (NM-306) which arches north, and then south, crossing I-40 again (198 miles). Enter I-40 at Exit 178 westbound.
At Exit 175, cross south again and take N-M-333 west, it is the Old US 66. Pass through Tijeras (202 mi.). In this area, US 66 crosses the Cibola National Forest and the Salt Missions Trail. The road crosses to the North of I-40 (225 mi.) goes through Carnuel and again to the south of I-40 running west into the outskirts of Albuquerque.
Pueblo people at Ohkay Owingeh. Carptrash
The road becomes (229 miles) Central Ave. NE, entering Albuquerque.
The city has many Attractions and sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places: Luna Lodge, Tewa Motor Lodge, De Anza Motor Lodge, Nob Hill Shopping Center, Jones Motor Company, Pig and Calf Lunch, Cottage Bakery, Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District, KiMo Theater, Maisel's Indian Trading Post, New Mexico Madonna of the Trail and El Vado Auto Court Motel.
Keep along Central Avenue, which crosses I-25 (217 mi.) to enter the oldest part of the city; it Becomes Central Ave NW, and on the corner of 47h St (219 miles) Route 66 crosses itself: it crosses the old 1920s alignment that came from Santa Fe. This is the "Old Town" of Albuquerque.
Follow Central Avenue as it curves around it and crosses the Rio Grande (221 mi.). 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. (228 miles), enter I-40 at Exit 140 (238 mi.) head West. Leave I-40 at Exit 126 (251 miles) and go south until meeting Old US Hwy 66 at Suwanee and follow it west.
The road adopts a NW course from this point, crosses to the north of I-40 (261 mi.) becoming Indian Service Rd 522 passing Mesita.
Keep along this Old Route 66 as it goes by Owl Rock, and the 180° Dead Man's Curve, and enters Laguna Pueblo.
Albuquerque under snow, by A Saavedra
Stop to see the old (1600s) church and the Historic Pueblo of Laguna, cross San Jose River (268 miles). Don't access I-40, stick to NM-124, pass through Paraje, the entrance to Cubero (277 miles), and reach San Fidel (281 mi.).
Stop by the Acoma Curio Shop, a Historic Site. Continue west and at Exit 96, NM-124 crosses to the south side of I-40, follow it west, take a detour south to visit McCartys. At mile 289, Anzac Rd. (dirt and gravel) forks to the left. This is the old 1920s alignment, you can drive it or keep on NM-124 and merge with Anzac Rd. further west, where NM-124 crosses to the North of I-40, follow it into Grants (296 mi.).
It has several Attractions, just to the north are the Casamero Anasazi ruins, and to the south, are the El Malpais National Monument, the La Ventana Natural Arch (NM 117) and the Cibola National Forest.
Next to Grants is Milan (302 miles). US 66 is now NM-122, and acts as the North Frontage Rd. of I-40. To the south is Bluewater with its Historic Bowlin's Old Crater Trading Post, followed by Prewitt and just off Route 66, Thoreau at Exit 53 of I-40 (329 mi.). See the Historical Site: Roy T. Herman's Garage and Service Station.
Stay west on NM-122 at Exit 47 you will reach the Continental Divide, at 7,245 ft. (2.209 m), the rainfall goes west to the Pacific or east to the Atlantic from this point. The 1930s alignment merges with I-40 here. Go west along the Interstate. Take Exit 36 towards the N. Frontage Rd. (346 miles) head west. To the south of Exit 33, at Wingate is the Historic District, Fort Wingate. Pass Church Rock (352 mi.) followed by Rehoboth; cross to the SW of I-40 at Exit 26 (357 miles), entering Gallup.
Gallup Main Street
Gallup is mentioned in the song Route Sixty-six (Get your kicks...).
Check our page on Gallup, for its Attractions. Route 66 crosses the town, intersects its Main street (361 mi.) as Route 66 (I-40 Bus. Loop) , the town spreads south. Visit the Historic El Rancho Hotel, the Neon Art and El Morro Theater among other sights worth seeing.
At Exit 15, cross to the north of I-40 and stay on NM-118 west (366 miles), through Defiance, take a sharp right (388 mi.) to cross to the south of I-40 and continue west along NM-118. At Exit 8, US 66 crosses to the north side again, separates from I-40, Passing Manuelito at Surrender Canyon, and becoming its Service Road again (378 miles), and crossing the Arizona state Line to become Grant Rd. there. Mileage to this point (379 mi.).