Ancient history, Native American culture, gorgeous landscapes and outdoor pursuits feature in this small town in the heart of New Mexico.
Known as the gateway to ancient cities, Mountainair is a relaxed town on the doorstep of the ruins of Indian pueblos and 17th-century Spanish missions. It's the historic sites of the region that attract most visitors. Mountainair’s art galleries, state park, forests and mountain landscape will keep you busy during your stay in the town.
Mountainair's main attraction is the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, three historic cultural sites spread across a vast area of grasslands. They were once home to indigenous Pueblo peoples, conquistadors and missionaries. Today, you can visit the remains of churches that are more than 350 years old as well as relics of ancient pueblos. Keep watch for wildlife while you are in the park. Among the animals you may see are lizards, doves and flycatchers.
Drive along the Salt Mission Trail, a scenic byway that follows old trade routes, to reach the national monument. The trail takes in salt lakes, mountains and small towns and villages as it passes through the New Mexico landscape.
To experience more of the great outdoors, head to the Manzano State Park. Situated among the foothills of the Manzanos mountain range, 13 miles (21 kilometers) northwest of Mountainair, the park offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Hike along a network of trails or stay overnight in one of the campsites. Find more hiking opportunities at Cibola National Forest, which covers more than 1.6 million acres (647,000 hectares) of mountains, forests and grasslands. Other outdoor activities here include fishing, skiing and horse riding.
Back in Mountainair, head to the downtown area for shopping, restaurants and art galleries. Stop by the town's historic buildings, including the Pueblo-deco style Shaffer Hotel, built in 1923.
Mountainair is located approximately 64 miles (103 kilometers) south of Albuquerque. The town and its exciting natural and cultural attractions are within easy reach of other popular New Mexico destinations, including Santa Fe and the mountain resort town of Ruidoso. Reach the town by rented car or by bus from Albuquerque.