Weekend Trips from Kirtland AFB

New Mexico is the “Land of Enchantment” and being stationed next to a big city like Albuquerque has its advantages. Lots of shopping and plenty of things to do. But it can easy to get stuck inside a big city and never venture out into the other areas close by. Here are great weekend trips to see a little bit more of New Mexico.

Bosque Del Apache

It is easy to miss Bosque Del Apache National Wilderness Refuge for birds migrating south. But it is definitely worth the one hour and forty-minute drive south of Kirtland Air Force Base—especially during migration season (which is mid-November to January). But any time during the year you will find birds to watch and things to do. One of the largest National Wildlife Refuges, this is a place you have to visit. And if you end up staying all day to watch the birds land in the evening check out this hole-in-the-wall for the best Green Chili Burger.

Malpais Valley of Fires

As you drive east on 380 you will see what appears to be random lava rock. It is so bizarre and crazy you will want to stop and get a closer look. The best place to be able to see the rock, as well as hike, picnic and learn more is at Valley of Fires recreation center which is located next to the Malpais Lava Flow. A small fee is required to visit and camping (tent and RV) is available. This is a hidden gem that is a perfect weekend trip for a day or overnight. It is approximately two hours and twenty-five minutes from Kirtland.

Check out the Capitol, Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico is only an hour and a half drive from Kirtland and is full of history, shopping and often a festival or two. It is a city full of things to do. There are also options for hiking and mountain biking if you want to spend more time outdoors. Check out more about Santa Fe here.

White Sand Missile Range and National Park

Twice a year, the first weekends of April and October, you can visit the Trinity Site on White Sand Missile Range. The entrance is off of 380 (approximately 2 hours from Kirtland) and is a piece of history not to be missed. For a longer trip, you can drive approximately four hours to White Sand National Park any day of the year. With the town of Alamogordo, NM close by there are plenty of places to stay for your visit. You can learn more about the Trinity Site and White Sands National Park here.

What is your favorite thing to see or do in New Mexico? There are so many hidden gems to see it is hard to pick a favorite. But I won’t ever regret taking the time to go and see Bosque Del Apache.

Written by: Amanda Huffman

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