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When visiting Grants, New Mexico, a quaint and charming town nestled in the high desert of the Southwest, you’re stepping into a world where history, outdoor adventure, and stunning landscapes blend seamlessly. Here’s a guide to making the most of your visit to Grants, ensuring a memorable experience in this unique part of the United States.
1. Discover the Past at El Malpais National Monument
El Malpais, meaning “the badlands” in Spanish, offers a fascinating glimpse into volcanic activity and its impact on the landscape. The monument features vast lava flows, cinder cones, and unique geological formations. Hiking trails and scenic drives allow visitors to explore the rugged beauty of this area. Don’t miss the La Ventana Natural Arch, one of New Mexico’s largest natural arches, providing a perfect photo opportunity against the backdrop of the striking lava fields.
2. Explore the Beauty of El Morro National Monument
El Morro National Monument is a hidden gem that features a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base, which has attracted travelers for centuries. The main attraction here is the Inscription Rock, where you can see centuries-old inscriptions from Ancestral Puebloans, Spanish explorers, and early American settlers. The monument’s trails offer an intimate view of these inscriptions and the stunning natural landscape.
3. Step Back in Time at the New Mexico Mining Museum
Grants is known as the “Uranium Capital of the World,” and the New Mexico Mining Museum provides an intriguing insight into the history of uranium mining in the region. The museum features an underground mine simulation that offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a miner, showcasing the tools, methods, and working conditions of the mining era.
4. Hike the Trails of the Cibola National Forest
Surrounding Grants, the Cibola National Forest offers a diverse landscape of mountains, forests, and grasslands. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The forest is also a popular spot for camping, offering both developed campsites and backcountry options for a more secluded experience.
5. Visit the Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave
The Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave provide a unique natural phenomenon where visitors can see an extinct volcano and a naturally occurring ice cave. The ice cave, located in a lava tube, maintains a year-round temperature that preserves the ice floor, despite the desert heat. A short hike leads you to the crater rim of the Bandera Volcano, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Where to Stay
Grants offers a range of accommodations, from cozy bed and breakfasts to convenient motels and RV parks, catering to all types of travelers. For those seeking a more immersive experience, consider staying in a cabin or a campground in the Cibola National Forest, where the beauty of New Mexico’s wilderness is right at your doorstep.
Dining and Local Cuisine
After a day of exploration, indulge in local cuisine at Grants’ eateries, which serve a mix of New Mexican, American, and international dishes. Be sure to try the local specialties, such as green chile stew or enchiladas, to get a taste of the region’s rich culinary heritage.
Grants, New Mexico, is a destination that offers something for everyone, from history buffs and nature lovers to adventure seekers and those simply looking to relax in a beautiful setting. With its unique attractions and welcoming atmosphere, Grants is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.