The 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in New Mexico
People on the hunt for a breathtaking sunset should plan a trip to New Mexico.
However, finding the right spot to enjoy dusk can be difficult if you’re not a local. To help you out, here’s a list of the top 10 places to watch the sunset in New Mexico.
- The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in New Mexico
- 1. White Sands National Park, Alamogordo
- 2. Sun Mountain, Santa Fe
- 3. Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu
- 4. Sandia Crest, Albuquerque
- 5. Valles Caldera, Jemez Springs
- 6. Rio Rancho
- 7. Santa Fe Ski Basin’s Scenic Overlook, Santa Fe
- 8. Tent Rocks, Cochiti Pueblo
- 9. Jemez Mountains, Jemez Springs
- 10. The Cross of the Martyrs, Santa Fe
The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in New Mexico
1. White Sands National Park, Alamogordo
Known as one of the world’s natural wonders, White Sands National Park in Alamogordo draws visitors from around the globe.
However, many people don’t realize that the park also offers the chance to view an incredible New Mexico sunset.
Due to the white sands in the Tularosa Basin, the sun glitters and reflects in a way you don’t normally see on dry land. The entire park changes colors for a few moments in a way you won’t want to miss if you have the chance to witness it.
2. Sun Mountain, Santa Fe
If you’re looking for a natural sunset-watching experience while in New Mexico, head over to Santa Fe to check out the Sun Mountain Trailhead.
Most hikers take this trail during the day, but towards the evening hours is when it becomes truly magical. The entire 1.6-mile trail loop offers hikers the chance to see a brilliant desert sunset that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
You can watch the sunset in relative privacy virtually anywhere on the path and enjoy the more nocturnal side of the area coming to life on your walk.
3. Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu
Ghost Ranch sits on over 21000 acres of land, so it’s no wonder why it’s often referred to as a retreat center.
With that much area at your disposal, you can truly feel like you’re in your own world at any time of day. Sunsets are particularly beautiful, and it’s a highly recommended viewing area according to locals.
The red and yellow landscape is dramatic and almost seems to light on fire in the setting sun’s light. It’s a sunset experience you’ll want to relive over and over again.
4. Sandia Crest, Albuquerque
Sandia Crest goes by a few names. Locals call it the Crest, others might refer to it as Sandia Peak. But, no matter what name is used, it deserves to be your top sunset-viewing spot in Albuquerque.
Sandia Crest is a mountain ridge you can get to by car or by aerial tram. Once at the top, you get a beautiful, one-of-a-kind view of the city and the mountains in the area all in one spot.
That means at sunset, no matter where you look, you’ll get a panorama worth remembering.
5. Valles Caldera, Jemez Springs
The Valles Caldera nature preserve should be on any outdoor lover’s bucket list. However, if you want a truly memorable experience in the park that not many people know about, make sure to be in the park at sunset.
Since the preserve has large areas of open meadows framed by mountains, dusk looks like it belongs in a painting.
The entire meadow goes from lush green to vibrant red and orange in a matter of seconds. Since the park is so large, even busy evenings won’t feel too crowded.
6. Rio Rancho
Rio Rancho is a vibrant, budding city in the greater Albuquerque Metropolitan area.
This up-and-coming city isn’t just great for its plethora of day and night activities, though. It also has some of the best sunset views in the whole state.
The city reaches an elevation level of over 5000 feet, so nearly anywhere you are within its borders, you’ll find a good place to relax and watch the sunset.
Even if you’re in the center of town, seeing the streets and buildings bathed in orange and red sunlight is awe-inspiring.
7. Santa Fe Ski Basin’s Scenic Overlook, Santa Fe
The Santa Fe Ski Basin Scenic Overlook is also known as the Vista Grande Overlook Observation Site by locals, and it’s one of the best sunset viewing points in the city.
Anywhere on the ski basin will let you see the sunset over the mountains and New Mexico wilderness.
However, the scenic overlook has a special viewing deck that allows you a stress-free view without any obstructions or crowds.
Whether you visit during the skiing season or in the middle of summer, taking in a sunset here is highly recommended.
8. Tent Rocks, Cochiti Pueblo
The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located about an hour outside Santa Fe, but the drive to get there for sunset is worth it.
The rock formations that are characteristic of the area allow the sun’s light to create interesting and dramatic shadows that will take your breath away.
Since the monument is located outside of Santa Fe, most visitors leave when it gets close to dusk, so taking in a sunset there is like knowing a little local secret.
The monument is temporarily closed, however, it should reopen soon.
9. Jemez Mountains, Jemez Springs
Jemez Springs is a small town in New Mexico with a homey, down-to-earth feel, and the Jemez Mountains are no different.
If you want to watch the sunset somewhere that feels like a natural home away from home, this is the place to do it.
You can hike the mountain trails to find the perfect spot to see the landscape come alive in bright, saturated color at dusk.
This is a lesser-known sunset spot for now, but the secret might get out. So, take advantage of its relative privacy while you can!
10. The Cross of the Martyrs, Santa Fe
Once again, we’re back in Santa Fe for a truly remarkable New Mexico sunset.
The Cross of the Martyrs is a local hilltop monument that can be reached via a dedicated path that commemorates the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.
Today, the surrounding area is a park frequented mostly by locals. The entire park area offers wonderful views of the city all day.
However, at night, the extra effort to reach the hilltop crosses is well-rewarded with a stunningly colorful sunset spectacle you’ll want to visit over and over again.