Step Outside - New Mexico WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - New Mexico 144 144 Tue, 13 Nov 2018 01:23:57 -0600 SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Bottomless Lakes State Park The stunning and dramatic Bottomless Lakes State Park is a marvelous spot to start off a journey exploring Roswell, New Mexico. The state park is remote and situated along the Pecos River, but you don’t have to travel very far to find great local attractions and restaurants. So, next time you head out to Roswell for a visit to Bottomless Lake, check out these great things to do in and around the park. 

The state’s first and oldest state park is a cluster of eight unique lakes or sinkholes that range from 17 to 90 feet deep. They are not bottomless! That’s just an illusion created by the aquatic plants that give the water a greenish-blue hue that masks the depth. The park is full of recreational opportunities. Fishing is allowed in two of the lakes, Cottonwood and Devil’s Ink and you can swim, kayak or canoe in Lea Lake. Avid scuba divers come to explore the deep blue water. Camping, hiking, birding, picnicking and birding round out the activities here.

The town may be famous for alien beings, but there’s an out-of-this-world zoo here, too. The five main zoo areas cover 34 acres of parkland. You’ll wander by native animals, child-friendly animals at the children’s area, a world safari exotics section, a ranching heritage exhibit, plus there’s a miniature train and antique wooden horse carousel to ride. Free admission.

"Peacock Picnic"

A post shared by @ dallin_roswell on

This museum, located at the Roswell International Air Center Terminal, celebrates the rich history of the squadrons based at the Roswell Army Air Field and Walker Air Force Base from the mid-1900s to its closing in 1967. Displays include historical memorabilia from the Strategic Air Command units that were stationed here. This is a fascinating museum for fans of military history.

The curtain goes up at this modest community theatre eight months of the year. The actors, all from the surrounding communities, audition for and participate in popular musical and dramatic productions. The shows are amusing evenings of entertainment that transport audience members to different periods of our cultural history and showcase well-known and well-liked literary works.

Just down the road from the park is this casual spot that serves local wines, craft beer on tap, and hard cider. The sangria on tap is a local favorite. There’s no kitchen, but on weekends you’ll find various local food trucks providing an eclectic selection of foodie fare. This oasis in the desert is the perfect place to unwind.

Rolling a bowling ball down the alley and getting a strike is a jump-for-joy feeling. Even if you don’t roll a strike, bowling here is all about making the experience fun for the whole family. Plenty of bowling balls to choose from in all weights and sizes. A great grill with hamburgers, fries and pizza that is an unexpected delicious surprise. A lounge for adults and an arcade for kids. Can’t ask for more than that.

After a long day of sightseeing, dinner at a classic steak house with an everything imaginable salad bar is an ideal end to the day. For more than 40 years, this restaurant has been serving the best steak salad, seafood, and prime rib on both sides of the Pecos River. Kick off the meal with green chile wontons and finish with fried ice cream and the day is complete. Great ambience and friendly service.

#whatsfordinner Blackened Salmon for $21.95 #whynotcattlebaronfordinner

A post shared by Cattle Baron Roswell NM (@cattle_baron_roswell) on

Check this eclectic consignment store out…you just never know when you might stumble onto the find of the century. It’s chockfull of antiques, collectibles, and pieces of art from around the world. You might come across an Art Deco lamp or Depression-era glass or tchotchkes from the 1950s. You just never know, until you look, what treasure you’ll find that you can’t live without!

What a charming revitalized downtown full of a mixed bag of retail, business, restaurants, art groups, and assorted other shops. A member of the Main Street America accredited program, this historic downtown area is the heartbeat of the city, providing a destination for residents and visitors, alike. It’s a delightful place to wander and check in with the local community.

A visit to Roswell just wouldn’t be complete without an alien interaction…something the area is infamous for. This museum boasts a comprehensive collection of information on the incident that happened in 1947, plus all aspects of UFO phenomenon. Open every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The gift shop is overflowing with distinctive memorabilia showcasing the extraterrestrial nature to the region.

]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in New Mexico Riding through the mountains and deserts can take you along a trail a whole lot faster than your feet, and open up vistas you might not otherwise see. Since not every trail is open to all-terrain vehicles (ATV) you have to know where to go. Here are five areas throughout New Mexico that are ATV accessible and awesome! 

Put your paddle tires on your ATV because these 20 miles of trails across 800 acres of Bureau of Land Management land are full of sand, sand, and more sand. It’s a typical desert environment where you traverse sandy arroyo bottoms, climb sand dunes, and scoot between towering sandstone walls. The area is open year-round, weather permitting. Primitive camping available, but there are no services and no water. A permit is required, as are helmets for those under 18 years-old.

If you’re looking for a little night riding adventure, this is the place. It’s 6,000 acres with trails that run through predominately sandy washes and dry, barren desert. At 5,000 feet, there are trails along sandstone and limestone bluffs and into deep canyons. Views of the Rio Grande Valley are impressive during daylight hours. Permit required. Open year-round. Camping is primitive but allowable and free.

The lightly-maintained desert trails in the hills and mountains northwest of town are rocky, steep in spots, with little or no shade on mostly hard-pack terrain. There are, however, lots of diversions into rugged canyons, through desert chaparral and across craggy ridges. Great views of Las Cruces in the distance. It’s free and open year-round. Permit is required. Come prepared. Youth, under 18, must wear a helmet.

Did a lot of off roading this weekend had a lot of fun #baja #rockcrawling #goodshit

A post shared by Jordan Salas (@jmoto95) on

Covering 8,700 acres of Chihuahuan Desert, Aden Hills is a great spot for an off-roading adventure. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the area is “characterized by low mesquite or creosote-stabilized coppice dunes, and a variety of dropseed grasses, yucca, and cacti.” Aden Hills has been a designated off-roading area since 1993.

With a 1.2-mile track and 10 miles of ATV trails, this is an off-roader’s dream! The park covers 300 acres of land and is maintained by the Red Rock Motorsports Club. Events are regularly held in the area, bringing the off-roading community together. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in New Mexico When you feel a change in the weather and the temperature starts to drop, summer is on the way out and fall is in the air. That means the forest scenery is changing from green to shades of gold. Here are five hikes that take you right into the thick of fall colors.

The days are just starting to cool down in fall as the first aspen trees begin the seasonal change here, a gradual metamorphosis from green leaves to every shade of yellow and gold imaginable. This is a long day hike at 16 miles along the Chama River and up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. At 7,000 feet above sea level, the crisp, cool air is a portend that winter is not too far off.

A fall mosaic of colors dot the Mogollon Mountain hillsides as the aspen, cottonwood and syca-mores leaves change from green to various golden hues. It’s a 24-mile out-and-back moderate level hike—traversing all of it takes about three to four days, but day-hike options are also possi-ble. The trailhead begins at 9,000 feet. Catch magnificent views of Whitewater, Center, and Mogollon peaks, the three highest in the Gila Wilderness.

This system is a network of 24 miles of trails just outside of town in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The magic of fall is all around as the aspen trees start the process of getting ready for winter with a leaf-color changing show that’s breathtaking. With so many miles of trails in this system, there is a path for every level of hiker to enjoy this show.

A picture-perfect setting awaits along this trail … the golden reflection of trees turning colors in the pristine waters found along this trail. All along the way, trails take you past and under the golden glory of changing foliage. The hike is a six-mile-long out-and-back day hike. The well-maintained trail ends at Trampas Lake and with a spectacular view of Truchas Peaks, the second highest point in the state.

Named one of the “Top 10 State Parks” by Camping Life magazine, this area explodes with color in autumn. There are a number of trails, from short to long and moderate to strenuous. Trails ascend through a variety of forested areas, take you to the shores of high mountain lakes, and bring you to mountain ridges that offer spectacular views of golden rivers of trees in the canyons below. 

]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Red Sands OHV Area For a successful off-roading day, you’ll need a few things: An excellent space to take your off-highway vehicle, a great restaurant to fuel up before and after, and a comfortable place to sleep after a long day. Here’s how to have an excellent ATV off-roading adventure in New Mexico! 

If you try nothing else, get the big-as-a-dinner plate homemade cinnamon roll, filled with nuts and raisins and slathered in icing. It’s the way to kick-start a day of off-roading. Comfort food is what the menu is all about: biscuits and gravy, country scrambles, pancakes and fried egg sandwiches. A cozy place that’s just like home. Only open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.

There are some iconic oddities in this country that shouldn’t be missed. This is one of them. Ham, short for Holloman Aeromedical which was the lab where he was trained, was the first chimpanzee in space. He was trained to do a few simple tasks as a test to determine if humans would be able to perform the same tasks. He came through with flying colors in his 16-minute flight aboard a Mercury Redstone rocket. His reward? An apple. After that, they retired his space suit and he lived out his life in a zoo. He’s buried here, memorialized by a bronze plaque. 

Flying across desert terrain, racing up-and-over sandy dunes across more than 100 miles of trails is just plain fun. This large open-ride area, which covers more than 12,000 acres, is a playground of hard-packed trails and sandy play sections. There are no fees, but a Mexico OHV permit is required. There are no facilities on-site, but the area accommodates primitive camping.

This park was named in honor of a local rancher who settled here in the 19th century. His homestead near Dog Canyon consisted of a ranch house, barns, corrals, reservoir and irrigation system. The ranch house is well-preserved and offers a glimpse of what life was like in the hot, arid desert more than 100 years ago. There are bits and pieces of the irrigation system still visible. 

Get out of the desert and into the cool mountain air of for some dinner. Cowboy heritage and good grub greet you at this family-owned restaurant. Getting here on Highway 82 takes you along a scenic highway through the Sacramento Mountains and through the only road tunnel in the state. The menu highlight is the famous mesquite wood cooked barbecue, but there are plenty of other mouthwatering choices. Depending on the day, there are some all-you-can-eat specials…catfish seems to be the local favorite.

Located right smack dab in the center of town, this historic building has only eight rooms available, just enough for the ghost who hangs out here to greet every guest. It was built in the 1930s and still has much of that era’s distinctive flair. Rooms are large with rustic furniture, claw foot tubs and a few have kitchenettes and a balcony overlooking the town’s main street. The cozy beds are welcome comfort at the end of a long day. 

]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Spots in New Mexico Good fishing spots are hard to find in large part because anglers are a tight-lipped bunch who like to keep this information close to their tackle box. Whether you’re looking to snag walleye and bluegill or rainbow trout and catfish, New Mexico boasts some of the best fishing in the Southwest. Here are the five best fishing spots in the state. 

At 8,200 acres and 13 miles in length, Ute Lake is one of the longest in the state. It’s fed by the Canadian River and Ute Creek. With lots of coves and inlets, it’s great fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and channel catfish. You can fish round-the-clock every day of the year. It’s worth noting that several state-record game fish have been caught here. There are paved ramps on both the north and south side for launching.

A post shared by Zachary Blaeser (@zb_03) on

The translucent blue-green water here is impressive. As is the fishing. Locals know that, traditionally, this lake is notorious for being one of the best for walleye and smallmouth bass. But at 25 miles-long and with 60 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of room for other fish. You’ll find bass, crappie, and bluegill at the end of your line too. Night fishing is popular but beware of shallow water and sandbars in the river channels. There are two modern marinas for launching and a store just in case you forgot your bait.

The elusive tiger muskie has been known to make an appearance at the end of a fishing line here. They were introduced by the Department of Fish and Game to help control invasive species. It worked. You’ll find some of the biggest here, making for a great catching experience. The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout, native and cutthroat trout, and catfish. Access to popular fishing spots can be reached by car without difficulty. In winter months, this is a popular spot for ice fishing. There are no marinas, but two paved ramps provide boat access.

A post shared by Cynthia Knight (@cindylouwho9) on

The headwaters of this river are located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range north of town. It flows for 926 miles, eventually connecting with the Rio Grande, and offers plenty of access along its banks. It has populations of wild brown trout and is stocked with rainbow trout. In some of the smaller tributaries that feed the river you’ll also find the state fish, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout. There’s public access at the Dalton Day-Use area. Before you head to the river, stop in at Tererro General Store, which is the “last top for campers and fishermen along the Pecos River.” The store boasts any last-minute fishing supplies you might need.  

Trout fishermen know that this world-renowned river is the place to go for both rainbow and brown trout. Some studies indicate there may be 15,000 fish per mile and average between 16 and 18 inches, if not bigger for the lucky angler. The section of river below the Navajo Dam is known for its trophy-sized fish. If you’re looking for a fish fight, this is the place to go. There are areas that are catch-and-release only, as well as some that are limited to barbless flies and lures and a catch limit. The river is a popular fishing destination…so, the fish are wary! If you need supplies before you go, stop in at Abe’s Motel & Fly Shop, which has been “outfitting fishermen for the San Juan River since 1958.” Now that’s reliable. After your trip, grab a bite to eat at Abe’s and book a room to stay the night. 

]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome RV Campsites in New Mexico Being on the open road in New Mexico in an RV is the ultimate road trip. Beautiful landscapes roll by under cobalt skies, dotted with puffy white clouds. It’s mesmerizing. You could drive forever. But no need, there are some great RV parks perfect for a road trip layover. Here are five great ones. 

When you’re driving your home around the country, it’s refreshing to find a place to park that feels like, well, home. This 12-acre park has big sites with lots of space, patios and picnic tables. You’re close to shopping areas which makes restocking supplies easy. Amenities include wide sites and good roads, full hook-ups with 30 or 50-amp service, laundry facilities, and free high speed internet. The Mesilla Valley, framed by the Organ Mountains, is about as pretty as New Mexican landscape gets. Old Mesilla Village is just a few miles away—a great place to discover another era.

A river, the Rio Bonito, runs through this lovely park and if you get up early enough you might just catch a fish since it’s stocked regularly. Set in the Lincoln National Forest, the home of Smokey the Bear, this peaceful and scenic campground is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Services include large, convenient sites for 30 by 60 RVs, pull-throughs with water, electric and sewer, campfire rings at every site, a dump station, free Wi-Fi at each site, spots on the river, as well as some with a forest backdrop. Ruidoso is just a short hop away and Bonito Lake is a three-mile jaunt.

If you’re tired of getting your kicks on Route 66 and need a place to park for the night, you’d have to drive for miles to find a better spot. With 100 different sites available, some with full hook-ups for rigs up to 90 feet-long, 50-amp services, water, sewer and cable hook-ups and free Wi-Fi, this is a full-service park. The beauty of the surrounding desert is on full-display, as is the heat in summer—good thing there’s a pool to cool off in. There’s also a gift shop and a barbecue restaurant on the premises that delivers to your site.

Whether you need to stay for a day, week, month, or longer, this cozy park can accom-modate any length of visit. There are more than 150 level pull-through sites with full hook-ups. The sites are spacious, under shaded trees with picnic tables for outdoor eating. After a road-weary day of travel, enjoy a dip in the heated pool or a soak in the hot tub. Two laundry areas, a large recreation hall and free Wi-Fi and cable TV round out the services. There’s even a dog park to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Take a sunrise or sunset stroll around the lake, maybe even drop a fishing line in and see what you snag at this island-like retreat right off I-25. Spend some time here and enjoy the beauty of the Rio Grande and the panoramic desert scenery. There are 50 full-service sites that include water, sewer, 30 and 50-amp electricity, Wi-Fi and Direct TV. Catch up on your laundry at the laundromat. All sites are covered and equipped with private grills. Restock, if necessary, at the full-service convenience store on-site. When you’re relaxed and ready, Albuquerque is just down the road!

Greg and Jan Ritchie/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in New Mexico As the weather starts to cool down, the New Mexican landscape of colors begins to change. Autumn brings with it a panoply of changing hues in the trees, the sky, and the desert. Plus, the heat of summer is gone, making camping much more enjoyable. Here are five spots that are simply stunning this time of year. 

There is a lot to see here at any time of year, but fall brings with it dramatic color in the 800-foot deep canyon created by the Rio Grande River, as well as sightings of migrating mule deer, elk, and the occasional black bear. As part of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, there are five developed campgrounds, 22 developed campsites along the Gorge Rim, and 16 designated primitive river campsites that you have to hike to. Trails take you through ancient piñon and juniper forests, some as old as 500 years and along the Rio Grande River. 

The Gila Wilderness, more than 500,000 acres, was the world’s first designated wilderness in 1924. Quemado Lake, in the northern section of this area, sits in a piñon-juniper woodland dotted with ponderosa pine, aspen and fir. The fall colors are impressive. At an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, the crisp autumn air makes this a cool respite from the hot New Mexican summers. There are multiple campgrounds around the lake, including sites for RVs. Amenities include picnic tables, drinking water, and toilets. There’s a 14-day stay limit.

This smaller park, along the Rio Grande, is rural and remote—a quiet spot to sit under the dazzling colors of changing Cottonwood trees and drop a line in for some fishing and do a little bird watching. With grassy lawns and shady campsites, a kid’s playground, barbecue grills and hiking trails, it’s just the place for a weekend away. There are 50 campsites, some with shelters and some more primitive. 

The high plains of Kiowa National Grasslands are a short grass prairie covered in native grasses like buffalo and blue grama. But all that ends as you approach the edge of Mills Canyon, cut by the Canadian River 1,000 feet below. The canyon is striking, covered in pine, oak, junipers, and cottonwoods, as well as remnants of old orchards planted by the first settler, Melvin Mills. The canyon is covered in history and full of areas to explore. The rim campground has six campsites and a view that you just won’t find anywhere else. It’s accessible to RVs and trailers. No fee and no permit necessary. Campsites are also found near the river at the bottom of the canyon. 

As the weather starts to cool down, an overnight at Chaco Canyon is so much more enjoyable. With little shade or trees, it’s quite often too hot to really enjoy exploring the ruins, but temperatures drop dramatically in fall. The best part about Chaco, though, is that it’s an International Dark Sky Park, plus it has an observatory with ongoing programs that focus on as-tronomy and the Chacoan people. In fall, there’s special emphasis on the autumn equinox. This remote area has clear, dark skies with little light pollution. Stargazing is beyond belief. Daytime exploration of the ruins is remarkable, too. 

]]> Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Great Hiking Trails in New Mexico When it comes to natural beauty, the Land of Enchantment is king. Across New Mexico, you’ll find some of the most challenging hikes in the nation because of both terrain and climate. But if you’re looking to explore something a little more family-friendly, we’ve got that too. Now gear up and get ready to navigate these five magnificent hiking trails in New Mexico. 

The Gila Wilderness was the first to be designated as such in the world and con-tinues to be one of the largest uninhabited backcountry in the U.S. This 20-mile loop is an awe-inspiring hike that takes you through narrow pine-covered canyons up 8,600 feet to the top of the mesa. Along the way, you’ll see impressive geological features, as well as remnants of indigenous people’s culture. This is a rugged and difficult hike that can be done in a day, but is more fun as a two-day camping overnighter. Don’t miss the Gila Cliff dwellings! 

The Wheeler Peak Wilderness is in the Carson National Forest, which encom-passes more than 1.5 million acres of mixed-use land. It is one of six wilderness areas within forest’s boundaries. This 10 mile out-and-back hike takes you through mature pine, fir and aspen trees, past Horseshoe Lake and along the ridgeline between Wheeler Peak and Simpson Peak. Plan for a full day of hiking along easy to moderate trail. Elevation gain is about 2,000 feet. Best done between May and October. Great for birding and nature walks.

The trailhead for this hike begins at Battleship Rock, looks just like it sounds. The midway point for this six-mile hike is McCauley Hot Springs, where a relaxing foot soak makes the return down the mountain all the more enjoyable. Along the way, you’ll see impressive obsidian rocks from the caldera, groves of Ponderosa pine, stunning red sandstone mountains, and a breathtaking waterfall. The winding trail is a series of switchbacks up the mountain, with some very steep sections. Be sure to follow the trail signs. 

This loop trail is about five miles roundtrip, which will likely take 3-4 hours to trav-erse. With only 270 feet of elevation, and a relatively short distance, this moderate trail is kid-friendly. Take in the scenic overlook views of beautiful Chacoan buildings. The trail is also dog-friendly (but make sure to have a leash for your four-legged friend!). This is an excellent, beautiful hike the whole family will enjoy. 

This trail may be 16 miles, but it’s easily navigable because it’s paved. The trail passes through the Rio Grande Valley State Park, and is accessible for hikers, runners, and bicyclists. The area is even wheelchair accessible. Have a baby in a stroller? No problem. This trail can accommodate. Guests can access the trail from one of the following areas: Alameda Boulevard, Paseo del Norte, Montaño Road, Campbell Road, and several other locations. Enjoy scenic views of Albuquerque along the Paseo del Bosque Trail. 

Margaret.W/ Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Archery Outfitters in New Mexico Archery can be done in a variety of ways: You can practice target shooting indoors or outdoors, among friends or on your own, or you can try out bow hunting. An Olympic sport since 1900, it’s a dynamic—requiring great practice and patience. There’s a large community of archers in New Mexico, and these outfitters will stock you up with the best gear. 

Whether you’re hunting or just target shooting, you need equipment that gets high marks for precision and durability. That’s what you’ll find at this very large, full-service shop. It’s a licensed dealer for a number of top brands that include Hoyt, Mathews, Bowtech, to just name a few. Inventory includes both new and used equipment, as well as all of the accessories needed to get you sighted in. 

They are here! Come try out the Realm, Realm X, and BT-Mag X.

A post shared by The Archery Shoppe (@thearcheryshoppe) on

This shop lives up to its name…it has an excellent selection of bows for all ages, cases, arrows, quivers, targets and a variety of other equipment needed for this sport. The service department provides assistance with tuning, sighting, restringing and bow set-up. If you’re a hunter, you can also pick up a New Mexico Game and Fish license, a mandatory requirement for shooting any game. Well-situated to meet the needs of customers throughout the Four Corners region.

How about a birthday party at an archery range? It can happen here, at the largest indoor range in the southern part of the state. That’s not all. There are indoor league activities as well as year-round tournaments and lessons and kid’s camps. It’s a great place to try out a bow before buying. You’ll find an extensive selection of bows and a wide array of archery accessories. Customer service is top-notch and ranges from a basic tune-up to a super one that covers everything from safety-check to lubing.

Take a bow and some arrows into the forest and hunting becomes an entirely different experience than with a firearm. The experts here, who sell all types of hunting equipment, know that and can guide archers in appropriate equipment and accessory purchases. You’ll find bows, quivers, grips, targets and tools. Service options include bow tuning, bow speed testing, and custom bow strings. Buy, sell, transfer and trading equipment also an available alternative.

A 20-year history of serving the southwestern part of the state with specialized products for outdoor activities makes this shop a great first-stop for archery needs. Inventory includes top brands from industry leaders. A full-range of archery supplies available. Archery repairs done on-site. The proprietors of this locally-owned store turned a hobby, a passion for the outdoors, into a thriving business.

If you’re new to the sport of archery, the folks here will walk you through everything you need to know and provide all that you need to be successful. They have an indoor archery range for testing new equipment and for practicing. You’ll find a knowledgeable, friendly staff that offers accurate information and exceptional service. 

With seven indoor shooting lanes and an abundance of equipment to test you might be tempted to hang out here. You’d be welcome. The owners are new to shop keeping, but not new to hunting. They’re authorized dealers for PSE and Prime bows and for Vortex Optics, a first-rate scopes and binocular company. Expert training, a pro shop, great service and accessories galore will keep you coming back.

This is a shop for outdoorsy gear heads, specifically those who like to hunt. Hundreds of products fill the walls, shelves and racks. The archery department is stocked with bows, crossbows, arrows, crossbolts, broadheads, field points, targets and other items for hunting, recreational and competitive archery. On hand is also a bow press for tuning, adjustments and string replacements, as well as an expert who can cut and fletch arrows. 

With multiple locations in New Mexico, these all-purpose stores offer a wide-range of outdoor equipment to those who work or play outside. The archery department has hundreds of items for archers of all ages and experience. This one-stop-shop may cater to a diverse audience of farm, ranch and sports enthusiasts, but a 50-year history of service gives them a unique understanding of their customers’ needs.

Practice, practice, practice. That’s how you get better at anything. Improve your archery skills here six-days-a-week at the indoor range on your own or take some lessons from one of the experts on-hand. Pick out a new bow or exchange an old one with an upgrade. Inventory includes Diamond, Elite, and more, plus an assortment of accessories. Also offer bow service and tuning, custom orders and information on target shoots and competitions.

]]> Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in New Mexico Gone fishin’ is more than just a figure of speech. For many, it’s a passionate pastime. Sitting on the banks of a river as it courses by, letting a fishing line drift along waiting for the telltale tug that signals a snagged fish is a relaxing and fun way to enjoy the outdoors, and to bring home some dinner. But make sure you have the right gear before you go. Here are the 10 best bait and tackle shops in New Mexico! 

You certainly don’t need a custom rod to fish, but it you’re hankering for one, this is the place to go. These handmade rods are made with top-quality materials and are quality workmanship that’s built to last. You’ll also find plenty of off-the-shelf rods, plus lures, line, flies and everything else you might need to catch a fish. Classes in fly fishing, casting, fly tying, and even rod building available.

Tying in action! #projecthealingwaters #flytying #flyfishing #supportourtroops

A post shared by Jeramey Penfold (@m0d3rncavemen) on

This multi-layered family-run business has been a cornerstone of the local community for 60 years. It began as a resource for fly fisherman looking for trout in the cold waters of the San Juan River. Throughout the years, it’s morphed into a full-service company catering to all types of fishermen. Product inventory includes wader, rods, reels, plus one of the largest fly selections in the area.

The town’s first fly shop is still going strong more than 30 years later. Now, with 2,500 square-feet of retail space, it’s even bigger and better. It boasts the largest selection of fly fishing equipment, tackle and outdoor clothing in all price ranges and for all levels of ability in the northern part of the state. New to the sport? They offer classes and instruction, outside, knee deep in the river. Rental equipment available.

When you start talking Canadian night crawlers, water dogs, minnows, and salmon eggs it’s a good bet you’re in a bait shop. This store bills itself as one that’s operated by fishermen for fishermen. As such, you’ll find an extensive selection of lures, a fish cleaning station, pull through boat lot, cabins and fishing guides standing by to take you to the best fishing holes. Guided fishing trips include rods, reel, tackle, fish filleting and a knowledgeable guide.

The hard-to-catch tiger muskie is prevalent at Bluewater Lake State Park. A hundred or so yards from the shore is this store, a local hangout due to the owner’s knowledge of the local fishing scene. Step inside and you’ll find bait, tackle, lures, rods, reels and other gear, plus information about where the best spots are for muskie, as well as trout. Local fishing updates posted weekly.

Whatever you need, or want, to catch a fish, you’ll find here. Located right on the main drag in town, you can’t miss the giant blue fly fishing sign. Plan on spending some time here. Once inside the store is packed wall-to-wall with clothes, rods, reels, bait, lures, line and the largest eclectic selection of flies you might every come across. A good jumping off point before heading to the river.

This mobile bait and tackle outfit will come to you. It’s fully-stocked with red wiggler worms, European night crawlers, power bait, garlic salmon eggs, plus hooks, sinkers, floats, spinners, spoons, fishing line and stringers. If you need something after hours, they’ll come to you. Rental fishing gear also available.

Situated near some of the premier fishing areas in the state, this is truly an all-service enterprise. Everything you need from flies to bait to lures, in addition to rods, reels, spinners, knives, rain gear, waders and clothes is at hand. You can also book a guided fly fishing trip that includes rod, reel, flies, food, and a local guide who knows the rivers. Take a fly fishing lesson and practice trying to catch trout, northern pike, carp, walleye and fresh water Kokanee salmon.

Explore the Pecos, Chama, Rio Grande, Brazos, and Jemez rivers with a guide well-versed in river lore. Before heading out, though, pick up any last-minute gear from a wide-ranging selection of top quality products—outdoor clothing, fishing vests, lures and flies, fly tying materials and tools, rods, reels, wading boots and more. Fly fishing and fly tying classes take place regularly.

The trick to catching a fish? Patience. And knowing the best spots. Owner Ed has been casting a line in the local rivers long enough to know where those are. In addition to an inventory of various lures, flies, bait and tying supplies, he also custom builds rods and flies to order. Plus, he’ll share his local knowledge. 

]]> Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the Rocky Mountains This Fall Any time is a good time to be outdoors in the Rockies, but considering the fall scenery as the big visual attraction, autumn might be the best time of all for trout anglers. The biggest brown trout of the season start getting frisky and aggressive as their spawning run in regional rivers approaches.

Hot Spots To Fish: Rock Creek, which empties into the Clark Fork River southeast of Missoula, Mt., has become a prime destination for brown trout in recent years. The creek has tons of 16- or 18-inch fish and is known more for numbers than size. Contact John Herzer at Blackfoot River Outfitters (406-542-7411,, or Blue Damsel Lodge, (406-825-3077,, for information about guide services or information regarding accommodations.

Find the best fishing spots near you:

If you’re more interested in going after a behemoth of a brown trout, contact Joe Gilsnyder at Trout Stalkers on the Madison in Ennis, Mt.. Joe and his crew of guides know of some fishing holes off the beaten path that harbor bigger fish (406-682-5150).

Tackle You’ll Need: Wherever you wind up fishing, tackle Rocky Mountain browns with a 9 1/2-foot, 6-weight rod such as an Orvis Helios 3. A 5-weight will work if you’re an experienced caster, but a 6-weight handles big streamers better.

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you: 

Quick Tip: If you make a quartering cast upstream with a Wooly Bugger or similar pattern, let it dead-drift downstream until the current catches it and sweeps it up in the water column. Sometimes the darting motion, as the fly is caught in the current, will trigger a reaction strike from a following brownie.


Best Patterns: Fall browns will take nymphs and small dries such as the Blue-Winged Olive, but more likely the bigger fish will go after Size 2 Sparkle Minnows, Wooly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, Zonkers and Bighorn Specials fished on short leaders with no tippets.

If you’re fishing from a drift boat with a guide, regular weight-forward floating line will suffice. If you’re wading, a sinking-tip line probably is a better choice, depending on depth.

Photograph Courtesy of Montana Office of Tourism Is it the brown trout fishing, or the scenery, that draws anglers to the Rocky Mountain states in autumn? Either answer fits. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
9 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in New Mexico The sprawling landscape of New Mexico, from desert to mountain, will be on full display come the autumn season. Now is the best time to get outdoors and soak up the natural beauty of the state. From trekking through wildlife refuges to stargazing at local campgrounds, here are the best outdoor fall activities to enjoy in New Mexico!  

See the enormity of the cosmos at the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary near Alma. It was the first sanctuary of its kind in North America. You’ll get a 360 degree unobstructed view of the glorious night sky. Contact the Friends of the Cosmic Campground to get invited to one of their star parties. Before heading out to this primitive campground swing through Alma, the closest town, for a meal at the quintessential mom-and-pop diner, the Alma Grill. Don’t miss the Alma Store next door for some last minute provisions.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @idadarksky on

Get up-close-and-personal with some inhabitants of the Chihuahuan Desert at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, 50 miles south of Albuquerque. If you’ve never seen a pronghorn antelope or mule deer, this is the place for that first-time encounter. If you go in November, don’t miss the Festival of the Cranes, a celebration heralding the return of sandhill cranes to the nearby Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. This area is a birdwatchers nirvana. Best time to go is early morning, so grab a cup of coffee, or latte, at M Mountain Coffee in Socorro to keep those eyes open.

Go apple pickin’ at Nichols Ranch and Orchards in La Luz. The Nichols Family has been harvesting fruit on this land for more than 100 years. Get ready to walk through the orchard with a full basket of apples—there are so many options to choose from. Make a stop in Alamogordo at The Old Post Antique Mall and see if you can snag an old apple-picking bucket or canvas bag to make the experience unique. Not far from Nichols is the Old Apple Barn. It’s filled with loads of ideas of what to do with the lug of apples you just picked. 

Grab your shoes and your tent, and maybe a few other things, and get outside in the pristine beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness near Taos. If you want some company, take along a wooly buddy, that will even carry your gear, and go on a trek with Wild Earth Llama Adventures. Single and multi-day hikes come with a naturalist guide, as well as the lovable llamas. Stop at Taos Mountain Outfitters before heading out and snag a “chullo,” an Andean hat with earflaps made with llama wool. Those beasts of burden are going to love you!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hannes Gehring (@uphillswagger) on

Hook up with World Balloon in Albuquerque and you’ll be heading up, up and away at this high-flying adventure. You lift off at sunrise, so a hot cup of something from Humble Coffee Company would be good to take along. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, so be sure to take pictures! 

Fall is all about color. See it all first-hand with a scenic drive along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. The Carson National Forest is in full fall color radiance, with gold, yellow and orange dominating the vistas. If you don’t want to make the drive yourself, hook up with Red River Offroad and get a seat on one of their fall foliage jeep tours. Or, hop aboard the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad for a scenic chug aboard an authentic steam train past glowing Aspen trees and through the spectacular Chama Valley.

Experience the crisp, fresh fall air with a hike on the Zuni-Acoma Trail found in El Malpais National Monument near Grants. Considered the New Mexican badlands, this desolate looking environment is replete with the beauty of open grasslands and forests filled with wildlife. Don’t want to go it alone? Take a hiking and cave tour with Heritage Inspirations where you’ll clamber over the rugged landscape and into a lava tube cave. The tour begins at Hotel Chaco, a good place to spend the night before or after your adventure.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Duane Staats (@duane_staats) on

Fall is crush season in the winemaking business. The New Mexican vineyards are aglow with autumn colors and people busily harvesting grapes for the next vintage. It’s a lovely time for wine tasting. Stop at one of the largest vineyards in the state, Casa Abril just west of Santa Fe and sip a selection of their award-winning wines. Take a self-guided tour or book of the winery or book a day trip with Santa Fe Selection and leave the driving to them.

Before the snow hits, jump on a mountain bike and ricochet down the Winsor Trail, one of the gnarliest in the Santa Fe area and some of the best downhill riding you’ll find. For information and directions, stop by The Broken Spoke in Santa Fe. Not only will you get the lowdown on the trail, you’ll also find an incredible selection of gear, trained mechanics in case your bike needs a tune-up, as well as a good selection of rentals.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Broken Spoke, LLC (@brokenspokesantafe) on

]]> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in New Mexico Want to rev an engine and zoom across the New Mexico desert or along a forested trail on a dirt bike? There may not be a more scenic place to hit the trails on a dirt bike than New Mexico. Grab your helmet and check out our favorite spots. 

The ride along many of these desert single-track trails overlooks the Pecos River, providing beautiful scenic vistas, if you take the time to look. There are three square miles of mostly hard pack terrain to crisscross that take you up some hills, along sandy washes and over loose, rocky sections. No trees along the way means no shade so take plenty of water. Camping available with restroom facilities but there’s no potable water. Open year-round. Entrance fee is $3 and an OHV permit required. Youth, under 18, must wear a helmet.

There’s some big air that can happen on the 14 square-miles of trails through desert scrub brush west of town at this 8,700-acre off road area. The 50 trails are fast and sandy with plenty of exciting terrain features. It’s free to ride out here, but an OHV permit is required. Open year-round. Helmets are required for anyone under 18. Primitive camping is available.

This small trail system is great for those dual-sport motorcycle enthusiasts who love to ride both on and off-road. There are three miles of single track trails through this part of the spectacular Lincoln National Forest. The trail loop begins at Silverwood Campground and ends at the Silver Overflow Campground. An OHV permit is required but there are no entrance fees, only campground fees. Open year-round. Helmets a must for those under 18.

Gordy's Hill is one of the most thrilling places for a dirt biking adventure in the whole state. Situated on 6,000 acres, this scenic spot overlooks the Rio Grande Valley. The best part? It's accessible to a variety of skill levels. Enjoy picturesque routes with immaculate canyons and limestone bluffs on trails that can offer a little bit of a challenge no matter how exerpienced you are.  

With 20 square miles of open riding, you can really ride at full throttle. The landscape is relatively flat and sandy, with a smattering of hard pack. You will reach some fenced boundaries, since the area is bordered by a bombing range and some private property, but there is so much space it can’t curb your enthusiasm. Safety flags are recommended. No fees, but an OHV permit is required. Opened year-round with very primitive camping. Under 18, helmets required.

]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Camping Done Right: 5 Essential Outdoor Stores in New Mexico There’s nothing like sleeping out under the stars and waking up to see the sunrise. It’s even better if you’ve pitched a tent and are tucked into a warm sleeping bag. Even better if you’ve brought along a few camping accessories for cooking, hiking, and sitting around the campfire. Gathering up all the proper equipment for a camping trip is important, and you’ll find everything you could need and more at these five essential outdoor stores in New Mexico.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are home to the Carson National Forest, a 1.5-million-acre playground for campers. You don’t have to stay in a designated campground in a national forest, but you should take some gear. This outfitter has everything you need for camping, anywhere. You’ll find Columbia backpacks and tents in all sizes. Take plenty of water along in Camelbak hydration systems. Available sleeping bags include those for all temperatures of overnight sleeping. You’ll also find a broad selection of accessories for cooking outdoors, bug control, first aid, food and maps and information about the forest. Don’t leave without a sturdy pair of hiking boots, either! 

At 8,600 feet, the town’s elevation in the Lincoln National Forest is one of the highest in the country. This brings those who love this unique part of the state out in droves. Or maybe it’s because it’s the home of Smokey the Bear. Whatever the reason, camping is popular. You’ll find some necessary equipment here that will come in handy. Smartwool socks and Keen footwear for the hike in. Osprey backpacks come in a variety of sizes, depending on how long you’ll be out. There are Kershaw and Gerber knives, Hydo Flask insulated water bottles and ENO hammocks for sleeping outside the tent. Remember to grab a tube of Sun Bum Sunscreen, too.

This chain store is big, so it’s a good go-to place for everything you need, want or dream about when it comes to camping supplies. Need a tent? They have more than 300 to choose from. How about a sleeping bag? More than 100 options. Backpacks range from technical to simple day packs to heavyweight touring packs and represent ALPS Brands, Sea to Summit, GregoryTorg, and Outdoor Products. There’s so much more. Cooking gear from Primus and MasterBuilt and Coleman, navigation equipment from Bushnell and Garmin, plus camp furniture, coolers, lighting, generators and cots, pads, and hammocks. This one-stop shop is the place to go before any camping adventure.

For more than 50 years, the North Face brand has stood for excellence in outdoor gear. You’ll find everything you need here to set up a camp for a day or a month from lightweight sleeping bags to different styles of backpacks for kids or adults to single or group-sized tents. Camping throughout the area is varied. Pitch a tent along the Rio Grande or the Turquoise Trail or even in one of the area’s many beautiful parks. 

This is an outdoorsman’s paradise! The store is huge so plan on spending some time wandering until you find the camping gear. You could quite literally build a compound in the forest with the amount of gear found here. Tents and shelters, sleeping bags, bedding, furniture, cooking and dining, coolers, backpacks, lights, safety and survival, navigation and even showers and toilets are just the tip of the iceberg of equipment the store carries. Much of what you’ll find is their own brand, but other brands like Browning, ALPS Mountaineering, Coleman, Marmot, North Face and Columbia are well-represented. 

]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in New Mexico Getting up-close-and-personal with the great outdoors is as simple as strapping on a backpack and taking a walk. Camping adds a bit of weight to the journey—tent, food, and water are important carry-alongs—but once you pitch your tent and rest in the silence and beauty of the wilderness you’ll be glad you brought it all.  

A visit to this park is a multi-dimensional backpacking experience. In addition to the trails accessed from the park, Cimarron is also part of the 30,000-acre Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area which not only has miles of trails but is also the largest wildlife area in the state. Cimarron Canyon is an eight-mile stretch of spectacular cliffs, waterfalls, clear running creeks, fascinating geology, and mag-nificent wildlife viewing opportunities. Clear Creek Trail is about seven miles round-trip along the Cimarron River. The wildlife area is rugged and remote so fill your pack with enough food and water. Camping available in either area.

The Santa Fe National Forest is an extensive landscape of mountain streams and lakes, woodland wonders, wildlife spotting, cultural and historic sites, and miles of trails to explore. The East Fork Trail runs for about 10 miles through the Forest. The section from Battleship Rock to Jemez Falls and McCauley Hot Springs covers about half of it. It begins under the shadow of the enormous basalt cliff known as Battleship Rock and winds its way up through a rocky climb to McCauley Hot Springs, where the 90-degree water is surprisingly refreshing. The climb to Jemez Falls, the highest in the Jemez Mountains, is a steady uphill trek but well worth the effort. Camping at Jemez Falls on a first-come first-served basis.

There’s a lot to see in the 3.3 million acres of this forest and hundreds of miles of trails to explore. Traversing the landscape takes you through deep canyons across semi-desert terrains, up rugged mountains and mesas. Along the way, the forest world unfolds with a spread of trees that include ponderosa pine, sycamore, walnut, maple, ash, cottonwood, alder, willow, mesquite, and Apace and Chihuahua pine. Wildlife is extensive—you might see a bobcat or cougar, different species of deer, an occasional bear, and all manner of smaller mammals, birds, and reptiles. Discoveries also include hot springs, cliff dwellings, and old small towns. There are 40 campgrounds scattered around the forest.

You won’t see a lot of people in this remote section of the San Mateo Mountains. Its 18,000 acres promise a lot of adventurous solitude, though. The terrain is rough and rugged, marked trails sparse, but the land is untouched by visitors. Hot and dry in summer, beautiful in spring wildflower bloom, with a forest of piñon and juniper and pine, spruce and fir that is so silent you might just want to stay. Elevation range goes from 6,800 to 10,100 feet—at the top of Mount Withington. There are five small campgrounds in the area. 

A trek through this forest could take you across three states, but if you just wanted to stay in New Mexico, there’s still more than a million and a half acres to explore. From Chihuahuan desert to a grassy prairie to a mountain forest, a trek through any part is incredible. You might see grazing herds of pronghorn deer or elk, hawks and other birds of prey soaring above, or an occasional bear or cougar. There’s an area in the forest that is home to hundreds of rare plants and animal species…you just can’t predict what you might see so keep your eyes open. Miles of trails, unmatched diversity, and a cultural history that dates back thousands of years are the rewards of time spent here. There are many campgrounds, both primitive and those with amenities.

]]> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500