Making Motor Trend Memories
One of the most fascinating drives in the southwest
If you happen to be driving across Interstate 40 in the New Mexico highlands, it might be worth a little extra time and money to veer onto a different road and witness some of the landmarks that the Land of Enchantment has to offer. Highway 550 is an easy alternative to get from Albuquerque to the Four Corners region, with some captivating sites to see along the way.
This highway delivers travelers through some of the most spectacular mountains and desert landscapes in the American Southwest. The Jemez Moutains, merely an hour or two north of Albuquerque, were formed from volcanoes that left remnants of smoldering lava which eventually solidified, bestowing unearthly rock features with a wide variety of rich colors among the vibrant green of Rocky Mountain pine trees.
Another amazing site along the route is the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which is possibly the best example of an abandoned pueblo community. Entrenched in a scenic canyon that's already eye-pleasing as it is, these historical structures are simply astounding.
The highway ends by merging onto Route 64, which takes drivers from Farmington to the Four Corners and the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. Along the border, the natural sculpture of petrified rock is especially spellbinding during twilight, when the setting sun creates a wide array of color contrasts amid the stunning land features. There's practically no better way to end a trip through the Land of Enchantment.