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New Mexico Highway 4

White Rock, NM 87544, USA
18 Kudos
New Mexico Highway 4 is a very scenic drive over the Jemez Mountains. If you have a limited amount of time, but you want to see some great scenery in a relatively short drive, this highway is an awesome choice. You can pick it up in either White Rock or Los Alamos. From there, you can follow it over the mountains to its junction with Highway 550 at San Ysidro. Along the way, you will see the Valles Caldera, Soda Dam, the Jemez River, Battleship Rock (not to be confused with the more famous Shiprock much farther west) and lots of great mountain scenery. The famous Bandelier National Monument is nearby. If you are hungry, there are also some great restaurants in the nearby towns.

Take it slowly and drive defensively - this is not a high speed road. It is a winding mountain road and it will be busy with tourists at certain times of the year. If you happen to be in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, you owe it to yourself to do a day trip along this awesome highway! I will highlight a few points of interest in the details.
Story Details


At the small town of Canon, the scenery changes dramatically. Highway 4 leaves the mountains and descends to the desert.


Jemez Springs
The small town of Jemez Springs is home to a variety of accommodations and restaurants. There is a private hot springs in the town that can be enjoyed for a fee.

Points of interest

Soda Dam Springs
Soda Dam and its associated hot springs is one of the great highlights of this drive. Unfortunately, part of Soda Dam was destroyed for highway construction. I just wish that perhaps the highway could have been built in a less-invasive manner.
Redondo Peak
Redondo Peak is the second highest point in the Jemez Mountains. You can see it from Highway 4 if the weather is clear. It is right in the middle of the Valles Caldera.
Valles Caldera
Just beyond the Bandelier National Monument, you will pass by the Valles Caldera. This is a beautiful national preserve.
Bandelier National Monument
The Bandelier National Monument features dramatic scenery, cave dwellings, and pueblo ruins. It just might be one of our most underrated national parks.

On The Map