Day 188 – New Mexico North

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Day 188 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Today turned into more of a maintenance and travel day than a scenic drive day.  By the time I finished using the free wi-fi at McDonald’s, fueled up VANilla, loaded up on groceries, and caught up with a few folks while I had good cell service in Durango, it was past noon, and I hadn’t begun driving to Angel Peak Scenic Area, my first stop on my scenic drive through the northern portion of New Mexico.

Angel Peak Scenic Area

Angel Peak is a monolith that resembles an angel with outstretched wings.  I didn’t really see the resemblance, but it didn’t much matter given the pastel painted badlands beneath the rock is where the beauty lay.  Petey and I bounced in VANilla along the dirt road near the rim of the canyon as tumbleweeds flew over the top of us.  I’ve never seen a tumbleweed fly, I thought they always tumbled! 

While we took a very short walk by a remote campground, the area peppered with as many gas wells as picnic areas wasn’t laced with formal hiking trails, but simply offered an expanse of land on which to wander around.  I prefer trails, so instead of wandering, I just sat at the picnic table and let Petey do some exploring.  I think it may have been his favorite part of the day.  He plopped down in the shade and rested. Some adventurer he is!

angel peak scenic area, new mexico

Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation

We continued east and briefly considered stopping at Navajo Lake State Park; however, it was 15 miles north of the Highway 64 and the map of the park only displayed one trail.  The next suggested place to visit in New Mexico based my Reader’s Digest Book of Scenic Byways was the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation.  The book suggests to follow Routes J-8, J-15, and 537 on a scenic loop past five sparkling lakes tucked beneath hills peppered in pinyon pines. 

I only spotted a bunch of dirt roads without names and decided not to accidentally drive unlawfully across Indian land.  Instead, I stopped at a historical marker.  “The Jicarilla Apache agreed to settle on a reservation in 1851, but unratified treaties and local politics hampered the process of obtaining a reservation for 36 years.  President Grover Cleveland finally issued the Executive Order which established a permanent home for the Jicarilla on February 11, 1887.”

Jicarailla Apache reservation, new mexico

On the northeast side of the reservation, is Dulce, a town where many of the Jicarilla reside.  I let Petey stretch his legs at the visitor center’s park before we continued on through Tierra Amarilla and Cebolla where we found an area in the Carson National Forest to camp for the night. It was a developed campground, but a space off the side of the road that with a campfire ring.  I enjoyed a lovely sunset from my bedroom window.  ETB

sunset it carson national forest, new mexico

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About New Mexico You May Like


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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

2 thoughts on “Day 188 – New Mexico North

  1. Fabulous sunset! We have had a couple here — but it’s usually on our
    way back from dinner and I am without my camera. Breathtaking!!!

    xo’s M

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