Every once in a while it’s good to do something that you wouldn’t normally do. For me this most recently was a jeep tour through the high-desert with New Mexico Jeep Tours. What makes this activity unique is that the company has exclusive access to a private ranch with 20,000+ acres of pristine and untouched southwestern landscape. This area is so picturesque that it has been featured as the backdrop for many popular movies and TV shows like Lone Survivor, Maze Runner, Young Guns and Lonesome Dove.
On the day of the tour in early October the weather in Albuquerque was perfect – clear and sunny, not too hot but not cold (this is also when the city hosts its annual Balloon Fiesta). We met Roch and his fellow guides in the small town of Placitas (about 30 minutes north of Albuquerque and 40 minutes south of Santa Fe) before hitting the road. The tour is something of a scavenger hunt where the treasures range from pottery shards and fossils to the ruins of early Native American and Spanish settlements. Not only were the guides super friendly and knowledgeable, providing colorful commentary and historical context throughout the day, but they ensured that there was plenty of interaction between our larger-than-usual group spread across 5 separate jeeps.
We also had many opportunities to get out and walk around for a closer look at our surroundings. We stopped to decipher petroglyph carvings, explore an old railroad ghost town and admire the area’s wide open vistas, flora and fauna included. For the latter, we were lucky to spot several herds of wild horses, which appeared to be tamer than one would expect. It was almost memorizing to watch the different colored horses as they interacted with each other, the alpha male standing out among the group, and then gather in a perfect formation like something right out of a painting.
The 5 hours seemed to fly by with so much history, culture, geology and wildlife in one place. If you find yourself in New Mexico, this jeep tour is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Tours can also be personalized and tailored for your group, with options for different lengths, an emphasis on hiking or photography and more. Water and snacks are provided but consider bringing your own lunch for longer tours. Sturdy, closed-toed shoes are a must, as well as a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. And definitely a sense of adventure.