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Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone has questions. Here are some answers.
  • Why is it called the Turquoise Trail?
  • We held a contest in 1953 sponsored by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce to name the scenic back road from Albuquerque to the Sandia Crest and on up through the mining towns of Golden, Madrid and Cerrillos on on to Santa Fe.  Rita Simmons, a talented artist and educator from Albuquerque won the contest (a matched set of luggage!) and the Turquoise Trail took off. 

  • Is there REAL Turquoise on the Turquoise Trail?
  • Of course!  Turquoise was first mined by the Native Americans in the 900AD. By 1300AD villages were set up to mine Turquoise and Galena (Lead).  The best known mine in the area is Mount Chalchihuitl and its Turquoise has been mined for hundreds of years and can be traced around the world.  All the mines today are privately claimed and there is no access.  Since Turquoise is mined you will not find it along the side of the road!

  • How do we get to the Turquoise Trail?
  • You drive East from Albuquerque, via I-40 or South from Santa Fe on I-25.  Highway 14 is well marked and you will see the National Scenic Byway signs. Unless you are on a private tour, there is no public transportation along the Turquoise Trail.

    Visit our Interactive Map or download a map & brochure

  • Is the road open year round?
  • Yes, Highway 536 and Highway 14 are all weather roads and are maintained by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Expect snow during the winter months and be aware of road closures during major storms.

  • What is there to do along the Turquoise Trail?
  • You can hike, shop, visit museums & galleries, camp, bike, horseback ride, ski, bird watch, eat and sleep and have a jolly good time.

    See all the Shops & Stops along the Turquoise Trail

  • Where can we picnic?
  • There are developed picnic grounds on the road to Sandia Crest and in Cerrillos Hills Historic Park. And you can find scenic spots to tailgate along the roadside on the Turquoise Trail while enjoying the views.

  • Are there rest areas and gas stations along the Turquoise Trail?
  • Yes, there are several gas stations with bathrooms and the Cibola National Forest has many trail heads with bathrooms.  Various businesses have public restrooms and the Town of Madrid has new public facilities.

  • Are there places to eat and drink along the Turquoise Trail?
  • Yes, there are a variety of good restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars.

    View Restaurants | View Bars | View Coffee & Tea Houses

  • How much time do I need to travel the whole Turquoise Trail?
  • You can travel from Albuquerque to Santa Fe directly in just over an hour but to explore and experience the Trail you need at least a half a day and could actually stay two days or more, if you golf or ski one day and then visit the museums and shops or hike in the area’s Open Space properties the next.

  • Are there shopping opportunities along the trail?
  • Yes!  We have many unique shops and galleries sure to delight all members of your family!

    View Shopping stops

  • Are there places to stay along the Turquoise Trail?
  • Yes, there are a number of bed & breakfasts, RV Parks and camping stops.

    View Lodging & Camping stops

  • How many museums are there along the Turquoise Trail?
  • There are 5 museums stops along the Trail.

    View Museum stops

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Upcoming Event

The History of Coal in NM

Saturday, August 9, 2014
A look at the curiosities of uncommon Native American and European uses of coal.
Event details »
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National Scenic Byway

On June 15, 2000 the Turquoise Trail received designation as a National Scenic Byway from the The National Scenic Byways Program after completing a comprehensive corridor management plan.

The plan is available for review here »

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