- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns is the only national park in the United States that is mostly underground. It is located in the Southeastern tip of New Mexico. Visitors can descend 750 feet on a 1 mile trail (Natural Entrance) or take an elevator straight into "Big Room" which is as big as 6 football fields.
- El Malpais National Monument
- I spent a day driving through El Malpais ("the badlands"), first visiting the various sandstone formations and lava overlooks, and then taking a scenic dirt road through the lesser-travelled parts... learning along the way that this part of the trip would have been easier if I had had a more detailed map of the area, and had known for sure where I was, rather than just knowing where I wanted to be going.
- El Morro National Monument
- El Morro is chiefly known for a 200-feet sandstone bluff with a water hole at its base. This quickly turned into a landmark, as travelers stopped along their way starting in the late 1500s, and inscribed their names in the stone in what would nowadays be called "graffiti".
- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
- The Gila Cliff Dwellings became a National Monument in 1907. It's in a very remote location - about 2 hours from the closest city - so the surrounding landscapes are still untouched, and visitation to the six caves is quite low.
- White Sands National Monument
- White Sands is a wide 275 square mile expanse of gypsum sand dunes, surrounded by lots of empty space, some of which is used by the army for missile testing. The dunes close to any road are invariably full of human footsteps, so plan to walk out or use macro perspectives when wanting to take "undisturbed" nature photos.
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