On the Road in Southern New Mexico: Rugged Beauty and the Final Frontier

New Mexico is known for both natural beauty and its unique role in the history of space exploration. Explore both on this journey to Carlsbad Caverns, the Very Large Array and more!
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 22614RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

On this unique learning adventure, discover two wildly different sides of New Mexico: the high-tech, spacefaring New Mexico, with its gaze fixed on the Final Frontier and the primal, stunningly beautiful New Mexico with a natural history that stretches back in time for eons. Journey across the state to survey its spacefaring history at Roswell, state-of-the-art research facilities and the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Then, explore the spectacular Carlsbad Caverns and witness New Mexico’s diverse wildlife and pristine landscapes. This is your chance to learn why the “Land of Enchantment” is no exaggeration.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles over uneven, sometimes slippery terrain. Elevations of 3,000-5,500 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Descend into the stunning Carlsbad Caverns, a vast underground network of intriguing caves and enormous chambers.
  • Learn about the wonders of space at the UFO Museum in Roswell, the New Mexico Museum of Space History and the Very Large Array, a cutting-edge radio-telescope facility.
  • Explore the mystical beauty and alluring dunes of White Sands National Park with a local expert.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Vannetta Perry
Dr. Vannetta Perry is a retired educator and lifelong resident of New Mexico who is deeply rooted in the southwest. Her family homesteaded and ranched in Southwestern New Mexico and farmed in West Texas. As an educator, Dr. Perry worked in the university setting, teaching biology and directing science outreach programs. Her love for travel was sparked when she led research studies in developing countries. Since retiring, Dr. Perry has continued to share her love of travel and education as a travel director and leader.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Vannetta Perry
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Matthew Mitchell
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Spell of New Mexico
by Tony Hillerman (Editor)
A selection of 12 thoughtful essays on the New Mexico state of mind by great writers, including C.G. Jung, Mary Austin, D.H. Lawrence and Lawrence Clark Powell. Hillerman succeeds in communicating the lure of the desert Southwest in this wonderful, literate introduction to the state.
Dark Beauty, Photographs of New Mexico
by Jack Parsons
Southwest photographer Parsons presents the rugged landscapes and the people of New Mexico, exploring religious iconography, far-flung ranches, small towns and wide open spaces in this full-color coffee table book.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Map
by Trails Illustrated
A detailed map of Carlsbad Caverns and the surrounding park at a scale of 1:32,400, showing topographic lines, trails and other points of interest.
Portrait of an Artist, A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe
by Laura Lisle
Lisle shows how O'Keeffe was both changed and inspired by her Southwestern surroundings in this insightful biography of Georgia O'Keeffe.
New Mexico, A History
by Joseph P. Sanchez
This cooperative effort between three native New Mexicans is the first complete history of New Mexico. It charts the state’s development from 16th-century Spanish colony to frontier province, from its 1912 American statehood to a hub of (often classified) scientific research. A vital source for anyone seeking to understand the complex history of the West.
The Last Cheater's Waltz, Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest
by Ellen Meloy
A naturalist's travels through the desert Southwest of her youth, reflecting on native peoples, landscape and ecology. Meloy explores Los Alamos, Trinity National Historic Landmark, and White Sands Missile Range -- including the impact of the laboratory and bomb testing on the environment.
The Spanish Frontier in North America
by David Weber
Here's the definitive history of the Spanish colonial period in America, from the settlement of St. Augustine in Florida to the missions of New Mexico.
The Southwest Table, Traditional Cuisine from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona
by Dave DeWitt
Expert on chili peppers and spicy foods, Dave DeWitt (aka "the Pope of Peppers") blends Southwestern culinary history with 130 authentic recipes and cooking techniques in this tantalizing collection of fiery, flavorful dishes from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians
by Robert Stebbins
The definitive field guide, with a special section on Baja's endemic species.
New Mexico Wildlife, An Introduction to Familiar Species
by James Kavanagh
A handy fold-up card featuring color illustrations of common plants, animals and reptiles of New Mexico.
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
One of the great works on the value of the desert, eloquent and laugh-out-loud funny. Although Abbey writes specifically about his experiences as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah, his message is universal.
Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51
by Phil Patton
Recounts the history, creation, intelligence and counter-intelligence of Area 51, a section of the American southwestern desert where top-secret aircraft is tested and where some believe the Pentagon is harboring UFOs and extraterrestrials.
Moon Handbook New Mexico
by Zora O'Neill
This comprehensive guide is packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history, culture and destinations throughout New Mexico.
Out of This World: New Mexico's Contributions to Space Travel
by Loretta Hall
Beginning with Robert Goddard’s efforts in Roswell, Hall covers 80 years of innovative rocket science research in New Mexico, including the Manhattan Project, the White Sands Missile Range and the Holloman Air Force Base.
Great River, The Rio Grande in North American History
by Paul Horgan
First published in 1954, this classic book won both the Bancroft and the Pulitzer Prizes for history.
Recreational Map of New Mexico
by GTR Mapping
A very good fold-out map of New Mexico.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback