- 14 miles (22 km)
- 1 hour
A drive along the Puye Cliffs Scenic Byway offers a sampling of thecultural and historic areas of the Santa Clara Native Americans. As NewMexico's only state Scenic Byway located entirely on an Indian Pueblo,this route travels through a diverse landscape and exemplifes thenatural wonders of New Mexico.
The byway stops at the Puye Cliff Dwellings and treats travelers toa vibrant 12th century heritage that permeates modern surroundings andbeliefs. These ancient dwellings were carved into the jagged volcanictufa and were eventually expanded to include adobe structures along theslopes and atop the numerous mesas.
The 14-mile Puye Scenic Byway is composed of Indian Road 565, 35miles north of Santa Fe. The main Santa Clara village is located on thebyway two miles north of Española. The majority of the tribal landsincluded in the main village comprise a unique social, cultural, andresidential area. Much of the City of Españolalies within the exterior boundaries of the reservation and within thevisual corridor of the Byway. The reservation also borders the LosAlamos National Laboratory.
Note: Due to fire damage from the Cerro Grande Fire, this byway may be CLOSED. Please check before planning your trip.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Bandelier National Monument (NM)
Best known for mesas, sheer-walled canyons, and the ancestral Pueblo dwellings found among them, Bandelier also includes over 23,000 acres of designated wilderness. It was named for Adolph Bandelier, a 19th Century anthropologist.
Turn right onto SR 30. Continue along SR 30, it will connect to 502. Follow SR 502 past Los Alamos. The highway will turn into SR 4. The highway does not go through National Monument land but borders it about 5 miles out of Los Alamos.
Santa Fe National Forest (NM)
Santa Fe National Forest covers nearly 1.6 million acres. Due toits expansive acreage, its landscapes vary from open wildflowerfields in lower elevations to the rugged peaks of the Sangre deCristo Mountains, the highest point being the Truchas Peak summitat 13,103 feet. Trees vary from different types of pine and fir to spruce and aspen.
The forest's other wonderful features include its wildernessareas: the Dome Wilderness, the San Pedro Parks Wilderness, theChama River Canyon Wilderness, and the Pecos Wilderness. Eachbrings a different look and feel to the forest. The Dome Wildernesscontains cliff dwellings, the San Pedro Parks Wilderness is filledwith wildlife and fish, the Chama River Canyon Wilderness showssandstone bluffs, and the Pecos Wilderness serves as the primerecreation destination in the entire forest.
The forest's close proximity to Santa Fe may lead visitors tobelieve that it is a crowded tourist attraction; however, it isgenerally overlooked by the cultural diversity of Santa Fe thatattracts higher volumes of visitors. For those that visit thisalpine wilderness, they are rewarded by recreation such as fishing,mountain biking, hiking. The Truchas Peaks area serves as a popularplace to hike. Wildlife watching is also popular; animals such asdeer, elk, bear, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep all make theirhomes here.
Turn right onto SR 30. SR 30 connects with SR 502. SR 502 enters Forest land.