Sunday, October 4, 2015

Jemez Mountain National Scenic Byway

We were ready for another road trip. We drove North to Bernalillo on I 25, then turned onto 550 to the village of San Ysidro.

San Ysidro is the only surviving settlement of the original seven "Pueblos de los Jemez" formed under the Spanish crown. Jemez is pronounced Hay-mess.

From there we turned onto 4. What a beautiful drive with so many things to see and do. You may follow along with us by using the map.

Our first stop was at the Walatowa Visitor Center for information.

They had a replica of a field house and an oven (horno) located on the grounds and you can see them below.

The horno, or oven, arrived with the Spanish. This oven helped to bake bread and other baked goods.

Inside the visitor center, we enjoyed learning more about the people and their history.

The pueblo cannot be toured without a guide, so we opted out.

Don't you just love this corner fireplace? I love the architecture in New Mexico and have visions of us living here...I would just have to have a fireplace like this one.

Following are some photos of the beautiful red rock area.

The next place we wanted to visit was closed on this particular day. We did manage to get a couple of pictures from the road.

The Jemez Historic Site.

The role of the Franciscan mission system played an important part in the colonization of New Mexico.

They say this is where you will see some of the best preserved ruins in the American Southwest.

These buildings were built in 1621. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the villagers conducted their religious ceremonies in underground kivas. This village is known as GEE-say-wah-tuu-wah, which is a Towa word, "village by the sulphur." Only 18 percent of this site has been excavated!!! Archaeologists believe this village was first occupied in the 1300's and is ancestral to the Jemez people. 

We were so disappointed that they were closed!!!

Time for lunch, belly up to the bar!!! Hey pardner, where are your cowboy hat and chaps?

Jemez Springs is where we stopped at Los Ojos where I tried their chili stew along with tacos.

Soda Dam and my how you could smell the sulfur. 

An interesting stop where there is a little waterfall coming out from behind the rock.

Next on the route is Battleship Rock where there is a picnic area and trails.

We had already had lunch, so opted out of stopping here.

We had our bathing suits packed and really wanted to take a dip in the hot springs, but time did not permit!!!

Jemez Falls was our next stop with a hike to the falls being longer than we had time for, but we did it anyway...would not take the time to do it again as this was as close as you could get and just was not that exciting.

Then past the vast area here known as the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico's super volcano.

Our final stop on this scenic byway was a visit to Bandelier National Monument where we climbed inside an ancient cliff dwelling.

This is an underground kiva where religious practices were once carried out...a rather large one.

This was a special place where important decisions and knowledge was passed on. One entered from the roof by ladder down into a darkened room where torches were the only light.

The canyon and mesa country is part of the Pajarito Plateau. The pink rock of the canyon is volcanic ash called tuff making it look like Swiss cheese. The holes in the cliffs were rooms. These structures before you were probably used for food storage.

A petroglyph I noticed inside one of the rooms was of this macaw.

Just had to climb into one of the rooms that had been occupied by these ancient people.

What an amazing place and made pretty good rooms to live in.

We talked about how they did not have nice sidewalks to climb up to these walls.

You can see how the rooms connect. On the ceilings that are darkened is from smoke from the fires inside which hardened the tuff.

This is certainly a fascinating place, much like Mesa Verde in Colorado.

Evidence of human activity here dates back more than 10,000 years.

The Jemez Volcano erupted more than one million years ago.

We say bye for now and recommend this drive for all to see. 

Until next time...


  1. Isn't Bandelier interesting? We have been there a couple of times.
    We will be dashing west on 40, north of you, and won't have time to visit Sevellita. It would have been good to see you and the refuge.

  2. Looks like you had a great time..... I love that area , too. If you have time, another place to visit is he Salinas Pueblo near MountainIre.... A little closer to you.

    1. Been through the area...I love the area around Mountainair!!!

  3. Hi Carolyn and Wally! So happy to have found your blog site. Love seeing your pictures and hearing about you journey! You guys look great!

  4. Welcome to N. Parker...let us hear from you!!!