Day 1

Depart El Paso, Texas International Airport and transfer to Carlsbad via Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this area has a rich and diverse history dating back to prehistoric and Native American cultures. The temperature in the caverns stays a mild 56 degrees year-round.

Have lunch and then spend a delightful afternoon at Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, an indoor/outdoor living museum featuring flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Enjoy dinner, a cruise down the Pecos River and overnight in Carlsbad.

Day 2

Transfer to Roswell, world renowned for the “Roswell Incident” and its International UFO Museum and Research Center. Keeping with the space theme, be sure to see the recreation of Robert Goddard’s workshop and namesake planetarium at the Roswell Museum and Art Center.

Step back in time at the Lincoln State Monument. Start at the museum for an overview then move on to the courthouse from where Billy the Kid made his last great escape.

Smokey Bear State Park & Museum in Capitan, where in the nearby mountains, a badly burned bear cub was found clinging to a tree. “Smokey” became a national symbol of fire prevention and is interred at this State Park.

Complete your day’s sightseeing with Fort Stanton State Monument, historical home of Kit Carson, Black Jack Pershing and the Buffalo Soldiers.

Enjoy some cowboy cooking and entertainment overnight in Ruidoso.

Day 3

In Ruidoso visit the Hubbard Museum of the American West featuring over 10,000 equine artifacts including a sculpture of art and engineering featuring 8 bronze horses balanced on one hoof.

Move from the mountains to the high desert town of Alamogordo for lunch and a visit to the home of the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Exhibits include Robert Goddard’s early rocket experiments and a mock-up of the International Space Station. The museum is also home to New Mexico’s only IMAX Theater and houses a Planetarium.

White Sands National Monument is 275 square miles of surreal white gypsum dunes.

Dinner and entertainment overnight in Las Cruces.

Day 4

Las Cruces boasts 350 days of sunshine allowing visitors to enjoy a wide variety of attractions and outdoor activities any time of year. Start in Historic Mesilla, site of the Gadsden Purchase and Butterfield Stage stop, where Billy the Kid was held behind bars and today shops, restaurants, entertainment and more make this charming plaza a pleasant place to pass the afternoon. After an authentic lunch including some locally grown green chiles, tour the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. This interactive facility and working ranch tells the 3,000 year story of agriculture in New Mexico through indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Travel west through Deming, home of the Great American Duck Race, to City of Rocks State Park with its 35 million year-old geologic formations.

Silver City, once a bustling copper mining town, has today a charming downtown arts district filled with antiques, coffee shops, galleries and restaurants and bars.

Day 5

Explore the Gila High Country. Wind through one of the largest national forests to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, impressive structures built into the mountainside that sheltered the Mogollon people from approximately 1280 to 1300 (road appropriate for smaller vehicles only).

Return to Silver City and head for the Gila’s other main attraction, the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Whitewater Canyon was used by both Geronimo and Butch Cassidy’s gang as a hideout. The Catwalk got its name in 1890 from the narrow path built along a pipeline that supplied water to the mining town of Graham.

See the general store, mercantile, saloon and theater of Mogollon ghost town.

Very Large Array is comprised of 27 radio antennas spread over 22 miles that are able to detect extremely faint radio emissions from the distant stars. The site’s Visitor Center informs guests about radio astronomy and the future of this science, and the nearby town of Magdalena offers an authentic old west ambiance.

Socorro is home to San Miguel Mission, built in 1891 on the same site as the original mission from 1627. Visit the historic plaza, arrange a star party, have dinner at a local brewery.

Day 6

Take a Spaceport America Experience Tour of the world’s first purpose-built, spaceport and see the awe-inspiring Gateway to Space, the launch pad of the second space age.

Peruse the funky downtown of Truth or Consequences, kayak down the Rio Grande, tour the Geronimo Springs Museum or soak in one of the area’s famous hot mineral springs.

On your way out of town, stop in Hatch, the “Chile Capital of the Universe,” for a delicious green chile cheeseburger.

Day 7

Depart for home.