Village of Cimarron New Mexico

The village of Cimarron, New Mexico, is considered the Historic Heart of the West. The story of the village starts with the Santa Fe Trail; the Cimarron route of the trail was a favored route because it was about 100 miles shorter. The area is also the historic home of the Anasazi, Jicarilla Apache, and Ute tribes. During the mid-to-late 19th century, it was an important part of the mining and ranching world. Cimarro also saw its fair share of lawlessness and violence, which explains the name of the village. The word “Cimarron” translates to “wild and unruly.” The village is now a peaceful place with nearby attractions that reflect a more nature-filled definition of wild and unruly. These are many adventurous sightseeing attractions near Cimarron and we highly recommend these three undiscovered gems. 


The Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest

Valle Vidal Unit of Carson National Forest

Valle Vidal is The Valley of Life. This is another place where the name is true to the location. It is over 100,000 acres of pristine scenery filled with abundant wildlife. The colors are especially vibrant during the summer wildflower season.

It offers a great opportunity to experience remote wilderness. There are no designated trails in the Valle Vidal. Over time, visitors have created trails that future guests are welcome to use; however, this is also a chance to forge your own path to a breathtaking view. Options for outdoor activities expand into mountain biking, catch and release fishing, horseback riding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

A trophy elk herd calls the area home. The 2,000-head herd is protected during winter (on the East Side) and the calving season (on the West Side) with limited access to those parts of the park. Travel through the entire park is allowed; however, hiking is not allowed in protected areas. The devotion to the protection of this herd brings a special sense of community with and respect for nature.

Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulan Volcano, New Mexico

You can see four different states from the rim of the volcano. On a clear day, visitors can see Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Some people claim to be able to see Kansas, but this has not been confirmed.

You can see planets, galaxies, and nebulae with the naked human eye from the volcano. Giant telescopes are provided if you want a closer look. Capulin has the distinct honor of being one of the darkest night skies in the country. Dark Sky viewing opportunities are held on most Saturdays during the summer months and select nights during the rest of the year. 

There are five hiking trail options at the monument. The Nature, Boca, and Lava Flow trails are near the base of the volcano. If you drive to the top of the volcano, you can hike the Crater Rim and Crater Vent trails. The Nature trail is handicap accessible and dog friendly. Both the Crater Rim and Crater Vent trails are paved. 

Highway of Legends

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation designated the scenic highway as a National Scenic Byway in 2021. It is recommended that visitors devote two hours to see everything along the 82-mile byway.

Traversing the byway is like traveling through hundreds of years of local folklore and legend. For example, you can see the Devil’s Stairs as you drive through the San Isabel National Forest. It is said that the Devil would climb these stairs to the top of the twin Spanish Peaks where he would sit as he planned his takeover. When God learned of the plans, the Devil was barred from the area but his stairs still remain.

Visitors often comment on how undisturbed the land is along the drive. It is dotted with impressive natural scenery including the Spanish Peaks Wilderness and Goemmer Butte. Even the areas occupied by humans have kept nature at the forefront. The small town of Stonewall Gap registered only 67 residents during the 2010 census. 


We recommend spending a few days in Cimarron in order to have time to explore everything the area has to offer. Casa del Gavilan Historic Inn is a remote inn that provides guests with the tranquility of a rural location. There are no televisions at the Casa but guests hardly miss them as they stare in awe at the panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The inn features five guest rooms in the grand adobe villa and a private guest house boasting two bedrooms.