Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway

Valles Caldera National Preserve | Enchanted New Mexico

On November 21st, my friend and I decided to drive the Jemez Mountain Trail. What started out as a day trip, turned into a weekend excursion — so be forewarned! I secretly wanted to find Spence Hot Springs, but the historic Jemez Bath House would make do in my mind if that’s all we could find.

I really loved the Soda Dam and Battleship Rock. These natural wonders are absolutely stunning representations of volcanic geology!

That evening we ate at Los Ojos Restauraunt which was FULL of local character and live music. We ended up staying the night at the Laughing Lizard nearby. (I would suggest planning ahead if you want to stay the night in Jemez Springs since a lot of the local lodging offices close down early.) The next day we had a delicious, filling breakfast at the Highway 4 Café. Our overnight experience in Jemez Springs was very similar to staying in a vortex or alternate universe. Kind of surreal.

We finally found Spence Hot Springs after breakfast the next morning. What a treat! Even though we didn’t have our bathing suits or towels, there was some satisfaction in finding this local hang-out purported to be solely for druggies and nudists (there was NO ONE in the vicinity during our visit BTW). A perfect ending to our weekend away!

As an aside: we did this drive ‘out of order’ and it seemed to make a difference. Driving from NM-502 in Pojoaque to Jemez Springs was not that spectacular, but the drive from Jemez Springs to Pojoaque was pretty amazing.