Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips

by Rick Quinn

Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips

This outstanding new guidebook adds extraordinary two-lane adventure to straight-line Interstate road trips.

Add fun, history, and jaw-dropping natural wonders to your southwestern road trip with RoadTrip America’s Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips, each one beginning and ending at an Interstate highway and drivable within a day. Full-color maps and photographs illustrate easy-to-follow scenic routes through breathtaking landscapes and iconic towns in Arizona and New Mexico. Discover the surreal beauty of White Sands, watch the sun set over Monument Valley, or explore the subterranean marvels of Carlsbad Caverns. Find out why Jerome was “the Wickedest Town in the West” or walk in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone. Pamper yourself at a spa in Taos or soak up the vibes at an “energy vortex” in the red rocks of Sedona. With this brand-new, up-to-date guide as your companion, all this and much, much more will be yours to discover and enjoy—one extra day at a time!

* Stunning color imagery and photography throughout
* Easy-to read, full-color route maps with points of interest, mileage, and more
* Color-coded pages for easy identification of routes by geographic region
* Up-to-date insider tips for getting the most out of each route and staying safe
* Phone numbers, websites and visitor info for parks, attractions, and out-of-the-ordinary lodging & dining
RoadTrip America’s Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is now available in bookstores and available online wherever books are sold.

Winner, GOLD IPPY, Independent Publisher Award for Travel-Guidebook
Winner, SILVER 2019 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Interior Design
Winner, SILVER 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards TRAVEL – GUIDEBOOK
Winner, FIRST PLACE, Travel/Nature Reader Views 2018-2019 Literary Awards
Winner, 2018-2019 Regional Awards, West-Mountain, Reader Views 2018-2019 Literary Awards
Winner, BRONZE 2018 INDIES Travel

Author picture

Rick Quinn was born and raised in Arizona, earned a degree in anthropology, then hit the road, indulging an admittedly peculiar whim by hitch-hiking to Tierra del Fuego. In one way or another, he’s been on the road ever since, living in a dozen diverse locales, from Paris to Peru, San Francisco to Washington D.C., working as a photographer, a coffee farmer, a magazine writer, a postman, a novelist, and, until his recent retirement, a corporate-level financial systems expert with the Postal Service. Rick is a veteran road tripper who has driven both the Alaska Highway and the Pan American. Currently, he’s a travel blogger, a landscape photographer, and a contributing writer for

Rick Quinn posts monthly commentary, tips and suggestions for taking scenic road trips in Arizona and New Mexico on

On April 3, 2018, Rick Quinn will launch his new book, Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips at the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Wine and gourmet hors d’oeuvres will be served. All are welcome. Free registration and more information.

On April 13th, Rick will head down the highway to the Mostly Books Bookstore in Tucson, Arizona. Rick’s event starts at 7pm. The store is located at 6208 E Speedway. Free registration and more information here.

On Wednesday, April 18th, Rick will be in Albuquerque and signing books at the Barnes and Noble at the Cottonwood Corners shopping center, (3701 Ellison Drive NW) from 7pm to 9 pm. Free registration and more information.

On Friday, April 20th, Rick will drive to Santa Fe for an author event at Garcia Street Books. Rick’s talk begins at 5:30 pm. The store is located at 376 Garcia Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Free registration and information.

On Friday, May 4th, Rick will drive to Flagstaff and will be signing books at Starrlight Books at 15 N. Leroux Street starting at 6:00 pm. All are welcome, free registration and more information.

On Monday, May 7th, Rick Quinn will be signing books and talking about scenic road trips at the Distant Lands travel store in Pasadena. His presentation begins at 7:30 pm. 20 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105. Hope to see you there! More information and free registration.

On Wednesday, May 9th, Rick Quinn will be telling tall tales from the road at the historic Shoshone Museum in Shoshone, California. Hosted by The Death Valley Red Light Chronicles and the Shoshone Museum Association this will be a really fun evening. Located on CA Highway 127, in Shoshone, California 92384. Rick’s presentation starts at 6:30 pm. More information and free registration.

On Friday, May 11th, Rick will be signing books and sharing tall tales at the Writer’s Block in Las Vegas, Nevada. His talk will be 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Refreshments will be served. More information and free registration.

Rick Quinn will be signing copies of his new book at the Tattered Cover LoDo on Thursday, May 24th starting at 7:00 pm The store is located at 1628 16th St, Denver, CO 80202. More information and free registration to this event.

“I recently bought this book by Rick Quinn and we had a business related trip today of 550 miles which gave me a lot of time to read my new book. I must say ….. it is GREAT! I love a nicely published book .. the photos, the nice paper, and the great maps make me happy! But above and beyond that, the information included in the book is excellent. I love the details and have already bookmarked several pages that we ‘need’ to visit this winter. Thank you for a terrific and very helpful book!!”–Paula Benson, (12/20/21)

The book itself is absolutely beautiful. Stunning photographs are featured on every page. The photos, combined with detailed maps and highlights about each stop along the route, one could easily content themselves with being an armchair traveler. Overall, I highly recommend “RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips” by Rick Quinn as a first-class travel companion and guide, or as a wonderful book to curl up with and dream about your next road trip. For me, it will be a hard decision choosing which trip to take first.” — Sheri Hoyte, (12/18/18)

These sites are out of the way and not so easy to get to, but a visit to Chaco Canyon should be on the bucket list of every traveler who is curious about world history.” A new article by Brad Donaldson, PassionPassport (10/02/18)

“Rick Quinn reveals the absolute best of Arizona and New Mexico, including hidden gems and overlooked treasures. This gorgeous guidebook helps you plan the ultimate road trip!” by James Kaiser, author of Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide and several other books about national parks.” (09/17/18)

“Rick Quinn jumps off the interstate to guide travelers on 25 brilliantly conceived road trips. Stunning images of southwestern landscapes and landmarks nicely mix with his insights about historic attractions and roadside treasures along the way.” — Doug Kirby,

“Whether you live in Arizona or New Mexico or are just passing through you should grab a copy of this book. The book is filled with awesome pictures and maps, and recommended alternate routes. The book even tells you how much extra time it will take to travel through via one of the side trips, makes it easy to adjust your travel time. Some of these side trips can take you just a few minutes out of your way” — Teresa Noel,

“Colorfully illustrated, this guide book by well-seasoned traveler Rick Quinn covers Arizona and New Mexico quite well. Enough detail is given about locations and drives to pique the interest and yet not spoil the surprise. As a bonus, the maps are concise but detailed enough to get you to the destination… Overall, I would highly recommend this book by Rick Quinn.”–Jim Hinckley, author of Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town

“What makes this wonderfully accessible book invaluable to the time-pressed driver is that the author has broken things down into bite-sized detours from the region’s four Interstate Highways. For those who may be passing through Arizona or New Mexico on the way someplace else, it’s an inspirational guide to transforming what would otherwise be a simple A-to-B journey into something special – a road trip that takes you into the heart of the Desert Southwest.”–Peter Thody,

“This book is amazing, packed with so much information on so many towns and attractions that it’s hard to believe author Rick Quinn was able to research, drive, and photograph it all in a half-year. He’s aimed his book at travelers who want a convenient break from the Interstates, but being a couple thousand miles away myself, I find it just as fun for armchair travelers. The directions are clear, the maps are helpful, the descriptions are concise yet engaging, and the photography consistently stunning. Having crossed the states on Route 66 a decade ago, it was a lot of fun revisiting the highlights (yes, of course we stayed at the Wigwam Motel) and learning how much else there is to see along that route, not to mention the many other roads and destinations waiting to be discovered.”–Brian Butko, author of Greetings from the Lincoln Highway and Roadside Attractions

“Useful for anyone who will be traveling through New Mexico or Arizona. I grew up in Arizona and this book showed me so many things that I have still not seen. This book is easy to read and well formatted. I enjoyed the pictures and maps, as well as the recommended alternate routes for those more interested in the journey than the destination (or even those who might want a more exciting journey on their way to a destination).”–Hayley Hawes,

“If there was ever a model for publishing the perfect road trip book, Quinn’s book is the closest thing I’ve seen. Clear, easy to use, great full-color photography and illustrations, outstanding maps, excellent organization, and an overall fun read. Whether or not you ever set foot in Arizona or New Mexico, you’ll enjoy following these routes from your armchair. It’s a must-have companion if you are driving through the state and have a little extra time or sense of adventure.”–Michael Dougherty, author of The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia

“It’s not a mirage; this wonderful book brings these legendary, mythical desert regions to life in the best of ways, with compelling stories, gorgeous images and useful information.”–Chris Epting, author of James Dean Died Here and Roadside Baseball

“Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is a stunningly beautiful book with hundreds of color photos, easy-to-read route maps, and insider tips that only a well-traveled tour guide would know. The book is organized in a logical fashion with helpful color-coding to separate the routes, boxes pointing out the highlights, and travel time information to guide you along your way. Several of the routes connect to one another for a longer adventure, and all can be driven in either direction with helpful notes to doing so. A well-documented index will help you find that section on your favorite town or place in either state.”–Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream

“Iconic only-in-America tourist destinations come alive in Rick Quinn’s guide to famed Arizona and New Mexico road trips. From Burma-Shave roadside signs, vortex sites, tree trunk sculptures, and the world’s smallest museum, to architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home, artist Georgia O’Keefe’s studio, and Biosphere 2, you’ll be amazed at the seductive pull these diverse, sometimes quirky attractions will have on your western itinerary. Best of all, they’re just a car ride away – no passports necessary.”–Jeff Blumenfeld, editor,

Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is a must-have for travelers exploring the Southwest. Over 300 full-color photos capture the true beauty of these two states.”–Ellen Robson, author of Haunted Highway: The Spirit of Route 66

“What a great way to explore the Southwest, skip the obvious and take a variety of wonderful side trips off the interstate. Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Road Trips provides great options to travel the backroads of Arizona and New Mexico. As a frequent traveler in my home state of Arizona, and nearby New Mexico, I was pleased to see so many interesting places, described with useful details. Even though some of the routes are well known to me, the background information was interesting and surprisingly new to me. The writing is descriptive, as well as practical, which entices you to make plans to visit as soon as possible. The photographs are beautiful, well placed and add to the information provided. Whether this will be new territory to explore or a return trip, this book is a treasure to own.”–Pat Mount, Tucson Arizona

“I’ve been an Arizonan for 33 years and have road tripped many miles in both Arizona and New Mexico. Yet, with each of Rick Quinn’s scenic side trips, I learned of new places to visit. Mr. Quinn has done an excellent job finding those special Arizona and New Mexico spots that are easy to miss when looking at maps.” –Gerald Thurman, College Instructor, Tempe Arizona.

“As an experienced roadtripper, Quinn has gone beyond the usual in this travel guide, providing important information before you head out, such as when the road turns to dirt or when taking an RV is not advised. Alternate routes are then suggested, if possible. Sidebars give listings and contact information of the route’s highlights and some give additional background information. I have spent most of the past 15 years in Arizona and explored quite a bit of the state and a good part of New Mexico. Reading this has shown me how many more fascinating and beautiful places I have yet to see. I can’t recommend this too highly. Now my only quandary—which roadtrip to do first!: — Jaimie Bruzenak,

“This is more than a guidebook of out-of-the-way places, it’s an invitation to adventure and an invitation to savor and explore the landscape and history of Arizona and New Mexico. This is a must have for anyone looking to explore the less traveled back roads and trails — Joe de Kehoe, author of The Silence and the Sun

“Each chapter includes several maps of the route with the suggested stops clearly marked, as well as a detailed description of the highlights and attractions in each city along the way. And the photographs are absolutely stunning..”–Candy B. Harrington,

**** “Very informative and well-designed travel book full of important and interesting information. Highly recommended.”–M Sarki, NetGalley

Las Cruces to Lordsburg via Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and Silver City
251 miles, 7 hours 11 minutes
From the ancient past to outer space and back, on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits

This scenic detour will add 130 miles and most of a day to your journey between Las Cruces and Lordsburg. What would have been a rather monotonous 2 hours on a flat, straight freeway becomes an expedition over magnificent mountain highways and a fascinating journey through time?with some very hot chiles thrown in.


Leave Interstate 10 at Exit 140 in Las Cruces, on the Avenida de Mesilla. While you’re in town, check out Las Cruces’ Museum of Nature and Science. Among other exhibits, it has fossilized footprints of animals that predate the dinosaurs taken from nearby Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which is possibly the world’s richest source for this type of Permian Age fossil. Contact the BLM in Las Cruces if you’d like to tag along on a guided hike to the fossil beds, which contain tracks left by lizard-like critters, giant bugs, and sea creatures anywhere from 250 to 300 million years ago.

Otherwise, head north on Valley Drive, NM 185, which will lead you through the agricultural area north of town. The highway runs through the valley of the Rio Grande, the same Rio Grande that marks the 1,200-mile border between Texas and Mexico. At Radium Springs, pull off the road for the Fort Selden State Historic Site, the crumbling adobe remains of a 19th-century Army outpost, a relic of the days when marauding bands of Apaches preyed on pretty much everyone who came near their territory. After the last of the renegade Apache warriors were disarmed and herded onto reservations, small garrisons like Fort Selden were no longer needed; this post was decommissioned and abandoned in 1891.

Chile pepper lovers will have something to celebrate when they reach the little town of Hatch, the official Chile Capital of New Mexico and site of the annual Hatch Chile Festival. The spicy food and music extravaganza is held each year over Labor Day weekend, and draws as many as 30,000 visitors. There’s no question that the farms in this area produce some of the finest, hottest peppers you would ever dare to eat, and local shops do a brisk business. You can get the chiles fresh when they’re in season, from August through mid-September; the rest of the year they’re available dried, frozen, and pickled, along with every conceivable chile-related food product and curio. Favorite souvenirs include beautiful decorative wreaths made entirely of dried chile peppers, and traditional ristras: strings of dried chiles, as much a staple of Southwestern decor as they are of Southwestern cooking.

From Hatch, drive 30 miles north on NM 187 to the intersection of NM 152, near Caballo Lake, a large reservoir on the Rio Grande that offers all the usual boating, fishing, camping, and picnicking opportunities. The route heads west from here, but you might consider an optional side trip: 15 miles north is the town of Truth or Consequences, the official gateway to Spaceport America, the world’s first “purpose-built, FAA-certified commercial spaceport.” It’s not an amusement park, and it’s not a movie set. It’s an actual spaceport, owned and operated by the State of New Mexico, with a 12,000-foot runway, launch pads for rockets, hangars for spacecraft, and a passenger terminal that boosters compare to the Sydney Opera House. When trips into outer space become available to paying passengers, this is where they’ll fly from.

There’s not a lot going on out at the Spaceport just yet, but if you’d like to take a look at the staging area for what could well become the Next Big Thing, you can take a tour, the Spaceport America Experience; it lasts about 4 hours, counting travel time. All tours leave from, and return to, the Spaceport America Visitors Center in downtown Truth or Consequences, and advance reservations are required. If you stay overnight in the area, take advantage of the natural hot springs for which Truth or Consequences has long been famous. Several of the local hotels, including Riverbend Hot Springs and La Paloma Hot Springs, have private thermal pools right on their properties.

Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science
411 N. Main St., Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 522-3120

Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
BLM Las Cruces District Office
1800 Marquess St., Las Cruces, NM 88005
(575) 525-4300

Paperback:  $24.95 US / $32.99 CDN ISBN:  9781945501050 — First Edition:  April 2018
E-book: $12.95 US / $16.50 CDN  ISBN: 9781945501111

384 pages.

Twenty-six detailed custom maps created by Chris Erichsen

302 color photos by Rick Quinn

Book and E-book design by Suzanne Campbell


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