The Pedernal, a favorite subject of Georgia O'Keeffe
Abiquiu (AH-bi-kyoo) is a tiny town in the north central region of New Mexico, USA. Despite its minuscule population, it is interesting for attractive scenery and for Ghost Ranch, home of the great artist Georgia O'Keeffe and now preserved as a conference center/living museum.
Abiquiu is about 60 miles north of Santa Fe on US highway 84. This road from Santa Fe is generally passable as far as Abiquiu even after winter storms, as unlike some of the region's other highways, it stays in the valley. However, north of Abiquiu, it can be messy in the winter, so check on conditions if you're approaching from Colorado. The nearest major airport is in Albuquerque 60 miles south of Santa Fe.
There's not much town to get around in. Most of the outlying attractions are on good road, but if you're heading into the Jemez Mountains (see under "Get out"), a high-clearance vehicle is a good idea if you're going to get off the main highway.
Ghost Ranch, Georgia O'Keeffe's New Mexico home, is a few miles north of town and contains a number of features of interest to the visitor. The ranch is now a retreat under the auspices of the Presbyterian church, which maintains three small museums on site (small fee) and also several hiking trails into the red-rock country that O'Keeffe's paintings made famous. Tours of O'Keeffe's home and studio are also available but require significant advance planning. Call 877-804-4678 for information.
Much of the red-rock scenery commonly associated with O'Keeffe's work is seen well from the highway through town, US 84. Continue north past Ghost Ranch to Echo Amphitheater, where a short, easy trail leads to the eponymous geological feature.
The red rocks of Ghost Ranch
Water sports are available at nearby Abiquiu Lake, one of a number of small artificial lakes built primarily to control flooding along the Rio Grande. Picnics and rustic camping are possible. Abiquiu Lake is generally held to offer some of the best fishing in New Mexico.
Hiking trails into the red-rock country around Ghost Ranch are reachable from near town. To experience mountain hiking, try the route suggested under "Get out."
Christ in the Desert Monastery, Forest Service Road 151 (About 75 miles NW of Santa Fe and about 53 miles S of Chama, NM, off US Rt. 84, on Forest Service Rd. 151. Just north of Mile Post 227 on US 84 is a small sign (Monastery) marking the turn onto Forest Service Road 151. The turn is about 1 mile N of the Pedro Lumbre Visitor's Center and 1 mile S of Echo Amphitheater. Continue on Forest Service Road for 13 miles. It is a dirt and gravel road which can be steep and narrow at points, and quite slippery when wet. In dry weather, it is quite safe (my little Honda Civic handled it fine). There are no services on the road, and traffic is light. During the snowy winter, a four-wheel drive vehicle is advisable. Not recommended during inclimate weather. See News on their website for updates on driving conditions. There are several turnouts along the way which lead to the Rio Chama for picnicking and hiking.), ☎ (801) 545-8567, . 9:15 am-5:00 pm. The Monastery is situated in a beautiful, quiet canyon in northwestern New Mexico, surrounded by miles of government-protected wilderness. The chief architect of the original monastery was George Nakashima, famous Japanese-American woodworker and architect. The church, meditation garden (next to the church), gift shop, and restrooms located in the lobby are open to the public. Visitors are welcomed. Free.
Bode's General Store, 21196 U.S. 84 (driving north on Highway 84 to Bode's, an easy hour's drive from Santa Fe), ☎ (505) 685-4422, . A true general store since 1919. Variety of groceries, snacks, beer, wine and spirit. Organic frozen meats, selection of wines, large selection of cold beer and drinks. Cleaning and paper products, household and picnic needs. Also a cafe with fresh-brewed coffee, pastries, pies, muffins and cookies. They serve up Boar's Head meats, cheese, sandwiches, burritos, chile and salads to go, to sit and for groups and picnics in the deli.
Cafe Abiquiu, on US 84; phone 505-685-4378. An entertainingly eclectic menu with Southwestern and Mediterranean(!) dishes featured. Open three meals a day. At the rustic little Abiquiu Inn; see below under "Sleep."
Camping is possible at Abiquiu Lake, and also at Echo Amphitheater campground a few miles to the north.
Abiquiu Inn, on US 84, 505 685 4378. A good place to spend a quiet night far out in the boonies; both Cafe and Inn are much more comfortable than you'd expect. 25 great Casitas with Kiva fireplaces & wonderful views.
Casa del Rio Bed and Breakfast, on US 84, 505 753 2035. Hiking trails nearby.
Casita de Chuparosa - Abiquiu Vacation Home, 505 685 0823, . Charming hilltop home on 28 acres with 360 O'Keeffe Country views. Hilltop Hot Tub spa. 2 bedrooms, artistically decorated, wood burning fireplace. Complimentary full breakfast provisions. No cleaning fees or security deposits, all major credit cards accepted. Clean well behaved pet welcome, including horses. Onsite Hiking and Riding. from $130 night-$750 week.
Ghost Ranch (Ghost Ranch), ☎ 505-685-4333, . Bed and Breakfast, Lodging and camping available at Ghost Ranch. Rooms are basic, no frills, but clean and comfortable with magnificent views.
The Casita del Lago, on Abiquiu Lake, ☎ 847-710-1550, . Two bedrooms, two bath luxury casita on 23 private acres. Casita has a full kitchen, dining/living room, laundry facilities, indoor and outdoor fireplaces/fire pits, wireless internet and TV, outdoor hot tub under the stars. Across the lake from GhostRanch. Amazing views, short hike to the lake.
Las Parras de Abiquiu Vineyard & Guesthouse, (About an hour north of Santa Fe on US 84. Just north of the center of Abiquiu, turn left into the gated property. Reservations required.), ☎ (505) 685-4200 or (800) 817-5955, . checkin: 3:00 pm; checkout: noon. A true country experience in northern New Mexico with all the comforts and luxuries of an old-world inn. The 55-acre compound is surrounded by the white cliffs and dramatic mesas. Majestic, old cottonwood trees along the Chama River provide refuge for birds, wildlife, and seekers of quiet solitude. There are two large, comfortable bedrooms, each with beautiful vistas of the Abiquiu landscape. Each includes: king size bed with down comforter, private full bath with Mexican tile, wood burning fireplace, hand carved furniture, private entrance & brick portal, thick terry towels & robes, and extra luxuries.$130/night for 2 people (no breakfast).
Abiquiu on the River, Private Drive 1637, House 28 (0.9 miles beyond Bode's. Contact for directions), ☎ 505-927-8432. Bedroom suites with a private entrance and private bath on the banks of the Chama River, in a beautiful passive solar adobe home. The home blends ancient building techniques like micacious mud plaster on mud brick walls, with modern architectural techniques like trombe walls, exposed I beams, and concrete counter tops. The fusion is gracious, innovative, and, above all, comfortable. A hot tub sits at the river's edge. The bedrooms have double beds. Common room, well appointed kitchen. A glass house, on the river's bank, offers a place to curl up with a book or binoculars, or to receive healing body work (appointment needed). There's no TV but the river is endlessly entertaining. WiFi is available. Turkeys, chickens and guinea hens wait in their coops to display their strange beauty. Walks and bike trips can begin at the front door and we have rubber rafts that allow even the novice to begin or conclude raft trips at the river gate. The whole 2 bedroom, 2 bath home is available to rent, but special arrangements must be made.$55-110.
The pretty Jemez Mountains are west of town and can be seen to good advantage from either Abiquiu Lake, or better, NM SR 96 along the north side of the range. Trailheads leading into San Pedro Parks Wilderness and other points in Santa Fe National Forest are reachable by side roads from this highway, but two warnings: First, many of the side roads are rough enough to require high-clearance vehicles, and in spring and early summer, 4-wheel drive is nearly essential owing to muddy spots. Second, there have been problems with vandalism to vehicles parked in this region.
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