4 Places You Need to Stop on The Drive From Santa Fe to Albuquerque

couple on road trip

If you don’t live within reasonable driving distance to Santa Fe, traveling here can be a little tricky sometimes. While our regional airport does take in flights from destinations around the country (mostly with layovers and connecting flights), the easiest and most stress-free way to visit The City Different is by flying into Albuquerque International Sunport, renting a car, and taking a road trip between Albuquerque and Santa Fe! Not only traveling from Santa Fe to Albuquerque less expensive, but it’s also a fantastic way to see and explore other parts of New Mexico! If you need some help planning your trip, request our free Santa Fe Vacation Guide! You can spend some of the time on your road trip reading through the guide and choosing what you will see and do during your visit so once you step out of your car, you can start your exciting adventure through one of the oldest and unique cities in the country!

Our Favorite Stops along the Way from Santa Fe to Albuquerque!

A Drive Along the Turquoise Trail

While traveling the route from Sante Fe to Albuquerque, you can always take the shorter drive on I-25 which is about an hour between the cities, but we recommend a scenic drive on NM-14, the Turquoise Trail! This national scenic byway takes you on a 50-mile journey through stunning New Mexico backcountry where you’ll encounter old mining towns, scenic outlooks, and stunning views!


The town of Cerrillos is a living embodiment of the Wild West. Jewelry, pottery, and mining are the highlights of this town as turquoise is still an export of the now small mining business here. The dirt streets hold plenty of history as this is one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements and was once a booming mining town with 21 saloons and four hotels. Now, it’s not quite as lively, but it is still a great place to stop and get a taste of old New Mexico with a little bit of art and culture sprinkled in. Cerrillos Hills State Park is also a nice spot to walk around and stretch your legs.


This former coal mining town now features a thriving art community. Once a premier stop on the Santa Fe Railroad, Madridwas famous for its Fourth of July Parade, Christmas displays, and the first sports stadium in the west with lights. Now, you can peruse the galleries, shops, and the original tavern on the main street through the town where they continue to celebrate these renowned festivities!


Golden was home to the first gold rush west of the Mississippi River, bringing several large mining companies here in the 1800s. While the “town” is much smaller than Madrid and Cerrillos, the Fiesta de San Francisco de Assis in October brings in plenty of visitors to celebrate this medieval Spanish festival.

Sandia Peak

Take a 30-minute detour to Sandia Peak, which stands over 10,000-feet above Albuquerque and provides guests with sweeping views of the city and surrounding areas. This is an excellent place to walk around and explore before arriving in Albuquerque!

Depending on how long you stop at each point, this trip takes a little over two hours if you drive straight through. Check out our Santa Fe to Albuquerque road trip map here!

Stay at Our Authentic Santa Fe B&B!Bedroom

Head back to your charming and authentic room at El Farolito B&B Inn to relax before exploring the incredible city of Sante Fe! We are just a few blocks from the center of the city, allowing you to step out of your room right into all of the action! Our comfortable and Southwestern-themed rooms make for one of the most unique stays in the town! But don’t just take our word for it! Visit us soon for a one-of-a-kind vacation in the Land of Enchantment!

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