On your Amarillo to Taos road trip, you'll be able to take in multiple sites between Texas and New Mexico. By traveling a few hours outside of your route, however, you’ll have the means to explore multiple great national parks and bigger cities. If you decide to stick close to your main route, which traverses part of Interstate 40, there are a few terrific state parks to visit. There are also some fun points of interest and picturesque towns that you’ll go through on this trip. Gas up your vehicle of choice and hit the open road on this road trip from Amarillo to Taos.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is roughly four hours south of your route, but these amazing limestone caves are worth the extra drive. In addition to exploring the best of Carlsbad Caverns, you can also hike trails that show off the beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert. Another popular activity here is watching the Brazilian free-tailed bats fly out of the caverns as the sun is setting.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located across the New Mexico/Texas border, south of Carlsbad Caverns. It’s a newer national park, yet it's every bit as beautiful as the more renowned spots. This is a great place for hiking and backpacking, although another popular pastime here is stargazing thanks to the lack of light pollution. Whether you want to hike all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak or take a leisurely stroll to tour the park’s springs, you’ll be able to find the fun you're looking for at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is close to Las Cruces, NM, and Holloman Air Force Base. Its allure lies in its stark white gypsum sand dunes that just beg to be explored in various ways. Visitors often experience this fascinating field of white via hiking and horseback, but others like to go sledding down the dunes. Interestingly enough, this area is often used for testing military weapons, so it’s not open all the time. Before you add White Sands National Park to your road trip itinerary from Amarillo to Taos, check to make sure there are no tests scheduled for that day.
Pecos National Historical Park
At Pecos National Historical Park, you can learn about the fascinating history of the Pecos Valley and its surrounding environs. Explore the remnants of an old Pueblo settlement and Spanish mission, tour the site of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, and tour parts of the Forked Lightning Ranch. Hiking is popular here, but you may also want to try your hand at fly-fishing in the Pecos River. If you’re interested in taking a guided tour of various parts of the park, you can talk to the rangers at the park’s visitor center, which also contains exhibits, a gift shop, and a 12-minute introductory film.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
If you want to tour even more Puebloan ruins on your Amarillo to Taos RV road trip, you can do so at Chaco Culture National Historical Park. You can hike and bike through parts of Chaco Canyon that feature Pueblo ruins along with plenty of desert flora and fauna. It’s been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s excellent for stargazing. Guided tours and evening campfire talks are also available for those who want to learn more about this fascinating area that houses plenty of history.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is close to the start of your Amarillo to Taos road trip as it’s just 25 miles south of Amarillo. It features the second-largest canyon in the U.S., so it’s definitely worth visiting. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, stargazing, and photography are some of the most popular activities to pursue there.
Sumner Lake State Park
Sumner Lake State Park is southeast of the Santa Rosa area, making for another option that's not far from your route. Rather than the canyon ridges and valleys of many of the locations on this road trip from Amarillo to Taos, Sumner Lake State Park is all about wide-open spaces and opportunities for relaxation. Since the park centers around this sizable reservoir, aquatic activities like boating, swimming, and fishing are popular. You won’t have to worry about finding a great place to stay, either, since the state park itself is home to an RV-friendly campground with water and electrical hookups as well as a dump station.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park
Santa Rosa Lake State Park is another state park that centers around a lovely lake. This one is, of course, close to Santa Rosa, so there are plenty of places to eat and sleep nearby. Favored activities to partake in include boating, fishing, and swimming.
Villanueva State Park
The Pecos River runs through Villanueva State Park, so you can enjoy various river-centered activities like fishing, swimming, and canoeing. There’s plenty to do on land, though, since the park hosts multiple trails that take you through the desolate yet lovely scenery of Villanueva State Park. It's also located almost right along the route, so you won’t have to go far to visit.
Hyde Memorial State Park
Hyde Memorial State Park is outside of Santa Fe and not too far from Pecos National Historical Park. The hiking trails are popular here since they explore parts of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Deer, coyotes, foxes, and other animals typical to this area abound near the variety of nature trails that crisscross the park. Since Santa Fe is so close, you’ll easily be able to explore that city once you’re finished hiking at Hyde Memorial State Park.
Palo Duro Canyon Zipline Adventure Park
If you want to spend some more time exploring Palo Duro Canyon, you're not likely to find a better way of doing so than visiting Palo Duro Canyon Zipline Adventure Park. You’ll tour part of the canyon with a Jeep and then ride zip lines 800 feet above the canyon floor. They also offer bouldering and rappelling adventures.
Billy the Kid Museum
Those who desire to learn more about one of the most famous outlaws of the Wild West should visit the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner. This museum is home to over 60,000 relics relating not only to The Kid himself but also to the Wild West in general.
Santa Rosa Blue Hole
Whether you’re a seasoned diver wanting to explore yet another blue hole or a tourist who simply wants to see such a fascinating phenomenon, the Santa Rosa Blue Hole will be a feast for your senses. Visibility at this blue hole reaches 100 feet deep, so it attracts divers, swimmers, and the generally curious.
Cliff’s Amusement Park
Exploring nature is great, but every road trip from Amarillo to Taos should also make time for the thrill of visiting Cliff’s Amusement Park in Albuquerque. Rides like the New Mexico Rattler, Fireball, and Rocky Mountain Rapids are capable of delighting the young and the young at heart alike.
Meow Wolf bills itself as a “unique art experience,” and that's an apt description for this Santa Fe art collective that hosts a variety of installations and displays. The House of Eternal Return is a brilliantly colored psychedelic experience that must be seen to be believed.
Bushland, TX, is close enough to Amarillo that you can take advantage of Amarillo’s RV campgrounds. It's also close to Cadillac Ranch, which is a popular attraction featuring vintage Cadillacs half-buried in sand and artistically painted.
Tucumcari, NM, is located close to Tucumcari Lake along Interstate 40. You can also visit the Tucumcari Historical Museum, Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, and Natural Sciences Laboratory and Tucumcari Railroad Museum.
Talpa is close to Taos, so it’s near the end of your Amarillo to Taos road trip. Local attractions include Rio Chiquito, Talpa Gardens, and Talpa Reservoir.