What To See In the Area

Chaco Cultural National Historic Park (Chaco Canyon)

No trip to the southwest would be complete without a visit to Chaco Canyon, which features one of the densest concentrations of pueblos in the American Southwest.  The Ancient Pueblo Peoples cut timber and stone and erected 15 structures to create the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.  Many of the buildings were built to capture the solar and lunar cycles, which would have required generations of astronomical observations.

Chaco Canyon Culture - Bowl, Wikipedia

Unfortunately, the road to reach the park is a bit rough, and we’ve had guests who have arrived with their RVs damaged, which is one of the reasons why we recommend staying in Farmington and making Chaco Canyon a day trip in your vehicle.

You can read more about the Chaco Canyon ruins here.

Bisti Wilderness (De-Na-Zin Wilderness)

Step into the Bisti Wilderness and you may feel like you’ve stepped onto the surface of another planet.  Features known as “hoodoos” created by wind, rain, ice and millions years of deposits (dating back to the time when a sea ran through New Mexico) make this a spectacle to behold.

Bisti Badlands

Fossils and petrified wood can also be found (and left) in this amazing wilderness.

You can find out more here.

Shiprock

Just west of Farmington is Shiprock, a Navajo Nation town and the site of an ancient volcano that rises 7,177 feet above sea level. It resembles an old 19th century Clipper ship. Located on the Navajo Nation, Shiprock plays a significant cultural and religious role to the Navajo people, as it is located in the center of the area inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo People, sometimes referred to as the Anasazi.

Shiprock is also referred to as “winged rock” or “rock with wings” referencing the legend of the great bird that brought the Navajo from the north to their present day lands.

Aztec Ruins National Monument

The Aztec Ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are on the Register of National Historic Places.  Built by Ancestral Puebloans, it’s a half-day trip worth experiencing.  It’s simply amazing to experience what the Puebloans were able to build given the tools they had at the time.

While you’re there, why not head on up the road and visit Navajo Dam.

You can read more about the ruins here.

Salmon Ruins

This ancient Chacoan and Pueblo site located near Bloomfield was built by migrants from the Chaco Canyon with 275 to 300 rooms spread across the three-story structure and featured a great kiva in the plaza.  It was believe to be abandoned by the Middle San Juan people sometime around 1280.

Salmon Ruins

For more information, click here.

B-Square Ranch

Built by former New Mexico governor, Tom Bolack, the B-Square ranch features the Bolack Museum of Fish and Wildlife, the Bolack Electromechanical Museum and the B-Square Rand and Experimental Farm.  Bolack was a big-game hunter and conservationist.

Click here to find out more.

Native American Trading Posts

Farmington is known for it’s trading posts, where you’ll find hand-crafted silver and turquoise jewelry, Navajo rugs, and sand paintings worth taking home.

Northern Edge Casino

Northern Edge features table games, slots and a poker room and is just minutes from Sundowner Park.  Try their Navajo Fry Bread with honey – it’s delicious.

SunRay Park & Casino

SunRay features slot machines and simulcast horse racing.

Pinon Hills Golf Course

Rated the number 1 municipal course in the nation by Golf Digest Magazine in 2002 and is consistency rated in the top municipal courses in the country, right up there with Torrey Pines in California.

Mountain Biking / Off-Road Motorcycling

The areas surrounding Farmington offer a number of opportunities to ride your mountain bike or motorcycle.

Rock Crawling

Farmington is well-known for it’s challenging rock crawling terrain where rock crawlers test their machines and their skill.

Wines of the San Juan

Wines of the San Juan is a winery located in the San Juan River Valley known for producing wine that’s winning international awards.  This winery makes for a great day trip where you can sample wines like “Girls are Meaner”, “Sweet Cherry Pie” and “Blackberry La Boca” or just swing beneath the cottonwood trees and cool you heels in their garden.

You can find out more here.

Rodeo & The New Mexico State Fair

Farmington has a long cowboy tradition and you might get an opportunity to catch the rodeo or the state fair.

Quality Waters

One of Field & Stream Magazine’s top fishing spots with up to 20,000 trout per mile.

Trimble Hot Springs

Bar-D Chuckwagon

The Bar-D Chuckwagon, located north of Durango, Colorado, is a great way to spend the evening as a couple, family or solo.  The dinner show features country western singers/comedians known as “wranglers” that will make you hope you’ve swallowed your lemonade by the time they start telling jokes or doing their routines.

They serve a delicious barbecue supper and you’ll end up sitting with some new friends under the stars if they weather is nice (and under the roll-top cover if there’s any rain).

They have a small train and play area for the kids as well as a very tasty ice cream and fudge shop.

Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Purgatory Ski Resort

Formerly known as Durango Mountain Resort, this ski resort has returned to it’s previous name.  The resort features green, blue and black diamond alpine skiing.  It’s not uncommon to be wearing a short-sleeved shirt in Farmington and to be on the slopes in a heavy jacket within a few hours.  Aside from skiing, if you stay with us in Autumn, you can catch the leaves changing colors.

"Aspens at Sunset, Purgatory"
“Aspens at Sunset, Purgatory” by John Fowler snowpeak – Aspens at SunsetUploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC

La Plata Mountains

The best known and highest mountain in the La Plata mountains is Hesperus, which is the Navajo sacred mountain of the north.  The La Plata mountains are a great place to go in the summer time for a picnic or for camping overnight in a tent.

The Kennebec Cafe / Restaurant at the foot of the La Plata mountains is excellent and highly-recommended.