Road Trip Planning

Create a New Mexico State #518 PDF

Kms Miles
Reverse Guide Direction

New Mexico State #518 Highway Guide

Miles Kms Item Summary
0.0
0.0
Start of New Mexico 518
To the east is I-25. To the south on 7th St are Old Las Vegas Plaza, The Old Rail Road District, New Mexico State University - Highlands, and NM 104. To the west is the United World College. Las Vegas New Mexico -'Where the Great Plains Meet the Mighty Rockies'- was first settled about 1835 and by 1880 was the largest community in New Mexico. It was the first taste of civilization that teamsters and mountain men came to after 700 miles of Santa Fe Trail and it grew into a major center of commerce. Most of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders were from this area and they held their first reunion with TR at the Castenada Hotel less than one mile from here.
0.5
0.8
Santa Fe National Forest, Las Vegas Ranger Station
Santa Fe National Forest comprises 1.6 million acres that ranges in altitude from 5,300' to over 13,100'
0.9
1.4
Gas, Groceries, Fast Food, Drugstore, ATM

2.5
4.0
Animal Hospital
Las Vegas San Miguel Animal Hospital 505 425 3538
3.3
5.3
Phillips 66 Gas Station
Fishing and Hunting Licenses
3.7
6.0
Storrie Lake State Park
A great little spot for RV or primitive camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, or swimming. Storrie Lake State Park Campground: Developed Sites (45) Electric Sites (21) RV Dump Station, Restrooms, showers, trails.
9.5
15.3
NM Historic Marker- Hermits Peak
This is a great place to get out of the car for a minute. To the east lies the Great Plains. If you look closely you can still see the trail ruts from the Santa Fe Trail. To the west lies Hermits Peak - so named for the Hermit who lived in a cave there in the mid 1800's and carved religious items in order to eke out a living.
11.8
19.0
Sapello River, New Mexico

12.1
19.5
Town of Sapello, and Junction of NM 94. Gas
Take NM 94 west to Morphy Lake State Park. Sapello was setled prior to 1874, and possibly as early as the late 1830's. Morphy Lake State ParkCampground. Facilities: (20) Developed sites, Restrooms
15.3
24.6
Historic Marker-Strike Valley
The Valley that you are about to drive through is known geologically as a 'Strike Valley'. It was caused when soft sandstone lieing between 2 ridges of harder shale was eroded away.
16.8
27.0
Mora-San Miguel County Line

21.2
34.1
Junction NM 161
Turn east here to go to Watrous, New Mexico and Fort Union National Monument. In the mid to late 1800's Fort Union was the largest military post in the Southwest. Its stables could hold over 1,000 horses. All of the wheat mills in this area were built to supply the Fort (and the rest of the military in the Southwest) rather than having to freight the flour over the Santa Fe Trail.This highway is also called Fort Union Road.
23.8
38.3
Mora River, New Mexico
Where the Mora and Sapello rivers converge was called 'La Junta'. This was a major stopover on the Santa Fe Trail. The area was settled in 1849 and its name was changed to Watrous after the railroad came through.
23.9
38.5
Junction NM 442 & Historic Marker - La Cueva National Historic District
La Cueva was founded to provide forage and grain for Fort Union. The mill generated electricity until 1949. A visit to Salman Raspberry Ranch is annual autumnal pilgrimage for us. Stop by spring and summer to sample tamales in the cafe, see the wildflowers and old mill or in the fall to pick a pint of raspberries or two, or three...
24.9
40.1
Second Lieutenant Joseph E. Maxwell Died Near Here 1854
On June 30,1854, Lt. Maxwell was with a 60 man patrol along the Mora River when they encountered 10-15 Jicarilla Apaches. In the fast pursuit, Maxwell and 4 men reached the top of the rocky hill and were met with a hail of arrows. Maxwell was killed by 2 arrows just as he drew his sword. The Jicarillas escaped.
29.1
46.8
Junction NM 94 (Ledoux Highway)
Turn south here to go to Morphy Lake State Park. Facilities: (20) Developed sites, Restrooms
29.2
47.0
Junction NM 434, Mora, New Mexico
Turn right here to get to St. Vrains Mill, The Victory Alpaca Ranch, Coyote Creek State Park, and Angel Fire, New Mexico. The first Mexican land grant in this area was made in 1835. American troops flattened the town of Mora with artillery fire while putting down the Taos Revolt of 1847. During the summer and fall months, look for family fruit stands along this road to purchase apricots, plums and apples. If you're lucky, you'll find some chokecherry jelly.
29.3
47.2
Mora School
Ceran St. Vrain's grave can be viewed by driving down to the end of the road and gazing over a fence.
29.8
48.0
Hatcha's New Mexico Cafe
A wonderful place to experience red chile.
31.1
50.0
Historic Cleveland Roller Mill
This is still a fully operational mill and you may see it working during their annual Labor Day weekend festival. It is truly a wonder to see the ingenuity that was used to operate a myriad of machinery from one water wheel.
31.8
51.2
Cleveland, New Mexico Post Office

35.4
57.0
Holman, New Mexico Post Office

36.2
58.3
Junction NM 121 (Chacon Highway)

41.1
66.1
Carson National Forest Boundary
Carson National Forest's 1.5 million acres contains some of the finest mountain vistas in the Southwest. Altitudes range from 6,000 to 13,161 feet at Wheeler Peak, making it the highest peak in New Mexico.
41.5
66.8
Scenic Overlook
Overlooking the Mora Valley and the Great Plains.
41.7
67.1
Junction Forest Road 722
On March 30, 1854, a lone rider following this route made the 70 mile journey at top speed from Cantonment Burgwin to Fort Union. He brought news of the defeat of the US Army Dragoons at the hands of the Jicarilla Apaches. Immediately thereafter Col. Phillip St. George Cook came back up this route leading 200 men to attempt to vanquish the Jicarillas.
42.0
67.6
Scenic Overlook

42.3
68.1
Scenic Overlook

43.3
69.7
Junction Forest Road 161

44.2
71.1
Mora-Taos, New Mexico County Line

47.3
76.1
Forest Trail #16 Agua Sarca Canyon

48.6
78.2
Forest Trail # 76 La Junta Canyon
Turn here to go to the Duran Canyon Campground. Facilities: 12 family units Toilets. Drinking Water Trailer mobility - under 22'
49.1
79.0
Tres Ritos Lodge and Cabins
This area was initially used as a camping ground by freighters on the old Las Vegas-Taos Trail. It then became a lumber and mining camp in the 1900's. It is now mainly a summer resort village.
50.1
80.6
Agua Piedra Campground and Trail Heads
Camping, RV's, Picnicking. Also trail head for trails #19 Agua Piedra Trail, #17 Cordova Trail, and #196 Indian Lake Trail. Agua Piedra Campground - Facilities: 44 family units Toilets. No Drinking Water Trailer mobility - under 36'
51.7
83.2
Forest Trail #7 Flechado Canyon
Picnic tables and restrooms are also located here.
52.2
84.0
Sipapu Ski Lodge and Disc Golf Course
Ski during the winter, fly fish in the spring, play disc golf in the summer, and horseback ride in the fall. What could be better? A great place for families; as a matter of fact, most school children in NM learn to ski here.
52.7
84.8
Forest Trail # 4 Gallegos Canyon

54.4
87.5
Forest Trail # 22 Comales Canyon

54.8
88.2
Comales Canyon Campground
This is 'the other' Comales campground. It has about 12 sites with picnic tables and rest rooms. The fly fishing in this area is superb and the river here has been labled as 'special trout waters'.
55.6
89.5
Forest Trail # 20 Osha Canyon

56.1
90.3
Institute for Buddhist Studies-Fa Yun Monastery

57.0
91.7
Junction NM 75
Bear right to stay on NM 518 to Taos. Bear left to follow NM 75 to Penasco and Picuris Pueblo. Picuris is probably the smallest (with only around 350 members) and most isolated of the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico. Prior to moving to this area around 1250, the Picuris and Taos Pueblo people lived together at Pot Creek. In 1696, the Picuris people moved to Kansas for a time to live with the Apaches rather than risk the wrath of the Spanish.
60.3
97.0
Winter Play Area
The National Forest Service maintains this area for winter fun for snow tubing, sledding, and snow-angel making. This one even has a restroom.
60.4
97.2
Junction Forest Roads 442 and 114
We come up here each December to cut down our Christmas tree! If you follow the Forest Road to the west you will eventually come to a visible portion of the old High Road to Taos, the northernmost extension of the original Camino Real that dates back to the 1600's.
60.6
97.5
Scenic Overlook
Overlooking the Taos Valley.
61.2
98.5
U.S. Hill
This area has been known as U.S.Hill since the US Army built this road in 1854. It was built to facilitate communication and travel between Fort Union on the Great Plains, Cantonment Burgwin in Taos, and Forts Massachusetts and Garland in Colorado.
64.8
104.3
Junction Forest Road 439

65.7
105.7
Junction Forest Road 438

65.8
105.9
Fort Burgwin-SMU in Taos
Cantonment Burgwin was manned from 1852 to 1860. It served the dual purpose of providing protection from hostile Indian raids and also against another uprising by the local Spanish population such as the one that occurred in 1847. The garrison of this outpost was severely chastised by the Jicarilla Apache at the Battle of Cieniguilla on March 30, 1854. In the greatest defeat that the American military suffered in that decade only 40 of 60 Dragoons survived the battle, of whom 38 were wounded. It is named after Captain John Henry K. Burgwin who was killed while attacking the church at Taos Pueblo during the Taos Revolt of 1847.
66.1
106.4
Pot Creek Cultural Site-Carson National Forest
Pot Creek Cultural Site is a great picnic area. It also has a one mile universal access loop trail with a reconstruction of ancestral Pueblo buildings.
67.1
108.0
Rest Area with Rest Rooms
Take a little break here and look for beaver dams and lodges.
69.0
111.0
Carson National Forest Boundary
The Carson National Forest offers recreational opportunities in any season. The magnificent mountain scenery and cool summer temperatures lure vacationers to enjoy the peace and quiet for camping, horseback riding, pack trips, lake or stream trout fishing, and elk, deer, or turkey hunting. Winter activities include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
69.3
111.5
Trail #18 Rancho de Rio Grande

70.6
113.6
The Village of Talpa
Ancestral Pueblo people have lived in this area since around the 1100's. The first European settlement was probably around 1735. Prior to the construction by the Army in the 1850's of the road now known as NM 518, the original Spanish 'High Road to Taos' came down Miranda Canyon to the south of here and then wound around to Ranchos de Taos and eventually Taos Pueblo.
71.8
115.5
Galleria EliasInez - Studio de Lydia
Lydia Garcia is Taos' own Santera. Historically, santeros created the religious art of Northern New Mexico. The tradition is rich and continues today. Although Lydia's work is internationally collected, she still remains an approachable, sincere woman of faith.
72.5
116.7
Junction NM 68
Turn North to go to Taos, New Mexico. Turn south and drive 1/4 mile to the Ranchos de Taos Plaza and the historic St. Francis de Assisi Church which was completed around 1815. This church is said to be the most photographed building in New Mexico. -e
72.5
116.7

For travel north via New Mexico highway # 522 see Milebymile.com Road Map Highway Travel Guide N.M. Highway # 522 Taos to New Mexico / Colorado State Line, for driving directions. -e

72.5
116.7
Start / Finish of Highway Travel Guide -e
For travel north via New Mexico highway # 150 see Milebymile.com Road Map Highway Travel Guide N.M. Highway # 150 - Taos Ski Valley Road to Taos Ski Valley, for driving directions.