The Beauty Surrounding Abiquiu, New Mexico

A double rainbow over the Rio Chama as it runs through Abiquiu, NM MJsKitchen


For Memorial Day weekend (which was also our 40th wedding anniversary), Bobby and I took some extra time off and spent several days enjoying and exploring the area of northern New Mexico surrounding Abiquiu.  Abiquiu, New Mexico, is a little village less than an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe.  The village has less than 3,000 people and is positioned in one of the most enchanting areas of New Mexico.  All around Abiquiu you have breathtaking views, hiking trails, horse riding trails, boating, and hundreds of places to just sit, meditate, pray, whatever your preference, and take in the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings.

Below is a view of the Cerro Pedernal, the 9,862 ft (3006 meters) landmark of the area.  No matter where you drive in the area, you have a view of the Cerro Pedernal.  It is a popular site for hiking, rock climbing, and photography.  It also has a very interesting Stratigraphy and Geologic History if you are interested.  Just click on the link.

View of the Cerro Pedernal from Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico @MJsKitchen


Ghost Ranch

If you are familiar with the artist Georgia O’Keefe, then you may also be familiar with Ghost Ranch.  At one time it was home and inspiration for Georgia O’Keefe and many other artists.  Today Ghost Ranch is an “interfaith education and retreat center of the Presbyterian Church (USA)” with a mission “to enrich lives”.  Ghost Ranch – with its picturesque views – is the perfect place for a retreat.  I’ve provided the link for you to learn more about it if you are interested and below are some of those views that have inspired painters and photographers for years.  (The previous picture was taken from Ghost Ranch as well.)

Log Cabin at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico Cerro Pedernal in background.

A log cabin as you turn on the road to Ghost Ranch (Cerro Pedernal to the right of the cabin)


A view from Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. @MJsKitchen

One of the many red rock mesas of the area


The patio of Ghost House at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. @MJsKitchen

Taken from the portal of the Ghost House


A courtyard at Ghost Ranch, northern New Mexico. @MJsKitchen

A courtyard in one of the Ghost Ranch buildings


View of the pinnacle at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico

View of the pinnacle at Ghost Ranch


Abiquiu Reservoir

The Abiquiu reservoir,  just west of Abiquiu, New Mexico, and east of Ghost Ranch, is formed by a dam on the Rio Chama.  Abiquiu Lake (reservoir) is one of the largest lakes in New Mexico.  The lake and its surrounding area is used for boating, camping, picnicking, fishing, and hiking.  At sunset it’s quite striking!

View of the red rock cliffs around Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico

The red rock mesas of Ghost Ranch as seen from Abiquiu Reservoir


Abiquiu Reservoir in northern New Mexico

Abiquiu Lake


Approaching sunset at Abiquiu Lake in northern New Mexico

Approaching Sunset @Abiquiu Lake


The Rio Chama Below the Dam

The Rio Chama is a very popular fly fishing river and, when the dam releases enough water into the river, it makes for good water rafting.  During our visit the river was relatively high and quite murky; thus not good for fishing.  The day before we left Abiquiu, the flow of water from the dam into the river caused it to drop about 1 ½ feet overnight.  One more day and Bobby would have been pulling out his fly fishing gear.

Below are a couple of pictures of the Rio Chama just south of the dam – one we took on this trip and the other we took a couple of years ago in the fall when the cottonwoods were turning.


The Chama River in northern New Mexico @MJsKitchen


Cottonwoods turning on the Rio Chama, northern New Mexico


Back at the House on the Rio Chama

To make our stay as relaxing as possible, we decided to rent a vacation rental on the Rio Chama just east of Abiquiu.  It was a wonderful house with all of the comforts of home.  When it wasn’t raining, we spent a lot of time reading and relaxing, watching clouds move in and out.  Three of the days we were there, the storms built up in the afternoon and provided the area with some desperately needed rain.

Rent a vacation home in Abiquiu, NM and enjoyed the beautiful views and peaceful retreat. @MJsKitchen

During the rain storms, we just moved into the screened porch.  Here we could watch the rain and the hummingbirds as they fed before and after the rains hit.  One of the first things I did upon arrival was fill up the hummingbird feeder.  It took about 2 seconds for the hummers to find it and less than 24 hours to drain it.  So everyday I was making another batch, but it was well worth it.  If you’ve ever spent time watching hummingbirds, you know what I mean.  Bobby captured this short event of the hummers feeding right before a storm hit.

The following picture was taken after the storm had moved through and a rainbow had formed to the east (the first picture). It was actually a double rainbow but the top rainbow is too faint to really see in the picture.


Black-chinned hummingbirds feeding

We woke up the morning of our anniversary to clear skies and a crescent moon rising, followed by Venus.

Dawn with the moon and Venus rising over the Rio Chama - New Mexico

Sunrise – The moon and Venus rising


This family of Canadian geese came by as we were packing up to leave.  It was like they were coming to wish us a fond farewell. 🙂


A family of Canadian geese on the Rio Chama @MJsKitchen

A family of Canadian Geese


As you have probably noticed from many of these pictures, New Mexico has some BIG skies and long vistas.  I once worked with a woman that only lasted living here for about 6 months.  She suffered from Agoraphobia and thus could not handle the vast openness and wide open spaces. The size of the sky was quite overwhelming to her and caused her a considerable amount of stress.

Even though the scenery and the vistas change as you drive through the state, the sky remains a constant.  No matter where you go in New Mexico, you’re going to experiences our huge skies which can provide some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see.  Unfortunately, because of the cloud cover on our trip, we didn’t get a lot of the golds and reds that can occur, but we still experienced some beautiful sunsets on our visits the reservoir’s viewpoints.  You saw “approaching sunset” previously.  Now I’ll leave you with a Sunset at Abiquiu Reservoir.

A sunset view of Abiquiu Reservoir in northern New Mexico


I hope you enjoyed the beauty of the Land of Enchantment in the Abiquiu area.


67 Responses to “The Beauty Surrounding Abiquiu, New Mexico”

  1. alice August 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    We will go to beautiful santa fe in a few weeks and I am hoping not too late for green chilis, bought 50lbs. last visit. so much to see and do. Lucky people who live there.

    • mj August 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks so much for the comment Alice! You should be able to get chile until around the end of October. In October, we start seeing fresh red chiles showing up, so if you see those, be sure to pick some up and roast them as well. It’s a different tasting experience and just as good as the green chiles. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Charles Smith June 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    What stunning scenery MJ – I really like that about the US… it can be so varied in scenery… desert, forest, rocky, mountainous. Us “smaller” countries don’t have anywhere near as much variation so we have to put up with largely never-ending pine-forest, which is beautiful in itself, but it must be amazing to see something like what you’ve posted… it looks so… remote and quiet. How do you pronounce the name by the way?

    • mj June 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Thanks Charles! Yes, the US is pretty amazing for the ever changing scenery and many times, the scenery changes within the same state. I find southern New Mexico different from northern New Mexico. Hopefully, I’ll have some pictures of that area soon. Abiquiu is pronounced “AB-e-que”.

  3. I love this pictures, full of emotions and now I want to go there.

    • mj June 13, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      I do hope you get to visit it some day. It’s such a lovely part of New Mexico. Thanks!

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook June 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    What a beaaaaaautiful place!!! And Happy 40th Anniversary too! What a great way and place to celebrate big milestone! I studied geology and geography a lot and this place makes me very excited. Hope we can take the kids to NM one day – so much wilderness to see!

    • mj June 10, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks so much Nami! I bet you’ll find the geology of the area quite interesting. I did. 🙂 Hope you and your family can get out here some day.

  5. Debra June 8, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    Happy very belated anniversary, M.J. Like Kelly, I shared this post with The Hubs. We were just talking last night about planning a fall trip to NM and I had looked into a vacation rental once around the lake. Would you mind sharing the rental contact information with me via email?

    • mj June 8, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Thanks so much Debra! A fall trip to the Abiquiu area would be beautiful! The bosque of the Rio Chama is filled with cottonwoods and changing cottonwoods are a site to see. I’ll send you the information on the vacation rental. I highly recommend it! It’s different than the one’s on the lake because it’s alone the river so the huge views are there, but the river, the birds, the animals, and the bosque make up for them.

  6. Karen (Back Road Journal) June 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I looks and sounds like you had a wonderful anniversary…congratulations and you have my wishes for many more.

    • mj June 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks so much Karen!

  7. Sanjeeta kk June 7, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Awee…I am loving the rustic kind of travellng…perfect place to send a thinking..

    • mj June 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Sanjeeta! Yes, NM is a perfect place to spend a lifetime! 🙂

  8. Nads June 6, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    I love these photos. I’ve looked at them several times without commenting, so I thought I’d better do so before you move on. The scenery is stunning. No wonder ya’ll had such a good time. I hope Bobby got in at least a little fishing. Looks like a perfect retreat.

    • mj June 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks so much Nads! With all of the thunderstorms in the area, the skies every day were amazing. Unfortunately, no – Bobby didn’t get any fishing in, but we’re planning on going back in the fall when the fishing will be better.

  9. Ramona June 6, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    Happy (belated) Anniversary!! Congratulations on 40 years… and here’s to wishing you many, many more. 🙂 I adored all these photos. It was wonderful to travel through the lens of your camera. 🙂

    • mj June 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

      Thanks for the comments and good wishes Ramona!

  10. Annette June 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    I love Abiquiu! We took our kids there 2 years ago for spring break. It’s a beautiful, quiet place. Ghost ranch was one of their favorite places we visited. They especially liked holding the T. Rex tooth. 🙂
    40 years, way to go! Your pics are wonderful and brought back memories.

    • mj June 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks so much Annette! We weren’t able to get into the museum while we were there. There were to school buses of kids, to the museum was pretty crowded. Gives us a good excuse to go back. 🙂

  11. Helene D'Souza June 5, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    I NEED a hummingbird feeder!! =DDD
    My aim will be to find one as soon as possible, the birds will love it. MJ your country is vast and so full of little surprises that would excite us. Renting a place must be such an amazing experience. Home much is it per day?
    I was about to ask you if you used a special lens for the big skies. lol Do you see many stars in the night? It must be beautiful.

    • mj June 5, 2014 at 7:16 am #

      Thanks so much Helene! Hummingbird feeders are SO much fun! I have 4 of them around my house. I love the one in my office window, but it can be distracting. 🙂 The house we rented was about $180 a day. It was 2 bedroom, 2 bath (BIG baths!), fully equipped kitchen (making cooking easy), large living room, dining room and a screened porch that went across almost the entire length of the house. Considering hotels cost $140 here, it was a steal! 🙂 My special lens? I got lazy on this trip and used my iphone!!! The only pictures for which I used my Canon with a 15 mm lens were the two sunset shots at Abiquiu Lake. Bobby even used my iphone to do the panorama of the rainbow. Believe me, I was shocked myself with the quality of the pictures. One night we were able to see LOTS of stars because the moon wasn’t up, but most of the nights were too cloudy. Bobby wanted to do a time lapse but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate.

  12. Raymund June 4, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    Looks like a nice and quiet place, love that last photo.

    • mj June 5, 2014 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks Raymund! It was a gorgeous sunset!

  13. Nancy@SpicieFoodie June 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    A huge congratulations to you Mj and Bobby! Forty years of marriage is an amazing achievement in this (sad) modern age.

    All of your photos are gorgeous — and the video is fun! One day I hope to visit New Mexico. It truly looks like a magical land. Thanks for sharing, MJ!:)

    • mj June 5, 2014 at 7:08 am #

      Thanks so much Nancy! Believe me I know! People find it hard to believe that we’ve been married 40 years because no one stays together that long anymore. I hope you and your husband get to celebrate your 40th many, many years from now. 🙂 New Mexico is a magical land in so many ways. I’m so glad I’ve been able to spend the majority of my life here.

  14. Terra June 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Happy 40th Anniversary! What a beautiful way to celebrate such a wonderful day together! There are days I miss the Southwest and all the beauty it holds! Cheers to many more years, Hugs, Terra

    • mj June 5, 2014 at 7:06 am #

      Thanks so much Terra! Every time I leave NM for just a few days, I miss it. 🙂 I hope Bobby and I do have many more years here. 🙂

  15. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Loved this post MJ… First of all, congratulations on your 40-year wedding anniversary – that truly is remarkable (and how nice of the Canadian geese to come celebrate with you 😉 ). I cannot think of a more beautiful and inspired destination… I mapped out all of the places you went to so I could better understand your journey (and feel like I was sharing it with you!). I had occasion to travel to the French countryside at one point where the impressionists drew their inspiration. And although the settings are very different, the beauty surrounding Ghost Ranch reminds me very much of that idyllic artists backyard. So interesting how you describe the inescapable, open sky. For some, oppressively so. I appreciate the detail in this post and links you passed along as well — we are so much closer to New Mexico than we once were and I truly cannot wait to discover its various gems. I shared your post with my husband who remarked upon your gorgeous photography and then couldn’t resist mentioning that he thought he spotted an RV in the far distance with white smoke coming out the top — lol (just a mild fixation on “breaking bad” which is set in Albuquerque 😉 ).

    Loved the clip of the hummingbirds and the sound of the approaching storm… moody. And how about that crescent moon rising on the day of your anniversary. You could not have scripted it more beautifully ♡.

    • mj June 5, 2014 at 7:03 am #

      Thanks so much Kelly! You do exactly what I do when I read a travel post – pull out the map (or Goggle earth)! It does make the reading experience more fun. I hope, that now you are so close to NM, that you and your family can experience the real thing. Northern New Mexico especially is such a diverse and beautiful country. One moment you’re in the desert with looming red rock mesas and a few miles up the road you’re driving through large pine forests. From where we were you could also see the snowcapped mountains to the east, but they were too far away to capture with my iphone. Bobby got a couple of shots with his long lens, but hasn’t processed them yet. I started laughing at your reply the moment I read “spotted an RV…”. I knew exactly where that was going. 🙂 I tell you what – our actual anniversary day couldn’t have been more scripted! Not only did we start with the moon shot, but that was also the day of the stormy weather with the hummingbird frenzies, followed by the double rainbow. What a day! What a vacation! Thanks!

  16. Donalyn@TheCreeksideCook June 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    A lovely post MJ! I absolutely love where we live, and would never want to leave on a permanent basis, but I do so enjoy the desert when we get out west. The beauty is so different from what we are used to that I just want to drink it in. Looking forward to another trip soon! thanks so much for sharing all of these gorgeous photos 🙂

    • mj June 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks Donalyn! I feel the same way about New Mexico – I could never leave it, but I do like to visit green, somewhat humid environments at time. We particular love the ocean, but getting to a coastline is quite a drive from here. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoying the pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Asmita June 3, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    Happy Anniversary! Wow! Such gorgeous clicks. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • mj June 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks so much Asmita!

  18. Katerina June 3, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    Thank you for this virtual trip to a place I may never have the chance to see from a close distance!

    • mj June 3, 2014 at 2:43 am #

      Your are most welcome Katerina! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  19. Sissi June 2, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Happy anniversary, MJ! The trip must have been fantastic. The landscapes are breathtaking… I enjoy living in the city centre and usually choose cities for holidays but when I see such beautiful natural views, I feel like taking a plane and going for a calm weekend without crowds.

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! It was a fantastic trip! We rarely vacation in cities because we want leave the city when we’re on vacation. Most of our vacations over the years have been in the wilderness or some isolated place. We love it! However, sometimes we’ll had to New Orleans or San Francisco for the food. 🙂

  20. Hotly Spiced June 2, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Happy anniversary. I’m glad you had a lovely holiday to celebrate. The scenery is gorgeous and I don’t think I’d have any problem living in a part of the world with such lovely, vast and wide open spaces. The image of the moon with venus rising is just gorgeous – stunning colours xx

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks so much Charlie! We don’t have a problem living here either. 🙂 It’s a gorgeous state and properly named as the Land of Enchantment. I told the moon picture with my iPhone because that’s what I had by the bed when I woke up and saw it. Wish I had had a longer lens.

  21. Leaetta Wacker June 2, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    Thanks you for sharing your Anniversary with me. i am sharing it with my husband. He was just talking about moving to New Mexico.

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

      Thanks Leaetta! I’m glad the pictures got you excited about this beautiful state. My husband and I moved here 38 years old and after 1 month we knew we wouldn’t ever be able to leave. If you love the out-of-doors, big skies and beauty, it’s a great place to live. Oh yea – and let’s not forget the chile. 🙂

  22. Liz June 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Such gorgeous country!!! Happy anniversary…we’re about a decade behind you:)

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Thanks so much Liz! Every 10 years is a huge milestone in my book. Congratulations on your 30th!

  23. Zsuzsa June 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Congratulations on your anniversary Peach Lady!
    Looks like you had a nice getaway. Lovely pictures.

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks so much Zsuzsa!

  24. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz June 1, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Happy 40th anniversary to you both and wow what a little getaway! Everything is so gorgeous and nothing like the scenery where I live. Amazing clicks MJ.

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

      Thanks so much Evelyn! New Mexico is a pretty unique place. Very few places any where close to the landscapes we have here.

  25. Gloria June 1, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    Congratulations!! on your 40 th anniversary.. What a lovely day it must have been…. All the pics are lovely.. Loved the rainbow pic..

    • mj June 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks Gloria! It was a lovely day and long weekend!

  26. Choc Chip Uru June 1, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    What a picturesque location 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  27. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 31, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Happy Anniversary!

    I’m gobsmacked by the beauty in every one of these photos. I’ve never been to New Mexico and now I can’t wait.

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      Thanks so much Maureen! WOW – I have heard the term “gobsmacked” in years! I love that word! 🙂 I hope you do get to come to New Mexico some time. It’s a beautiful place.

  28. Zena Thomas May 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Love your photos. I too enjoy living inNM. We moved here 5 years ago and I have never regretted it. It has however been a trial to adjust to cooking in the higher altitude and that is one of the many reason I love your blog.

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      Thanks so much Zena! New Mexico gets into your blood rather quickly doesn’t it? 🙂 If you are a baker, then yes, the altitude definitely is a challenge at times. Have your tried a souffle yet? They get big! Ha Ha

  29. Carol at Wild Goose Tea May 30, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Happy Happy Anniversary. Last month was my 40th wedding anniversary too. Alas my husband passed away 3 months after our 25th wedding anniversary. But I celebrated that milestone time anyway with my family. Its still our anniversary and it was the start of our wonderful family. My soul longs—truly longs to go to New Mexico.
    Your pictures are wonderful and illustrate why I desired so strongly to visit.

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      Carol, you are so sweet!! Thank you! I’m sorry to read that your husband passed away so early in your marriage. The fact that you still celebrate you anniversaries shows how much love you had for him. (((((((((((HUGS))))))))))) I hope some day you do get to come to New Mexico. It’s a beautiful place and properly named. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  30. Angie (@angiesrecipess) May 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Those photos are so breathtakingly beautiful, MJ.
    Happy 40th anniversary to you and your hubby!

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:51 am #

      Thank you so much Angie!

  31. Jodee Weiland May 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Looks like a beautiful and relaxing place to visit! I hope you enjoyed every minute…looks like you did. Happy 40th anniversary to you and your husband…what a wonderful way to celebrate!

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:51 am #

      Thank you Jodee! It was a wonderful way to celebrate! At all age, it’s the only way we can celebrate. 🙂

  32. Keri Olsen Prater May 30, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Breathe taking pictures. Thank you for sharing in your lovely adventure.

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Thank you Keri!

  33. John@Kitchen Riffs May 30, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Happy 40th! Big deal, that. And what a lovely place to visit to celebrate! I’ve never been there, but have always wanted to go — mainly because of the Georgia O’Keefe connection. New Mexico is such a great state — love its scenery. Definitely need to visit — thanks for the inspiration.

    • mj May 31, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks so much John! Yes, 40 is a big deal, but it was actually an easy 40. 🙂 I think you would love the Aibiquiu area. It’s not a foodie’s paradise at all, but for any who loves nature and the arts, it’s a great place to hang out. Hope you and Mrs. KR make it there some time.


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