New Mexico Highway Descriptions

The following New Mexico Highway Descriptions describes the condition of some of the NM highways. This is collected as people ride on it so some of it is dated and is added to as people think about it. There are additional comments about exits with water on remote stretches. Again, these can change without notice.


As stated in the Government Links, bicycle travel on interstates outside urban areas is allowed in NM.

New Mexico State Highway Transportation Department Construction Notices.

NM Roadway Descriptions
Roadway Leg Description
I-25 (S-N) Hillsboro - Socorro No frontage road most of the way. There is a campground/gas station at the Hillsboro exit. There's little water along the way except at towns between the Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte Lake exits then a long dry way to San Antonio.
Socorro - Bernardo Frontage road from Socorro north to about San Acacia.Then on the I-25 shoulder to NM60.
NM60 (Bernardo) - S. Albuquerque Take frontage road to Isleta then Albuquerque.
N. Albuquerque - exit 267 See the description for the Sandia Mountain Century. If possible take NM14 east of Albuquerque to Santa Fe, it is much more scenic.
Exit 267 - NM599 Stay on frontage road that crosses east to west side. NM599 is now complete with shoulders. This is the route to take bypassing Santa Fe going north/south.
NM599 - NM14, Cerrillos. Rd. - St. Francis Rd - US285 Santa Fe North several miles is lots of motels, restaurants, etc. Otherwise stay on the Interstate, no frontage Rd. The frontage road from about St. Francis to US285 is the Old Las Vegas Highway and is in terrible condition, no shoulders, chunks breaking off the edge and plenty of traffic. Use the interstate east to at least US285, moderate traffic.
US285 - Las Vegas Frontage road begins almost all the way to Las Vegas, NM. I-25 is rideable for the remainder.
Las Vegas - Raton & CO border No frontage road from north of Las Vegas to Raton. Shoulders, wide open to wind. Views of Hermit peak and Sangre de Cristo mountains and mountains east of Taos. Antelope. Raton is a sizeable city with services. Hard climb up Raton Pass. Rest areas but not with reliable water.
I-40 (W-E) Grants - Rio Puerco From Grants East there are frontage roads (NM124) to Laguna.
Rio Puerco - Albuquerque west side at Paseo Volcan Rio Puerco exit, Stuckeys. Frontage Road continues on north side of highway only. Rolling hills. At Paseo del Volcan (hill with radio towers) begins route through Albuquerque. Central Blvd intersects on the south side of I-40. Here begins several routes through or around Albuquerque. Eastbound cyclists have to exit I-40 at Paseo del Volcan, onto Central.
Albuquerque (Tramway Blvd) - 6 miles east of Moriarity MP 203 (?) At Tramway the frontage road old RT66, now NM333, is on the south side of I-40 until about 6 miles east of Moriarity. There are grocery stores at Tramway, Edgewood, and Moriarty and gas stations along the way.
Westbound cyclists on I-40 have to exit onto NM333 at Sedillo Hill.
Moriarity - Santa Rosa Mostly new pavement with shoulders, rumble strips. Rest areas at MP 208 and 252. Water at MP 267, Colonias, 243, Milagro; 234, 218.
NM12 Datil - Reserve Narrow 2-lane road, no shoulders. Almost no traffic
Reserve - Glenwood 2-lane road, no shoulders. Almost no traffic. Rolling hills, pretty.
Glenwood - US180 2-lane road, no shoulders. Almost no traffic. Rolling hills, pretty with the mountains on either side.
NM14 Santa Fe - Tijeras
Turquoise Trail
Santa Fe: Lone Butte, divided lane, shoulder, Moderate traffic.
Lone Butte - Cerrillos: Two lanes. light traffic very scenic. Reasonable surface.
Cerrillos - Madrid: New pavement (10/2004) Minimal shoulders. Light traffic, very scenic.
Madrid - San Antonito (Frost Rd): 2-lanes, no shoulder. fast light traffic. reasonable surface. Very scenic.
San Antonito - Tijeras: 4-lanes, narrow dirty shoulder with gutter pan, moderate traffic. Cyclists are common here. NM14 bike route.
NM41 Willard - Estancia 2-lanes light traffic.
Estancia - Moriarty 2-lanes, wide shoulders. Flat. Nice ride. Open with wide vistas.
Moriarty - US285 2-lanes, shoulders, rumble Strips. Stanley to US285 is part of the Santa fe Century route. Open with wide vistas.
NM42 Corona - Willard 2-lane highway, light traffic, some rolling hills. Some trees.
NM14 to Gallisteo
2-lane, light traffic, slight hills, no shoulders, new pavement (2009). Nice route.
NM54 Tularosa - Alamogordo 4-Lane Divided Highway with shoulders and moderate traffic, lots of semi's. See Cloudcroft Loop.
Alamogordo - Carrizozo 2-lane new highway with some shoulders. Moderate fast traffic. Fair number of semi's. Nothing in between, pretty desolate.
Carrizozo - Corona 2-lane, no shoulders. Desolate but a little more interesting terrain.
US60 Clovis - Cannon AFB Two lane with poor shoulder
Cannon AFB - Melrose Two Lane, reasonable shoulder with rumble strip. Flat, boring.
Melrose is the only water between Cannon AFB and Ft. Sumner.
Melrose - Ft. Sumner Two Lane, Reasonable shoulder with rumble strip. Flat, boring.
Willard - Mountainair Two lanes, new pavement (2007) shoulders mostly taken with rumble strips, just enough width for one cyclist right of rumble strip, nice surface, very light but fast traffic. Pretty flat.
Socorro - Datil Two lanes, some shoulder west of Socorro, very light traffic once out of Socorro. Really flat between Magdalena and Datil but no water. Some shoulders Magellan to Datil.
US64 Eagle Nest - Angel Fire New 2-lane pavement part way, some shoulders and rumble strips, of course. Remainder 2-lane, no shoulders. Light traffic.
Angel File - NM585 Two lanes, no shoulders mainly, narrow switchbacks on climb east of Palo Flechado Pass. Light to moderate traffic. Watch for RV's and trailers on switchbacks. Posted Single File west of Palo Flechado Pass. Some new pavement west of the pass to replace really bad stretches.
Tres Piedras - Tierra Amarilla Two lanes, very light traffic. Very scenic. See Chama Loop.
NM68 Taos - Embudo Two lanes, moderate to heavy traffic depending on time of day, very scenic. See Taos Dixon Loop.
US70 Tularosa - NM244 4-Lane divided highway, nice shoulders. Fast traffic. See Cloudcroft Loop.
US82 US54 - Cloudcroft Narrow 2-lane Rd. No shoulders. Steep. One 100 yard highway tunnel. Moderate traffic on weekends. Several passing lanes. Very scenic. Food at High Rolls. See Cloudcroft Loop.
NM84 Ft. Sumner - Santa Rosa Two lane, shoulder, rumble strip, new pavement. Rolling hills. No water on stretch.
NM124 Grants - Laguna 2-Lanes. I-40 frontage road. Very light traffic. Picturesque. Begins east of Grants on north of I-40, then south at McCarties, then north again to Laguna. Passes City of Gold casino at exit 102 with convienence store. See the Acoma Loop.
NM152 San Lorenzo - Hillsboro - I-25 Two lane highway, no shoulders, decent pavement light traffic. Very scenic over Emory Pass. No water between towns.
US180 (Silver City) - San Lorenzo Four lane divided highway with shoulders from San Lorenzo west. Hilly. Moderate traffic.
NM165 Placitas, Bernalillo 2-lanes, a lot of new pavement, shoulders most of the way, low traffic. About a 1,200' elevation gain from I-25 east to the end-of-pavement. Very scenic.
NM217 I-40 & NM333 - NM14 2 lanes, no shoulders, light to moderate traffic, traffic is fast, lots of hills. Popular cyclist route. A few obnoxious drivers.
US285 (N-S)


There is a shuttle between SF LA and Espanola that has bike racks.
Colorado Border - Tres Piedras US285 is a common North-South bicycling route through New Mexico and Colorado.
From Colorado south, the highway begins with good pavement and shoulders (rumble strips of course). Around Tres Piedras the shoulder narrows and disappears in places. The traffic is light to moderate but fast with just a few semi trucks. Wide open and scenic. Few places to get water. Tres Piedras is the first place south of the NM/CO border. Try the Tres Piedras Cafe.
Tres Piedras - Ojo Caliente More old pavement with sections without shoulders with light to moderate traffic. Rolling hills.
Ojo Caliente - Jct. US84/US285 New pavement in places, some shoulders. In many places the wide style rumble strips occupy the entire shoulder. Rolling hills, scenic. A little more traffic. Water available in Ojo Caliente.
Jct. US84/US285 - Espanola Heavy, fast traffic. Newly repaved (2005) with shoulders from US84/US285 south to Espanola. Follow US285 on the west side of Espanola and follow the Los Alamos signs, then the Santa Fe signs.
Espanola - NM502 (to Los Alamos) US285 from Espanola to Santa Fe has heavy, fast traffic, divided 4-lane highway. There are a lot of side traffic from businesses, casinos, and side roads. This is not a fun stretch but you can get there.
You can follow the highway from Espanola past the Santa Clara Pueblo to NM502 then east to Pojoaque to avoid some of US285. There is also a county road that parallels US285 that can be ridden too.
NM502 - Rio Tesuque Rebuilt spring 2005. Stay on the frontage road. Near Pojoaque there is frontage road on both sides. Further south use the 2-way frontage road on the west side. Use it. There is a shoulder but the frontage road is better. Heavy fast traffic.
Rio Tesuque - NM599 (Santa Fe bypass road) There are wide shoulders along this steep hill past the Santa Fe opera but no frontage roads. Watch for debris. Heavy traffic. Use the Tesuque Village and Tano Rd. and Ridge Top Road bypass that avoids the section by the Opera House. See the Santa Fe Bypass for details.
Santa Fe Santa Fe is not very bicycle friendly, with narrow roads, heavy traffic, winding roads.
Clines Corner US285 from Clines Corner to Carlsbad is divided 4-lanes for most of the way. There is light traffic for the most part. There are shoulders for long stretches but there are rumble strips that take the entire shoulder for long sections. There is a section around Encino, I think like this. Like most NM highways are are l-o-n-g stretches with no facilities in between.
Roswell There is a US285 bypass around Roswell that avoids the city but also avoids all facilities. There's aren't any gas stations or stores along the bypass.
Carlsbad Carlsbad has places to stay, camp, and stores. Of course there is the wonderful Carlsbad Caverns (no camping) and the Living Desert State Park.
South of Carlsbad US285 becomes 2-lane. The surrounding countryside is pretty desolate.
TX Border It's pretty ugly all the way to Pecos, TX.
NM313 Bernalillo - Roy (Albuquerque) Moderate - Heavy fast traffic at times. Newly repaved (5/2005) with 5-6 ft shoulders. I-25 is the only other alternative.
Algodones - Bernalillo Mainly no shoulders, light but fast traffic. Very scenic.
NM333 (Old RT66) Albuquerque - Tijeras 2 & 4 lanes. Rough shoulder (lots of debris - not maintained) in places, moderate traffic, light on weekends. Very popular cyclist route. See Tijeras Trot. NM66 Bike Route.
Tijeras -Sedillo Hill 2-lanes, light traffic, shoulders most of the way.
Sedillo Hill - Edgewood 2-lanes. New pavement in places, some shoulders, some not. Watch for dirt and gravel from side roads. Light but faster traffic. Heavy traffic in Edgewood. Ride early.
Edgewood - Moriarty 2-lanes, mostly no shoulders. Moderate traffic in Edgewood. Drivers aren't overly obnoxious, just unaccustomed to cyclists. Watch for dirt and gravel from side roads. NM333 continues a few miles east of Moriarty then ends. I-25 is the only option then.
NM337 (Old South NM14) Tijeras - Mountainair Two Lanes. Shoulder from Tijeras to junction with NM217, no shoulder south of NM217. Light traffic overall, moderate sometimes obnoxious traffic south of Tijeras to about NM217. Almost no traffic south of NM217. A few rough stretches. See Tajique Tango.
NM344 NM14 (Golden) - Edgewood 2 - lanes, no shoulders. Moderate traffic in Edgewood. See the challanging Heartbreak Hill.Heartbreak Hill New pavement (2007) full shoulders for the climb and descent, but that's all. Pleasant riding through Cedar Grove and mountains.
Frost Rd to Edgewood: no shoulders. Moderate traffic close to Edgewood but rideable. Odd intersection at I-40.
South of I-40 - NM333: Lots of stores and shopping traffic but rideable on weekends, not fun.
NM522 Taos - Questa 2-lanes, no shoulders mainly. Some shoulders near Taos. Heavy traffic north of Taos until past about Arroyo Hondo. Some shoulders near Questa. Light - Moderate traffic north of Arroyo Hondo.
NM528 Rio Rancho - US550 Near Bernalillo 4-lane separated with wide shoulder. LOTS of debris on the shoulder so winds up riding in traffic lane. Lots of fast traffic.
Alameda Blvd., 4th St - the Rio Grande Wide bike lanes. Often lots of debris.
NM536 (Sandia Crest Rd) Sandia Park - Sandia Crest 2-lanes, fairly new (2006), nice pavement. Useable shoulders for the bottom half. No shoulders above Balsam Glade PG but very little, slow traffic.
US550 (old NM44) Bernalillo - Bloomfield - Aztec 4 lanes, new pavement (2000-1). Good shoulders, drunk-driver rumble strip. Gas stations at the intersection of US550 & NM4 and at the Zia pueblo turnoff. Between San Ysidro and Cuba and Bloomfield there are long desolate stretches with no water available. From the NM / CO state line north to Durango there is heavy fast traffic, 2-lanes, no shoulder.
NM599 Santa Fe Santa Fe Bypass Road, NM285 north of Santa Fe to the west along the Rio Grande to NM14 or I-25. 4-lane divided highway with shoulders and some frontage road. Not many services. Lots of debris in places. Carry spare tubes. See the Santa Fe Bypass for details.