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Los Alamos - New Mexico

Los Alamos Highlights

Los Alamos National Labs
Bandelier National Monument
Ray Bradbury Science Museum
Los Alamos Historical Museum
Explore Vallee Grande & the Jemez Mountains

For a full appreciation of the wilderness and other attractions in this rather unknown part of northern New Mexico, be sure to explore the many beautiful natural areas around this town. If you had driven through this area in the 1940s and 1950s, you would not have been allowed to enter Los Alamos. The town was a closed area, created in 1942 as the nuclear laboratory that produced the atomic bombs that helped to end World War II, and housing for the lab staff.

The scientific facilities are still in Los Alamos but the town has been opened to the public and it serves as a center for tourists who wish to explore the historic sites and the wilderness opportunities in this remote area -- 90 miles north of Albuquerque and 35 miles from Santa Fe. The famous laboratory is once more on the map with recent questions being asked about national security issues.

The most notable geological feature is Vallee Grande, an enormous caldera (collapsed volcano) situated 35 miles west of town. The Anasazi people who inhabited the region in prehistoric days carved their dwellings out of the volcanic cliffs. Bandelier National Monument -- a few minutes' drive from Los Alamos -- is an excellent example of Anasazi cliff dwelling and pueblo architecture.

Bandelier National Monument

The park is 13 miles south of Los Alamos on N.M. Route 4. In addition to miles of hiking trails, this large protected area includes a campground and a picnic area beside Frijoles Creek. The major attraction here is the ruin of a prehistoric Anasazi community in Frijoles Canyon, but the park also has many hiking opportunities, and fine camping in the New Mexico wilderness.

In town, the Ray Bradbury Museum is a showcase for the history of nuclear development, including a collection of the original bomb casings as well as other atomic exhibits. Modern technology is not neglected, and the museum has interactive computer displays and exhibits of lasers and fiber optics. Films are shown on a regular basis. For information, call 505-667-4444.

The Los Alamos Historic Museum (1050 Bathtub Row) has exhibits relating to the evolution of the area&emdash;human, geological, and scientific. Admission is free. The complex includes the Fuller Lodge Art Center, an old log building with a regional art and crafts display. Many of the items here are for sale; call 505-662-6272.

A Day-Trip from Los Alamos

Vallee Grande and the Jemez Mountains are to the southwest of Los Alamos, providing the basis for a scenic day trip. The sunken valley -- a caldera -- is 35 miles from town, about 15 miles in diameter, and 500 feet deep. The highway leads along the rim. A little farther west is the Jemez Falls Recreation Area, with camping and trails. Highway 4 continues to Jemez Springs, a small resort town, 40 miles from Los Alamos. It is noted for its two popular hot spring pools. You'll also find the Jemez National Monument, an Indian ruin with visitor center.

New Mexico Destinations

Alamogordo

Albuquerque

Aztec

Bandelier National Monument

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Chama

Cloudcroft

Las Cruces

Los Alamos

Mesilla

Ruidoso

Santa Fe

Silver City

Taos


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