Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Set on the plains behind the Manzano Mountains, the scenically decaying mud-brick buildings at Quarai, Gran Quivira, and Abó represent one of the Franciscans’ bigger challenges during the early years of the conquest. The national monument designation actually applies to three separate sites. Visiting them all will take a full day, and the route (Highway 337, beginning in Tijeras, just east of the city) also passes by the little town of Mountainair, as well as one of the area’s most beautiful fall hiking spots.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition