Quebradas Backcountry Scenic Byway
This 24-mile dirt road cuts across several deep arroyos, or natural drainage channels—these are the quebradas (“breaks”) in the earth that give the area its name. The rounded hills here are striped with rainbow hues, and the scrub desert teems with hawks, mule deer, and foxes.
The route makes a good slow way back to Albuquerque if you’ve come down early in the morning to see the birds (though you could just as easily drive down this way and hit the bosque near sunset).
The drive takes between two and three hours, but bear in mind that this is remote wilderness—be sure you have extra food and water, as well as a spare tire. Don’t attempt it if it has rained very recently, as the mud can be impossible to pass, and look out for sandy patches at all times.
From the intersection of the bosque road (Highway 1) in San Antonio, in front of the Owl Café, head east on U.S. 380 for 11 miles; then turn north on County Road A-129, the beginning of the byway.
Coming from Albuquerque is a little trickier: Leave I-25 at Escondida (Exit 152, south of Lemitar) and then go north on the east frontage road; turn east after you pass Escondida Lake, cross the river, and continue for about two miles to Pueblito, where you turn right at a T intersection. After about a mile, you will see a sign for the byway beginning on your left (east).
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition