Northwest of Española , along U.S. 84, the valley formed by the muddy Rio Chama is one of the most striking landscapes in northern New Mexico. Lush greenery on the river bottom clashes with bright-red mud; roaming sheep and cattle graze by the roadside. The striated hills represent dramatic geological shifts, from 200-million-year-old purple stone from the dinosaur era to red clay formed by forests, then gypsum from sand dunes, and then a layer of lava from only eight million years back.
More recently, Abiquiu has become inextricably linked with the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who made the valley her home for more than 40 years, entranced all the while by the glowing light and the dramatic skyline.
It’s also the birthplace of Padre Antonio Martinez, the controversial Taos  priest who clashed with Bishop Lamy in the mid-1880s.
Years before that, in the mid-1700s, the locals had a reputation for harboring witches, an idea that still hasn’t quite worn off—the vast Ghost Ranch  is better known as el rancho de los brujos, or “witch ranch.”
Although Abiquiu often refers to the whole river valley, the unofficial town center is Bode’s (505/685-4422, 6:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat., 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.), an old-fashioned general store (the name’s pronounced BO-deez) where you can get gas, sandwiches, and fishing licenses and tackle.
The actual village of Abiquiu, established in 1754 by genízaros (Hispanicized Indians) through a land grant from the Spanish Crown, is up the hill on the opposite side of the road. O’Keeffe’s house forms one side of the old plaza; on the other is the Santo Tomas de Abiquiu Church, built in the 1930s after the community opted for the legal status of village rather than pueblo.