Just about 2 miles west of Ghost Ranch, off NM 84 (going to the south) is Forest Road 151. It's 13 miles long, all dirt, quite curvy, and not quite 2 cars wide. So, it's a 30-45 minute one-way trip.
At the end is a Catholic Monastery featuring a terrific chapel by the artist George Nakashima. Even better is the setting -- you get the idea as you take the drive, but the end is truly fantastic -- the church (and associated monastery and guest quarters) are in the middle of a nowhere that truly inspires.
Note: don't try the drive in bad weather (several parts of the road clearly are over-washed by rain). Watch out for oncoming drivers -- they're quite rare, but you don't want to encounter an oncoming car when taking one of the 5-6 nearly-blind curves.
Ah, but the vistas (mostly for the passengers) -- they're great (at the beginning: wide meadows and Mt. Pedernal in the distance; toward the middle: interesting green hills, then white-and-yellow cliffs; at the end: towering, overwhelming red cliffs behind, a green valley in front, and another mountain on the far side).
There's not much to see at the monastery (we were sad to find the chapel closed to visitors because of maintenance), but Nakashima's church is perfectly suited to the locale.
The return trip goes by faster (in truth, I learned that I could do better than 20mph), but was still beautiful enough that we stopped several times to take pix.
A worthwhile trip, but requires 90-120 minutes, to/from NM84.\
(Apparently, there are guest facilities, with prior reservation; I'd certainly like to do that -- seeing the sun set, the stars, and then sunrise in such a setting would be terrific.)
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