New Mexico is a stunning part of the US, boasting sweeping landscapes, picturesque national parks and vibrant cities. But when’s the best time to visit New Mexico? Let’s find out.

I kinda (definitely) fell head over heels in love with New Mexico on my most recent trip to the Southwest. I visited in February and, while it was cold (an understatement), it practically felt I had the entire state to myself at times. 

There were no huge lines and I got to swan around like a local, instead of elbowing my way through tourist crowds.

To be totally honest, you can visit NM year round – but it’s essential to plan your visit to this enchanting state carefully to make the most out of your trip. Fortunately, this guide will walk you through it all.

When’s the Best Time to Visit New Mexico?: At A Glance

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The best time of year to visit New Mexico is in the late autumn or early spring (the latter being my personal favourite). Why? Both seasons feature warm weather and more reasonable accommodation rates than that of summer.

However, don’t let that put you off visiting at other times of year. New Mexico actually has lots to offer travellers year-round, from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in autumn to skiing and snowboarding in winter. 

The Best Time to Visit New Mexico

What is the Best Month to Travel to New Mexico?

Meow Wolf Santa Fe

As the state is quite big, you can expect varied weather conditions throughout New Mexico. The best month to visit New Mexico depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

If you love skiing, I recommend visiting New Mexico in February. If you love festivals and bustling cities, visit New Mexico in September. 

When’s High Season in New Mexico? 

Rafting in Taos, New Mexico, USA

The tourist peak season in New Mexico is around summer. If busy parks and jam-packed cities are your vibe, visit in June and September. 

It also gets busy in November and December as the festive season approaches. With this increase in people, accommodation rates are much higher than the rest of the year in New Mexico.

The Cheapest Time to Visit New Mexico 

Dale Ball Trails Santa Fe

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option of when to visit New Mexico, January has your back. It may be chilly – trust me – but seeing White Sands National Park covered in snow at a budget rate makes it all worthwhile.  

To See White Sands National Park 

White Sands National Park New Mexico

One of the highlights of visiting New Mexico is seeing the otherworldly landscapes of White Sands National Park

There are many fun things to do at White Sands, such as hiking and sledding – all of which you can do in a day – making it the perfect activity for a New Mexico day trip in October.

To Go Hot Air Ballooning

Hot Air Ballooning Albuquerque

One of the best things to do in Albuquerque is hot air ballooning. And visiting during the International Balloon Fiesta in October is an unforgettable experience. The skies light up with an abundance of colourful balloons everyday throughout the festival.

But don’t panic if you can’t make it in October – I went on this Rio Grande Valley balloon ride in February, and I highly recommend it as it includes gorgeous views over the Rio Grande and Bosque Forest.  

To See Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument Albuquerque

The best time to visit the Petroglyph National Monument is in autumn, as you can enjoy some of the top hiking trails in Albuquerque in milder weather. 

My favourite hike was the 2-2 mile-looped Rinconada Canyon Trail, which is home to 300 of the monument’s 25,000 petroglyphs. 

To Visit Santa Fe

Dale Ball Trails Santa Fe

One of my favourite cities to visit in New Mexico is Santa Fe, which has a really quirky vibe. Now, if you ask me, the best time to visit the city is in autumn thanks to mild weather and fewer crowds. 

There are so many things to do in Santa Fe – such as exploring the eccentric Meow Wolf art installation – that packing things in during your trip can become ten times harder when you’re waiting in (sweaty) lines.

New Mexico by Season

Spring in New Mexico 

March – May

Jemez Springs, New Mexico

Spring in New Mexico is a fantastic time to visit as it has moderate temperatures and the cities are buzzing with more and more tourists.

In plenty of locations around the state, you’ll be able to spot pretty wildflowers – head to the Sandia Mountains and the Carson National Forest to see exactly what I mean. Better yet, this is the ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and exploring various national parks.

So, if you’re wondering when to head to New Mexico, spring might just be the very best time.

Key Events and Things to Do in New Mexico in Spring

  • The biggest Pow Wow in the US, the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, happens in April.
  • It’s the perfect time for sledding in White Sands National Park. 
  • The Organ Mountains, near Las Cruces, come alive in spring as wildflowers bloom. 

Pros to Travelling to New Mexico in Spring

  • You avoid the scorching heat of summer.
  • Enjoy affordable accommodation rates and fewer crowds.

Cons to Travelling to New Mexico in Spring

  • The weather is still quite unpredictable, with snow still appearing in May sometimes.
  • It can be busy in major cities, especially in March due to Spring Break.

Summer in New Mexico 

June – August

Santa Fe, New Mexico from Atalaya Mountain

For the best weather in New Mexico, visit during the summer season. The summer temperatures are delightful and just perfect for a poolside chill at an Albuquerque Airbnb.

The scorching weather makes it perfect for a range of activities such as hiking, biking, or exploring New Mexico’s natural wonders. Just remember to stock up on suncream and fill your bottle with water before you head out on a trail.

Key Events and Things to Do in New Mexico in Summer

  • Visit the UFO Festival in Roswell in June.
  • It’s a great bird-spotting opportunity, with over 17 different species of hummingbirds across New Mexico. 
  • See the best indigenous art at the Santa Fe Indian Market in August. 

Pros to Travelling to New Mexico in Summer

  • It’s ideal for experiencing the energetic atmospheres of New Mexico’s cities.
  • It’s the perfect time for camping near Albuquerque. 

Cons to Travelling to New Mexico in Summer

  • It can get very hot and humid in summer, with high temperatures that get up to 36ºC (97ºF).
  • It’s the rainy season in New Mexico. 

Autumn/Fall in New Mexico

September – November

White Sands National Park Tucson

Delight in ideal weather and exciting events in New Mexico’s Autumn. The intense heat has died down (don’t underestimate it, though) and the crowds have thinned, so now is the best time to head out on the popular hiking trails that get rammed during summer.

That said, if you’re heading here during the International Balloon Fiesta, expect it to be extremely busy throughout the festival. It’s worth elbowing your way through crowds, though.

Key Events and Things to Do in New Mexico in Autumn/Fall

  • Spend a fun-filled day at the New Mexico State Fair in September.
  • See the golden and crimson leaves of aspens in October. 
  • Enjoy the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October.

Pros to Travelling to New Mexico in Autumn/Fall

  • This is the least touristy season, perfect for those looking to have a relaxing time.
  • Autumn has really pleasant weather, averaging between 12ºC and 29ºC (54ºF and 84ºF). 

Cons to Travelling to New Mexico in Autumn/Fall

  •  It does start getting colder, especially towards November.
  •  It’s the worst time to visit New Mexico for arachnophobes with the tarantula migration. 

Winter in New Mexico 

December – February

Sandia Peak and Tramway Albuquerque

Winter in New Mexico can be extremely cold – something I learnt on a recent trip. Seriously, I was sitting atop the Sandia Tramway seriously considering whether I was at risk of frostbite. 

Ok, so maybe I’m being a little (or a lot) dramatic. Wrap up warm and you will be fine.

Oh, and calling all Skiers and snowboarders! This is the best time to visit NM’s epic snow slopes.

Key Events and Things to Do in New Mexico in Winter

  • See the captivating Albuquerque River of Lights in November and December.
  • On cold days in Santa Fe, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit the New Mexico Museum of Art. 
  • Taos Valley is fantastic for skiing in the US in February. 

 Pros to Travelling to New Mexico in Winter

  • There’s still lots to do, even if you don’t like skiing.
  • It can be really quiet in the winter months of January and February.

Cons to Travelling to New Mexico in Winter

  • Can be brutally cold (I can vouch for this).
  • Driving can be dangerous on ice and snow-covered roads.

When to Travel to New Mexico: Practical Tips + Tricks 

  • The New Mexico heat is no joke. You really need to take suncare seriously, no matter the season. I highly advise bringing high-SPF sunscreen, a hat and a water bottle with you – and fill up before you head into the parks when possible.
  • I’d recommend spending 10 to 14 days (minimum) in New Mexico for the best experience. There’s seriously so much to see and do.

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