The Hwy 14 corridor, also known as the Turquoise Trail , is the old road to connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It is a beautiful drive that connects groupings of small businesses, restaurants, art galleries, residential areas and open space. This is the ‘greenside’ of the Sandia Mountains, where you’ll find everything from cedars and juniper trees to Ponderosa pines. Locals refer to the road as “North 14” and “South 14” (technically, NM 337) with the dividing point being Route 66 in Tijeras.
North 14 is more developed, with communities dotting the hour-long drive to Santa Fe. This stretch has restaurants, craft brews, galleries, and shops. If you’d like to visit Sandia Peak, you can drive to it on this side of the Sandias (from Tijeras, head north on Hwy 14 about 6 miles, turn left at Sandia Peak Scenic Byway/NM 536 and continue to the top — about 7 windy miles). The views are spectacular — you can see forever. This is forest driving, so be advised that wildlife crosses the road without warning, and there are no lights along the road for nighttime driving. Map of Turquoise Trail
South 14 will take you through tiny places known as Chilili, Tajique, Torreon, Manzano, and on to Mountainair. There are hiking trails and some day use picnic areas and campgrounds in the area. Between Manzano and Mountainair, are the Quarai Mission Ruins with a National Park Service visitor center – well worth the stop. Mountainair is known for its artist vibe and annual Sunflower Festival. Map of South 14
Photo credit: Turquoise Trail Association