Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

We did have a spectacular RV trip in scenic Arizona, but our meandering trip did not end there. After our long day from Globe, Arizona, to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, we headed east to discover fun and unusual places in New Mexico.


2925 West Highway 66
Gallup, New Mexico 87301

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

We chose this well-run RV park conveniently located off Interstate 40 on the legendary Route 66 as our overnight stop. USA RV Park is one of the busiest RV parks we have seen this trip. We joined several others checking in when we arrived. It was an amazingly smooth process, very professional and fast.

USA RV Park is in a very central location to see many of New Mexico’s beautiful features. This RV Park makes a great home base to travel to Mesa Verde, El Morro, Zuni, Four Corners, Monument Valley, and the Painted Desert – all within driving distance.

The park provides full hookups, a heated pool, a game room, a fun gift shop, and other amenities you expect at full-service RV parks. We arrived after dark and left early the following morning but had a safe and peaceful night’s sleep here. We will stay here again when we travel to this area.

El Morro RV Park and Cabin Rental

Ramah, NM 87321

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

We chose this RV park because of its proximity to the Bandera Volcano Ice Cave we planned to visit the following day. The El Morro RV Park turned out to be a superb off-the-beaten-path relaxing, and peaceful camping location. We planned to stay one day but ended up not leaving for four!

El Morro is a back-to-nature simple park, with hardly an inch of concrete anywhere in sight but a fantastic night sky – our kind of place. Many of the RVs appeared to be long-term residents, but some were travelers just passing through, as we were. Our hosts were accommodating, beautiful people.

Ancient Way Café

The Ancient Way Café is next door to the RV park and serves excellent food and outstanding desserts. One of their very creative pies, for example, is an apple, green chili, piñon nut pie! Because of Covid, food service is either take-out or outdoor dining.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

Although I already had lunch prepared in the RV, Ancient Way’s food looked so good we chose to have lunch there instead. We were very pleased with our brisket sandwich and Rueben. We took our pie selections back to the RV for later, though.


Very near El Morro RV Park is the town of Ramah. It was established in the late 1800s by Mormans to provide missionary services to the nearby Zuni and Navajo tribes. A lovely small museum makes its home in one of the original houses built by Ramah’s early pioneers over a hundred years ago.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

This home turned museum is in the National Historic Register. Regrettably, the museum was closed and locked the Friday afternoon of our attempted visits even though a sign states open hours are between one and four pm on Fridays.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

The fenced yard surrounding the museum is full of all kinds of antiques artistically displayed throughout. An old washing machine, gas pump, and an 1800s wagon are just a few of the pieces of memorabilia on display.

Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave

The Bandera Volcano Ice Cave is on privately owned property and not part of the El Malpais National Monument, where ice caves are also found. We were sorry to miss seeing these, but they are not open at this time. Next time?

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

How did an ice cave form?

This incredible natural cave full of ice is why we traveled to this part of New Mexico. My brother visited here some years ago, and we were so amazed by his description of a cave with 20 feet of ice in it year-round, we wanted to see it for ourselves.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

There are 19 volcanos in the El Malpais area very near the Continental Divide. El Malpais is the name Spanish explorers gave this volcanic area in the 1500s and means Badlands. The Bandera Volcano erupted 10,000 years ago and has the second most recent eruption out of the 19 volcanos.

The lava flow from the Bandera volcano poured through a 17-mile long tube system. A large portion of the lava tube collapsed, and some parts remained, becoming cave structures. This ice cave is in a collapsed lava tube that forms a natural icebox whose temperature is never above freezing.

Rainwater and melted snow enter the cave through the porous lava and freeze on top of the already existing layer and has been happening for hundreds of years.

The Trading Post

You can purchase entry to the ice cave and the Bandera volcano crater at the Trading Post for a small admission fee. The Trading Post has great souvenirs for sale as well as snacks and small grocery items. You can also see 1,200-year-old artifacts discovered on the property.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

There are two separate trails. One trail leads to the volcano crater, and the other trail leads to the ice cave. A round trip hike of both paths can be completed in about an hour. The wide trail surface is hard-packed volcanic gravel.

Volcano crater trail

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

Although only a Class 1 trail, a portion of the volcano crater trail is uphill. It was strenuous enough for us old folks that we stopped at each of the benches along the way to rest a few minutes. Several younger and more physically fit hikers passed us as we lumbered up at a much slower pace.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

Views are stunning on the uphill climb. We encountered a different lava-covered landscape on the way down. Trees here have grown up through the lava bed and are twisted and eerie looking.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

Ponderosa Pine

Ice cave

The trail to the ice cave is level and leads to a wooden stairway down to the cave. There were over 60 steps down, and it was slightly precarious for us senior folks. Younger hikers were jogging up and down the stairs, though.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

The ice cave is spectacular, quite a wonder to see. The ice is twenty feet thick and has a blue-green hue to it caused by naturally formed algae. I highly recommend a visit here if you are traveling in this part of New Mexico.

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

Another adventure exploring the wonderful and beautiful places in America’s outdoors. There are even more fun and unusual places in New Mexico left to discover though!

Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

3 thoughts on “Fun and unusual places in New Mexico

  1. Pingback: What an amazing two month long RV adventure | Always Want To Go
  2. The ice cave is incredible. Such a shame you guys didn’t get to visit the museum.

    1. The ice cave was pretty spectacular. It is my guess the museum was closed because of Covid, maybe. I didn’t ever get an answer or even voicemail when I called.

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