The Easiest Way to Plan a Fun Five-Day Southwest New Mexico Itinerary

Looking for a five-day out-of-the-box adventure? Southwest New Mexico is bursting with hidden travel gems that everyone in your crew will enjoy!  We’ve put together the perfect five-day southwest New Mexico itinerary to help make your travel planning a breeze. Our pre-planned itinerary will help maximize your time while hitting all the best sites. From relaxing hot springs to a remote guest ranch with views you’ll have to see to believe, our itinerary will have you returning to the Land of Enchantment year after year.  

Is five-days too short? Or too long? Are there other attractions in New Mexico you’d like to see? Request your personalized New Mexico itinerary from Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. Our customized itineraries are ideal for any traveler. Let us know your preferences and we will perfectly tailor a custom itinerary to suit your interests, for free.   

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This Jam-Packed Five-Day Southwest New Mexico Itinerary Will Keep You Coming Back Year After Year  

Day 1: Arrive in the Land of Enchantment 

Your southwest New Mexico trip has officially begun! The first stop? A 3-night stay at a small, family-owned guest ranch in the heart of the 3.3 million-acre Gila National Forest. Plan to arrive at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch between 4 and 6 p.m. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to check-in, get settled, and tour the ranch before dinner at 6:30 p.m. Chef Fred will serve you a delicious southwest-style dinner. Grab a seat around the table, enjoy your meal, and get ready for the next day’s adventures exploring the beauty of the Gila National Forest! 

After dinner, retreat to your private cabin and rest up for the day ahead. For the perfect way to wind down before bed, relax on our chaise lounge chairs and observe the wonder of the night sky. When you’re ready for bed, head back inside and snuggle up in your cozy cabin with a warm fire. If you’re lucky, you might even hear the unique calls of the elk or coyotes off in the distance as you drift to sleep.


Day 2: Get to Know Your Horse 


After a good night’s rest, wake up to views of the horses enjoying their morning feed and take a short scenic stroll to Wall Lake. Breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m. and you can count on another delicious meal from our amazing Chef Fred. Breakfasts typically include eggs benedict, homemade french toast, biscuits, and gravy, or breakfast burritos, with homemade baked goods and fresh fruit. After breakfast, you’ll get to meet your horse! During group orientation, the owner and head wrangler, Meris, will review the basics of horseback riding. Your morning ride will allow you to practice what you’ve learned, explore the terrain, and introduce you to the area’s Native American history.


Following your morning trail ride, you’ll return to the ranch for lunch! This time, Chef Fred will prepare a tasty meal of barbacoa quesadillas, burgers, Santa Fe chicken salad, or the like.  After you’ve re-energized, you’re ready to ride again! This time, you’ll ride up high to experience the beauty and expanse of the Gila National Forest with high mountain top views exposing the vast and unique rock formations and incredible views of southwest New Mexico.  


Once you return from your trail ride, you’ll have plenty of time to kick off your boots, clean up, and play a game of horseshoes or one of the many board games available before dinner.  With tasty offerings like pecan-crusted chicken, BBQ ribs, rainbow trout, or grilled ribeye steaks, it’ll be hard to decide which of Chef Fred’s meals is your favorite! After you’re pleasantly stuffed, prepare for an evening of activities like line dancing, a campfire with s’mores and sing-alongs, western movies, playing games, or stargazing.

Day 3: Explore the Incredible Taylor Creek Canyon 


Awake to the enchanting sounds of the surrounding wilderness! Enjoy another home-cooked breakfast and prepare for another jam-packed day of fun exploring the incredible Gila on horseback! Be sure to fill out your customized lunch order so Chef Fred can prepare the picnic lunches for the day’s ride. 


Explore even further into the Gila National Forest with an all-day picnic ride! On this trek, you’ll ride through the beautiful Taylor Creek Canyon with its towering 500ft canyon walls, cross the crystal-clear stream dozens of times, and ride through the incredible “Narrows” to the East Fork of the Gila River, near where the Apache warrior, Geronimo, was born! Take in all the wonders of the wilderness, then stop to enjoy your picnic lunch at a beautiful spot near the water. While you’re here, take time to search for pottery shards at the nearby Mimbres archeological site, wade in the creek, take photos or relax in one of our hammocks before riding back to the ranch for the evening.
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch


Enjoy a final evening of delicious food and ranch activities with your new friends. Gather around the campfire one last time, share stories of your adventures in the Gila, and soak up the last bit of your stay at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch!   

Day 4: Say Good-bye to the Ranch and Hello to Relaxing Hot Springs 


Although it may be your last day on the ranch, you still have time to squeeze in a little more fun. Wake up early and sit on your porch swing to view the deer wandering the yard. Take a final stroll around the property and be sure to say goodbye to your new 4-legged companion. Then indulge in your last breakfast prepared by Chef Fred and browse the gift shop for fun souvenirs of your stay. Afterward, head back to your cabin for a leisurely check out by 10:30 a.m.
cabins Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

Though your time at the ranch has come to an end, the fun doesn’t stop. Head back to the highway for the next stop on your five-day southern New Mexico adventure! For history buffs, a quick side trip to Chloride, NM will have you exploring a fascinating ghost town from the silver mining days. Or continue on to Truth or Consequences, NM where you can take a tour of the Geronimo Springs Museum and delve further into the Native American history of southwest New Mexico. 


It’s not a trip to southwest New Mexico without a soak in one of the famous mineral hot springs! Truth or Consequences, originally named Hot Springs, NM has dozens of unique resorts to enjoy. We highly recommend soaking in the mineral-rich waters at Riverbend Hot Springs. This incredible resort features shared pools, a sauna, and private pools for the ultimate relaxation. It is said that the area’s hot springs have many healing properties you definitely don’t want to miss!   


For the ultimate relaxation during your five-day getaway, extend your time at the hot springs with an overnight stay. Book one of their rooms and enjoy access to your own private pool. Guests at our ranch receive 10% off an overnight stay at Riverbend Hot Springs.
Geronimo Springs Museum Riverbend Hot Springs: hot springs near the Gila National Forest.

Day 5: One Last Adventure  

It’s your last day in southwest New Mexico and you want to make the most of it! Whether you’re flying out of Albuquerque or El Paso there’s an adventure for you on the way! Before you leave, you must try a Hatch Green Chili Burger, if you haven’t already! If you’re going south, stop at the famous Sparky’s in Hatch, NM. If you’re going north, stop at the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, NM.

If you’ve got time for even more adventure, explore the otherworldly sand dunes at White Sands National Park if you’re going south. Or splash in the largest lake in New Mexico at Elephant Butte Lake if you’re going north.

Discover the Wonder of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch 

Five days in the Land of Enchantment are a dream but spending those same five days with Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is magical! Remember when you are making your plans, the longer you stay at the ranch the more you will get to explore the vast 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest! Not sure how long to stay? Just request a custom itinerary and we will be happy to help you decide!

Our cozy cabins are perfect for any getaway, from week-long vacations to weekend stays. All of our amenities are designed with everything you need for a hassle-free trip. We even include a few extras like fresh baked cookies, logo water bottles, delicious home-style meals, and entertaining evening activities. The best thing about Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is that we are always ready to show you the wonders of horseback riding in the Gila National Forest! So, call up your family and friends and head to southwest New Mexico for the vacation of a lifetime! 

Browse our cabins and book your stay. The Land of Enchantment is waiting for you!