Farmington, New Mexico is often seen as a convenient city to overnight in on a tour of the Four Corners region, or simply a city you pass through while exploring the great American Southwest. However, a growing number of travelers are discovering that more than the location, mild climate, and reasonable hotel rates make this community a family-friendly destination for unique experiences. When choosing this community as your adventure basecamp, you can hike otherworldly landscapes, hook record trout along world-renowned quality waters, step back in time as you walk through ancient ruins, and experience some of the best offroading trails in the U.S. To help you make 2023 your year for adventure we have created this bucket list of experiences that will have you adding Farmington, New Mexico to your must-visit list. Experiences are listed in no particular order!
- Have a close encounter of the bizarre kind
The hoodoos and spires of the Bisti /De-Na-Zin Wilderness and Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Area attract visitors from across the globe. This bizarre landscape is often described as otherworldly, Mars-like, strange, and stunning. Adding a Bisti adventure to your bucket list is a must for those that enjoy hiking and photography.
- Test your adventure threshold
Farmington showcases thousands of acres of land primed for off-road adventures. Host of the World Extreme Rock Crawling Championship Grand Nationals, there's no shortage of cliffs to scale and trails to blaze when you visit Farmington. For the ultimate rock crawling, side-by-side or 4x4 expedition Chokecherry Canyon in the Glade Run Recreation Area is a must-visit. When you want to traverse sandy dunes in the high desert on a UTV, ATV, or motorcycle Dunes Recreation Area should top your list.
- Two words, time travel
Step back in time as you visit the National Parks and historic sites that surround Farmington. Amidst mesmerizing landscapes and breathtaking views, you will discover the region is rich in history and culture. Travel back in time as you discover the sacred spaces of the Ancestral Puebloan culture that settled the region, 800-1200 AD. Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Salmon Ruins, Dinétah Rock Art and Pueblitos, and Mesa Verde National Park should be added to your stops on this adventurous road trip through ancient history!
- Bring it around to flavor town
Any visit to New Mexico must include a culinary adventure and the apex of that experience is the almighty New Mexico chile pepper. Red, green, or Christmas (a mixture of red and green chile) no matter how you choose to indulge in this spicey experience Farmington has you covered. The Chile Pod is well known for its award-winning chile, so much so that they sell it by the quart. Los Hermanitos is without a doubt your best bet for a sit-down dinner or lunch, Si Señor has your taste buds covered when it comes to the ultimate breakfast burrito experience. No matter where you dine, try something smothered in red, green or Christmas. You can thank us later!
- Pump it up
High desert views and a mild year-round climate have fostered an avid cycling community in Farmington. With over 100 miles of trails to explore, there are numerous mountain biking trails to experience in and around Farmington. Endurance riders, fitness enthusiasts, active families, and those seeking a more relaxed biking experience will all find what they’re looking for on our trails. The top three you must try the 2.8 mile Anasazi Loop, 9-mile Foothills Loop, and the 30-mile Road Apple Rally Course. And to set the mood, give the East Glade Skills Park a shot! This skills park was professionally built by Single Track Trails and the Bureau of Land Management which offers thrills for all levels of riders. If you find yourself in need of a bike or bike repairs connect with our top local bike shops 505 Cycles and Sandstone Cycles.
- Get hooked on a REEL Adventure
Whether you prefer to fly or bait fish, you will find Farmington the ultimate basecamp for collecting the ultimate fish tales! The iconic fly fishing waters of the San Juan River call anglers from across the globe. And if you enjoy fly fishing but want a bit more privacy you can always cast a line along the San Juan River on the private waters at Majestic Enchantment. The top fly fishing guides are at Soaring Eagle Lodge. Navajo Lake State Park is an oasis when you are looking to do a little angling for rainbow and brown trout, crappie, Kokanee salmon, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. Just minutes from Main Street, Lake Farmington is ideal for fishing for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and even pike. Make it the ultimate Reel Adventure and add Cutter Dam, Jackson Lake, and Morgan Lake to your itinerary.
- Meet Rock Stars
The rugged beauty of the high desert terrain that surrounds Farmington is home to rock formations so unique they will forever change your definition of rock stars! Visitors from all over the world come to photograph the unique hoodoos of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, visit the badlands that Angel Peak towers over, or watch a stunning New Mexico sunset spotlighting the iconic Shiprock Pinnacle. There’s no need to worry about snagging an autograph from these giants in rock, but a camera and a good pair of hiking boots are a must!
- An adventure in the arts
Farmington's artistic adventures are vast, providing authentic experiences with artisans. Dive into our performing arts scene by scanning our community calendar for productions by local theater groups, traveling national shows, the local jazz society, and symphony. For those seeking a truly artistic adventure, connect with our local artisan and maker communities at art galleries, trading posts, and shops along Main Street in downtown Farmington. From traditional Native American art to recycled housewares, you can also find our local artisan community selling beautiful creations at seasonal Art Walks, the Downtown Makers Market, and the annual Totah Festival.
- Don't worry, be hoppy
Tap into the local brew scene for a sip into local history, flavors, and personality! Three Rivers Brewery, one of the top breweries in New Mexico, serves award-winning craft beer in a fun and historic atmosphere making it a must-visit. Don't forget to ask staff for their ghost stories and take time to peruse the beer label and coaster collection. Lauter Haus Brewing Co. is a lively local brewery offering a variety of craft beers and cocktails amidst funky graffiti and retro vibes. Sample Lauter Haus Brewing IPAs, lagers, and stouts as you play pinball, darts, or cornhole. Next on your brew tour itinerary should be Rambler Taproom. Rambler is the taproom for Bow & Arrow Brewing and offers a rad tap list of fresh beer releases, sampler flights, growler fills, and limited-release 16oz cans. Bow & Arrow is the first Native American woman-owned brewery in the country and should be on your must-sip list!
- Prepare for an adventure in learning
Dig into history and dive into culture when you visit the museums found in and around Farmington! If you are looking for a little edutainment on your vacation be sure to add these centers to your must-visit list: Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology, Farmington Museum, E3 Children's Museum and Science Center, Museum of Navajo Art and Culture, Aztec Museum & Pioneer Village, and San Juan County Museum at Salmon Ruins & Heritage Park.
- Get ready for a roar of a good time
The Farmington Museum will host the Tyrannosaurus Meet the Family exhibit from January - April 26, 2023. This fascinating and interactive experience was prepared by the Australian Museum and offers all ages a unique and up-close look at the dinosaur of all dinosaurs, the T.rex as well lesser-known member of the Tyrannosaurus family.
- Refuel and refresh
After a day of adventuring sometimes you just need a space where you can refuel and enjoy yourself. Locke Street Eats is a new food truck pavilion and event venue in Farmington that offers a family-friendly setting for dining and recreating with locals. With free movie nights, corn hole tournaments, and live music it's more than food that has this space the talk of the town.
- Let it flow
Farmington sits in the high desert, but by no means is it a dry desert town. With three rivers and five lakes, there’s no limit to your H2O adventures. At the top of your list should be floating the Animas or San Juan River with Desert River Guides. From the peak of spring runoff and well into autumn, you can always let it flow in Farmington!
- Get a grip
Test your skills and enjoy some time outdoors, as you golf through the fantastic courses found in and around Farmington, New Mexico! Pinon Hills Golf Course is consistently rated one of the top municipal courses in the United States, making it the gem of the region. Having undergone a series of renovations in 2022, it will be on every golfer's replay list in 2023. When in the area it would be foolish to not also book tee times at Riverview Golf Course, San Juan Country Club, and Civitan Golf Course.
- Sip into town
The coffee, tea, and boba scene in Farmington is happening! For the perfect sit-and-sip experience look no further than Artifacts 302 Studio Bake Shoppe. This local hot spot features delectable treats, memorable brews, and inspiring art! If it is a sip on the go that you are looking for, swing by Oso Grande Coffee Company! Their Navajo Tea, coffee, and boba tea are sure to fuel your adventure.
- Game of throws
There is no battle lost when you enter a game of throws in Farmington! The sweeping high desert landscapes found along the Lions Wilderness Disc Golf Course and San Juan College Disc Golf Course will leave every player a victor!
- Make a splash
Splash into fun when you visit the Bisti Bay Water Park in Farmington! This water park definitely isn't your typical water park. Inspired by the stunning landscapes and history that surround Farmington, this facility features hoodoos, spires, fossils, and art alongside the water slides, lazy river, in-pool playground, spray features, and rentable party pavilions.
- A fresh take on nightlife
There are plenty of concerts, performances, lounges, restaurants, and breweries to visit on a night out in Farmington. Or, you can rethink your stance on nightlife and join locals for an evening of stargazing! Glade Run Recreation Area, while located within Farmington it sits on the outskirts of town. Making it an easily accessible destination for catching meteor showers or glimpsing the milky way. Nearby Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historic Park (an International Dark Sky Park) will also have you redefining the perfect night out.
- Sleep in a cave
Yes, you read that right - sleep in a cave! Farmington offers travelers a truly unique experience with Kokopelli's Cave. When you reserve Kokopelli’s Cave, you will be staying in a hand-drilled and dynamite-blasted excavation of approximately 1700 sq. feet. The Cave itself is 70′ below the top of the cliff. Its entrance is located in the cliff face and is reached by walking down a sloping path and steps cut into the sandstone along the way. It's not the Carlisle, or a Hilton or even a Holiday Inn. It is a cave…a really nice one…but a cave just the same and you’ll have the whole thing!
- Blend in with the locals
The residents of Farmington are a welcoming crew! While visiting the area, we invite you to live like a local and join us for some of our top annual events: Riverfest, Freedom Days, Connie Mack World Series, Totah Festival, Four Corners 4x4 Week, Four Corners Balloon Rally, Road Apple Rally, Riverglo, and the Luminaria Display at San Juan College. No matter when you visit, there will be something happening, just peep our community calendar and join us for some fun!
- Meet a know it all
We know. We know. No one likes to be called a know-it-all, but Farmington is so full of amazing culture, crazy-cool fossils, and one-of-a-kind places that you won’t want to leave without learning everything you can about it all! Let those in the know guide your adventure: Journey Into the Past Tours, Navajo Tours USA, Bear Automotive Jeep Tours, Aztec Adventures, Desert River Guides, High Desert Mountain Biking Tours, Mullen’s Equestrian Services, and Soaring Eagle Lodge.
- Pay tribute
Each day we enjoy the freedom and rights that have been fought for and protected by our Veterans. Take this opportunity to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by visiting the All Veterans Memorial Park and Vietnam Veterans Park in Farmington.
- Take the pledge
As a community where outdoor lovers and active families thrive residents and visitors are encouraged to take the Farmington Outdoor Pledge to preserve treasured, shared spaces and leave them better than you found them for the next guest.