WITH SEVEN CERTIFIED International Dark Sky Parks, New Mexico ranks among the best spots in the country for stargazing. If you’re looking for maximum stars per mile, you can hit four Dark Sky Parks with just six hours behind the wheel for an astro-adventure that lights up your summer.
ADVENTURE’S FIRST STOP
The first step toward a great road trip is getting fueled for adventure. Start at a Maverik–Adventure’s First Stop—to fuel up your car and grab some fuel for yourself. Satisfy your taste for adventure with fresh-made hot BonFire food, refreshing fountain drinks, and plenty of delicious snacks for the miles to come. Don’t forget to grab a Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot or other energy drink for the cooler to keep you awake when the stars are out.
PARK 1: SALINAS PUEBLO MISSIONS NATIONAL MONUMENT
When you’re ready to roll, head south of Albuquerque to Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, where you’ll find four of the United States’ best-preserved Spanish mission churches from the 1600s and learn about the early encounters of the Spanish and Pueblo peoples. Although it’s close to the city, the Manzano Mountains block most of the city’s light pollution, leaving the skies all to you.
PARK 2: FORT UNION NATIONAL MONUMENT
A three-hour drive leads to Fort Union National Monument. During the day, head to the visitor’s center to learn about the adobe ruins that mark the location of the second Fort Union, stationed along the Santa Fe Trail. Monthly night sky programs include a ranger-led evening tour of the fort followed by telescope and naked-eye astronomy.
PARK 3: CAPULIN VOLCANO NATIONAL MONUMENT
Head northeast for about two hours to Capulin Volcano National Monument. During the day, learn about the site’s geologic and cultural history and at night, join rangers for guided night sky viewing at the base or rim of the volcano. They provide the equipment and education; Mother Nature provides the show.
PARK 4: CLAYTON LAKE STATE PARK
For your last stop, you’re heading about 65 miles southeast to Clayton Lake State Park and Dinosaur Trackways. Get there in time to explore one of North America’s most extensive dinosaur trackways and log some water time boating or fishing. When the stars come out, you won’t be disappointed. If you can plan to be there during the week of the new moon, you can attend the monthly stargazing event.
Logging four Dark Sky Parks back-to-back makes for a great chapter in your summer. As you keep the adventures going, don’t forget to start at Maverik—the ultimate one-stop shop to save while you fuel up for adventure with all the road trip essentials like food, drinks, and snacks plus award-winning clean restrooms.
Maverik Must Haves
- Nitro Card to save 10-cents off every gallon every day
- Mobile app to log rewards
- Fresh pastries—try the Madbrook Maple Bar
- New premium smokey meats selection with staples such as the Loaded Burnt Ends Breakfast Burrito and Two Meat Treat Bowl
- Bean-to-cup fresh-brewed coffee
- BonFire fresh-made breakfast and lunch burritos