WITH SOME OF THE MOST BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPES in the world, New Mexico almost implores you to get outdoors. Among those spots that call out to us? Our 35 state parks and their rivers, cliffs, wildflowers, starry skies, hiking trails, majestic lakes, and historic places. Each year, New Mexico Magazine partners with New Mexico State Parks to spotlight these family-friendly treasures in this category. One of our shared goals is to inspire readers to explore all they have to offer. And as you’re planning that next adventure, don’t forget to pack a camera.


Hiking in the Spring Canyon Unit of Rockhound State Park, Scott Broadwell (above)

"On a trip in early 2021, we set off to explore the southern border region and stumbled on the Spring Canyon Trails unit of Rockhound State Park. The Florida Mountains were a new destination for me, and based on the visitation while we were there, would likely be a new destination for most. We loved the dramatic outcrops and rugged desert. The picture is looking east while hiking up the Lover's Leap Trail, with the Organ Mountains just visible on the far horizon." —Scott Broadwell

Elephant Butte  Starry Night,  Richard Larsson


Elephant Butte Starry Night, Richard Larsson

"Sometimes my pictures are the result of just trying to escape and chase the horizon, which is exactly what happened here. I invested every last bit of cash I had to drive multiple times up to Truth or Consequences for what I had hoped would be a dramatic sunset over the lake. Unfortunately, I failed every single trip out, and upon the last one I walked down to the rock ledge and just sat there until the sun and clouds were no more. It was there that I admitted defeat and awaited darkness; perhaps maybe to disappear with the picture I had initially hoped for. However, long after the sun had set, that is when a new picture opportunity presented itself to me. Completely unexpected, the stars revealed the last bit of light that I felt like I had missed all along—that is when the scene I felt I could no longer capture, captured me instead." —Richard Larsson

Study in Ice,  Brian VanDenzen   Pecos Canyon State Park3RD PLACE

Study in Ice, Pecos Canyon State Park, Brian VanDenzen

On New Year’s Eve 2020, I spent an afternoon exploring the Pecos River in the Pecos Canyon State Park area near Terroro. At this high elevation in the heart of winter, ice forms along the banks and edges of the flowing river. The combination of flowing water beneath the surface and warm afternoon sun etches stained-glass like patterns into the ice, with river rocks barely visible just below the icy surface." —Brian VanDenzen

Day’s End,  Reece Parker   City of Rocks State ParkHONORABLE MENTION

Day’s End, City of Rocks State Park, Reece Parker

“I was blessed to have parents who loved to explore New Mexico. One of their favorite places was City of Rocks State Park. Monumental boulders and rock formations rise above the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert, creating a labyrinth of passages between the rocks, which over fifty years ago made for the ultimate game of hide and seek. Years later, it connects me to magical childhood memories but more poignantly to the spirits of my parents. My photograph was made at the end of day as the warm sunlight painted the land and lit the clouds, revealing the beauty of City of Rocks.”—Reece Parker

The Vortex,  Gerald Guss   City of Rocks State ParkHONORABLE MENTION

The Vortex, City of Rocks State Park, Gerald Guss

“If you want to see wildlife, go hiking, camp, rock climb, picnic, or just sit back to watch a stunning starlit sky, one simply needs to drive to City of Rocks State Park. This is a great day trip spot from Las Cruces, Silver City, and Deming. Personally, I can’t get enough of the sunsets after a rainy summer day. For example, in this photo the sun began setting and the clouds formed this amazing vortex over these outstanding boulders. This place astounds me on every visit!"—Gerald Guss

New Mexico State Parks would like to remind the public to recreate responsibly and to keep NM True.


For the sixth consecutive year, Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography, in Carrizozo, will host an exhibit featuring the winners. Although opening weekend festivities have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the exhibit will be on display and images available for purchase beginning January 28 on Fridays 10 to 5, Saturdays 10 to 5, and Sundays noon to 5.

See all the winners of the 21st Annual New Mexico Magazine Photos of the Year.