For residents of Albuquerque, one of the quickest getaways lies just 78 miles due west in good ol’ Grants. Resting in Cibola County, the sleepy, little town with just 9,182 inhabitants rises an additional 1,460 feet above that of Burque. So prepare for an ear pop or two as you near the Continental Divide. The largely Native-populated town is the site of many sacred traditions, Route 66 relics, and mom and pop eateries with a rich mining history. From the peaks of Mt. Taylor at the northern side of Grants to El Malpais National Monument at the southern end, this nearby town also features unparalleled outdoor adventures and sights to behold.
Looking for a really, really close daytrip? Enjoy the natural and local wonders of the small, uranium town to our west. Let’s get started with everyone’s favorite topic: food. The first question we ask ourselves on a roadtrip is “What are we gonna eat?” Fortunately, there are some strong contenders for that post-hike feast. The top rated and reviewed KendalBen Barbeque appears to have some of the best smoked meat in the state and a little food porn in their bison brisket and steaks as well as their beer battered fried pickles. Maybe traverse over to the nostalgic WOW Diner, a retro modular diner with a diverse Americana menu sure to please the pickiest eaters. An honorable mention goes out to the 1st Street Cafe for their off-the-chain selection of homemade pies. For fine dining however, Weekly Alibi readers agree that there’s no topping Sky City Casino’s Huwaka Restaurant for the best quality steak in the area. Speaking of which, Sky City Casino is one of the area’s biggest draws in entertainment and lodging with a 24-hour gaming floor, tons of live music and performance art, dining and more. If something more mother road-centric is more to your liking, Grants offers the locally owned Southwest Motel and Sands Motel for the authentic Western Route 66 experience. Between bites and sleeps, fill in the gaps with some unique tourism. Technically in the adjacent town of Milan, the local pool got a mention from readers as well as Route 66 Vintage Museum and Double 6 Art Gallery. The museum and gallery features local art and vintage postcards that takes a peek into what it might’ve been like to take the road through New Mexico in the early days. As we took a longer look at what makes a great daytrip, we discovered the New Mexico Mining Museum, a simulated uranium mining museum with activities and exhibitions for the whole family. But, of course, the one thing we can’t possibly pass through Grants without mentioning is Mt. Taylor. This behemoth of a mountain is visible from Albuquerque and hugs Grants like a warm, sacred blanket. Taylor is the highest point in Cibola National Forest and one of four sacred peaks to the Acoma, Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and Laguna tribes. Sitting at a staggering 11,301 feet above sea level, this volcanic peak is a sight to behold with premium hiking, biking, wildlife viewing and so much more.
Take the time to head over to Grants, where there is more to see, do and eat that one might’ve imagined. This is a tiny but mighty town with decades of history, stories, journeys and sacred sites. Pack a bag, stay the night, eat a bite, take a hike and see why our readers gave it a nod. ()