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Southern New Mexico Pecan Road with Organ Mountains, New Mexico Highway 28.

Life is too short for traffic. ~ Dan Bellack

If you’ve got a set of wheels and a free afternoon, Highway 28 is a beautiful cruise ~ especially in winter:

  • The quiet drive is even more tranquil this time of year.
  • Thousands of pecan trees, now empty of leaves, make shapes against the sky that look both odd and graceful; and ~
  • The climate that helps pecans and other crops grow so well here in the Mesilla Valley, even now, remains sunny and mild. Stepping away from your car or motorcycle as often as you please, whether to shop or take a picture, is easy to do.

New Mexico Highway 28 also goes by the name of the Oñate Trail. Don Juan de Oñate, over 400 years ago, used it to enter New Mexico when the land still belonged to Spain.

It runs from Avenida de Mesilla in Las Cruces, in the north, to La Union, New Mexico, in the south ~ near the Texas border. Jag to the east and south again, and you’re in El Paso.

Looking southward towards Texas, pecan trees line the road as far as you can see. Drive some miles further down the road and you’ll find more of the same. Eventually, you arrive in La Mesa, a town with good Mexican food ~ before you see more trees.

You see pecan groves, vineyards, and more on a New Mexico Highway 28 scenic drive.

I like greenery and seeing things grow as much as anyone . . . captured this first shot below of Highway 28 during a summertime drive. But there’s something special about these BARE trees . . . potential and the promise of things to come.

Do you see it, too?

New Mexico Highway 28 in the summertime.

Pecan Trees on New Mexico Highway 28 in late winter.

A portion of the highway east of the Rio Grande river near vineyards affords a panoramic view of Las Cruces and the Organ mountains.

Evergreens, the Organs, & cypress ~ the view eastward from New Mexico Highway 28.

Oh, yes, this drive is lined with wineries and vineyards, too.

Getting thirsty?

After driving by grove after grove of pecan trees, you may soon get hungry as well and want a real taste of what your eyes have been feasting on.

What to do?

Turn in at one of the many signs on the road advertising, “Pecans,” and take home a bag or more fresh nuts OR turn around ~ and drive back towards Old Mesilla and Las Cruces.

There you’ll find the nut that helps make our southern New Mexico world go round in all kinds of delicious ~ and typically sweet ~ combinations.

Like the pecan baklava at the International Delights Cafe and this pecan tart from Chef Marceaux at le Rendezvous Cafe ~

Pecans from the groves on New Mexico Highway 28 are delicious in tarts like this from le Rendezvous Cafe & Bakery.

and slightly larger versions at the Farmer’s Market and bakeries throughout the city, because people gotta have their pecan pie!

Pecan pie with pecans sourced from a grove off New Mexico Highway 28.

Country and commerce. That’s what you get to experience on New Mexico’s Highway 28.

It’s a sweet trip in more ways than one.

What’s your favorite scenic drive?