NRAO-Very Large Array : Day Trip From Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque NM is the origination point for this day trip. The Very Large Array (VLA) and other destinations suggested here are also within day-trip range from Show Low and other towns along the Arizona/New Mexico, border, as well as from Las Cruces and Silver City in New Mexico. Of course, many other options become available if on a longer road trip.

From Albuquerque, take I-25 South to Socorro. From Socorro, take US 60 West to Magdalena. Stop for lunch at the Magdalena Cafe & Steakhouse. Continue West on US 60 to Mile Marker 93 in the San Agustin Plains, where the National Radio Astronomy Observatory-Very Large Array is located. Turn South on NM 52, drive past the tracks to the intersection with Old Highway 60 and turn West. This is the access road to the VLA Facility, which is visible from all these roads. VLA signs point you to your destination.

On US 60, at the edge of the Gallina Mountains, facing East toward Magdalena and the Magdalena Mountains.

On US 60, at the edge of the Gallina Mountains facing West toward the San Agustin Plains and the Datil Mountains in the background.

At the VLA Visitor Center, take the self-guided walking tour of the facility, see a couple of their informative videos, and visit the gift shop for unique VLA mementos. The VLA Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 am to Sunset. Admission is free. Check the NRAO-VLA web site for more information on guided tours and special events.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory-Very Large Array, San Agustin Plains, NM.

After the VLA tour, take US 60 West through Datil and the Datil Mountains to Pie Town, NM. Stop for pie and coffee, or for early dinner, at the Good Pie Cafe or the Pie-O-Neer Cafe (both on US 60). Continue West on US 60 towards the town of Quemado. At Quemado, turn North on NM 36. Drive North on NM 36 to the intersection with NM 117. Turn East on NM 117. As NM 117 veers NE, it borders the El Malpais National Monument. The drive through a section called The Narrows is spectacular, especially if the Westerly sun is lighting up the ridges. Continue North on NM 117 to the intersection with I-40. Turn East on I-40 for the drive back to Albuquerque.

Pie-O-Neer Café
PO Box 656
US Highway 60, Mile Marker 56 (North side of US 60), Pie Town, NM 87827
575.772.2711 |

Kathy Knapp : Owner


Thursday – Sunday : 11 am to 4 pm (or later if there’s any pie left).
Closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Good Pie Cafe
PO Box 734
US Highway 60, Mile Marker 56 (South side of US 60), Pie Town NM 87827
575-772-2700 | |

Michael A. Rawl : Owner


Monday – Friday : 8 am to 4 pm.
Friday Night Dinner : 5  to 8 pm.
Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Feature on Pie Town in the Smithsonian Magazine : Savoring Pie Town

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