Scenic USA - New Mexico

Pillar Arch (NM-037)

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Pillar Arch - Aztec, New Mexico

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   Pillar Arch is one of nearly 300 natural arches in New Mexico's Aztec area. Here in the northwest region of the state where ancestral Puebloans roamed the area for centuries, arch hunters have combed these same canyons and sandstone ridges to document Aztec's intriguing natural formations.
   In this early morning view, just about five miles from Aztec, warm sunlight brings out the golden hues of this sandstone sculpture. Outcrop Arch - Aztec, New Mexico Pillar and Outcrop (inset) arches are two of five arches found in the Potter Canyon area. Marred by natural gas wells and compressor stations, the area is also sliced up with dirt access roads making travel a little easier for the desert explorer.
   Here in Aztec, these arch formations can be a challenge to find. Some of the arches are so well hidden and camouflaged, it requires a little more information than a dot on the map. A knowledgeable guide or your familiarity to track GPS coordinates will be a big help. Take heed novice arch hunters, the area surrounding the arches is located mostly on BLM land and lack the conveniences of state or federally governed parks. The tangle of unpaved and unsigned county roads will provide more unique challenges and will test your sense of direction. Most roads are suitable for passenger cars, but energy company trucks may be surprise you at the top of a hill.

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