On our way to our Chavez Canyon hike this summer, we happened to pass through the town of Abiquiu, NM and subsequently Ghost Ranch, NM. Ghost Ranch was the estate of Georgia O’Keeffe, the famous artist and painter. She found great inspiration in the red rock topography of the area and the nearby mountain, Pedernal. It was easy to understand that inspiration, even for us non-artist types, as we traveled through the area on the way to our hike.
I had been a Georgia O’Keeffe fan long before ever setting foot in northern New Mexico. But like O’Keeffe, the first time I got a glimpse of Pedernal back in 2000 as we were traveling through the state for the first time, I was hooked.
Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center consists of 21,000 acres of red rock canyons, majestic mesas and amazing skies. Situated at 6,500 feet above sea level, the terrain offers much to the artist, writer and nature enthusiast alike. Currently operated by the Presbyterian Church, Ghost Ranch has as its mission to provide a place for deep self-exploration in a variety of areas.
To that end, there are numerous program options, something for every interest and price range. One option is a one night exploration of the area available for $89. Visitors enjoy breathtaking views of the towering rock walls and vivid colors of Ghost Ranch – where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted for over fifty years. With two museums, gift shops, a bodywork program, a library and incredible hiking trails you’ll partake in some of the best New Mexico has to offer. There is no phone or TV in your room so prepare yourself for a completely uninterrupted retreat and adventure.
A longer option, at a higher price point of $360, is a hiking exploration of the area. Visitors spend five days hiking and exploring some of the near and far reaches of the 21,000 acres that make up Ghost Ranch. You’ll see places off the beaten path not usually visited. Hikes will be 5-7 miles in length at elevations up to 7,500 feet. Some of the hiking will be off trail on uneven ground. Optional evening activities round out the day.
Still other options include courses with local artists, working, living and painting the very hills by which O’Keeffe was inspired. One week long workshop invited students to spend six days in the canyons of Abiquiu exploring connections to the land by giving form to them in art and learning application and landscape principles as well.
For the anthropology enthusiast, there are also opportunities to explore scientific discoveries. Tawa hallae, a new species of small carnivorous dinosaur discovered at Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center is the oldest North American dinosaur known from almost complete skeletons. This discovery provides new information on the evolution of early dinosaurs and their dispersal across ancient continents.
If you are at a loss for a gift for the sports, art, nature or science enthusiast in your life, or just looking for something different for the curious at heart, or a special gift for yourself, give the gift of a course or a stay at Ghost Ranch. It is sure to be appreciated!
Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.