With 25 designated Wilderness areas, the Enchantment will exceed your expectations.

(TRAVPR.COM) USA - April 26th, 2012 - For years on end, the state of New Mexico carried a rather lackluster image of desolate economic landscape, remedial cultural life and generally little to offer in terms of tourist attractions. For a while, it seemed as if New Mexicans themselves were hell-bent on cultivating a Devil-May-Care attitude about it all. But now it seems as if the times are finally a-changin'.

New Mexico -also known as The Land of Enchantment- is sprucing up its image with a new ad campaign unveiled earlier this month to a nationwide audience that will get to discover why the state really is an outdoorsperson’s paradise, a fact that was recognized by Global Traveler Magazine as far back as December 2010.

Albuquerque's motto ("It's A Trip") really hits the nail on the head: with 17 National Parks within a 90-minute drive of the bustling metropolis, there is something to do for everyone--from waterskiing at Elephant Butte Lake to white-water rafting on the Rio Grande to horseback riding in Ruidoso to hot-air ballooning in Albuquerque.

And then, there is also hiking.

When it comes to hiking, New Mexico becomes a never-ending playground, from the Sandia Mountains with popular and easily accessible foothill trails, to more remote and out-of-the-way hiking adventures in one of the state's many Wilderness areas and National Forests.

With a wide range of ecosystems--grasslands, savanna, lower and upper Sonoran deserts, Chihuahuan desert, Alpine environment; many 12,000+ foot peaks and 7-named 13,000+ foot peaks scattered around the state, and weather patterns that can turn on you at the drop of a hat, safety remains a priority for most people involved in outdoor activities such as hiking.

In effect, while Mount Wheeler, New Mexico's tallest peak at 13,065 feet, is a fairly popular and accessible day-long hike, raging year-round winds, violent summer thunderstorms and unpredictable winter snowstorms can make the 16-mile roundtrip quite challenging and borderline dangerous for the inexperienced hiker. Add to that altitude sickness--which often kicks in above 9,000 feet of elevation--and you can find yourself in dire straits before you know it.

Luckily, hiking outfitters abound in the state. Before hiring one however, make sure they are approved by the United States Forest Service and/or the Bureau of Land Management as a lot of New Mexico's best hikes are found on National Forest Lands or state managed properties. Also, these outfitters will know which pueblo lands are accessible and will have the required permits to make your trip one to remember.

Another area of concern is safety. Always inquire whether the outfitter you are considering for hire is prepared for backcountry emergencies. Reputable agencies such as NOLS (National Outdoors Leadership School) and WMA (Wilderness Medical Associates) provide the gold standard in such training.

Lastly, consider this: most of the time hiking guides provide a much more invaluable service than any guide book could. Most professional hiking guides are a wealth of knowledge in many a various topic such as history, plant and animal life, geology, art, and will more often than not enhance your hiking experience with their interpretive skills.

So next time you are considering hiking in New Mexico, consider hiring a professional guide. They will really make your trip to the Land of Enchantment one you will never forget.

New Mexico, tourism, hiking, travel, safety, outdoors, recreation, mountains, backpacking, hiking trail      
Contact Name:     Adelaide McMillan - New Mexico Enchanted Hikes, LLC
Phone #:     505-847-6348
Email:     info@NewMexicoEnchantedHikes.com
Web:     http://www.NewMexicoEnchantedHikes.com