From El Paso, follow the first...
From El Paso, follow the first transcontinental stagecoach line in the United States the 1858-61 Butterfield Trail (hiway 28). Next to Las Cruces, visit La Mesilla, the onetime Mexican border town where the Gadsden Purchase was signed in 1853. Visit the Territorial Inn where Bec and I had our wedding reception. Stop by the Billy the Kid Saloon in Las Cruces, too.
Then head west on Interstate 10. Turn South at Deming, home of the Great American Duck Race in August, on Hiway 11 to Rock Hound State Park where you can get and take home agate, jasper and opal samples. Then tour Pancho Villa State Park, in Columbus, NM where the Mexican revolutionary's forces attacked a U.S. Army encampment in March, 1916. Back on I-10 to Lordsburg. Near Lordsburg are the ghost towns of Shakespeare and Steins, where Curly Bill Brocius and Johnny Ringo hung out.
Go Northeast (Hiway 90) from Lordsburg to Silver City, to see mansard-roofed Victorian homes. The Silver City Museum being a prime example. Near Silver City are the Santa Rita Open-Pit Copper Mine (my ex-father in law was the Superintendent at one time), one of the largest mining operations in the country, and City of Rocks State Park, a place of weirdly shaped volcanic tuff. --another volcanic discharge is schist. So occasionally, if your a luck geology student you get to say tuff schist to your friends. OK it is not a great joke but every Geology 101 student knows that sometime life is just tuff schist. --- Just north of Silver City is the ghost town of Pinos Altos, which endured numerous Apache attacks in its heyday, 1867-1880. Still farther north is remote Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in the heart of the vast Gila National Forest, the first Congressionally designated forest in the country. If time permits, farther east are the hot mineral baths of Truth or Consequences, and fishing at Elephant Butte and Caballo Lakes, on the Rio Grande.
To the east, beneath the foreboding Black Range — the strong-hold of famed Indian leaders Cochise, Mangas Coloradas, Victorio and Geronimo — is the ghost town of Kingston, once one of the
rowdiest mining camps in New Mexico.