Santa Fe Travels: Visiting Plaza Blanca

Last week, I mentioned how we had a wonderful day at Bandelier National Monument. We had to park at the White Rock Visitors Center and take the required free shuttle to Bandelier. When we returned, while stopping at the visitor center for a quick bio break before the drive (I have never regretted, whenever there is a restroom available on car trips, stopping in if we’re already parked, just in case. Nope, never.) While there, we stopped and spoke with the knowledgeable people at the information desk on recommended other sights to see. Plaza Blanca was one I asked about as I had wonderful reviews on Tripadvisor, but there was precious little information on visiting Plaza Blanca logistics.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

They drew out on a map for us how to get there, as well as giving us a few other tips. When you are visiting a new place, I always like stopping at visitor centers. I browse through the brochures becomes sometimes eye candy can attract me to a new sight I hadn’t known of, there may be coupons for places I’m planning on going to anyway, and asking the locals who are in the know may reveal unique adventures off the regular beaten path.

The land belongs to Dar Al Islam Mosque, who generously allows people to still visit with no charge. When you arrive at the area, there will be a fork – the left goes to Dar Al Islam Mosque, while the right will go to a small area where you can park and walk to Plaza Blanca. It will be a gravelly bumpy road. When you first park, the view will probably look similar to this.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. When you first park in the area to the right of the fork from Dar Al Islam Mosque, this may be your initial view Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. When you first park in the area to the right of the fork from Dar Al Islam Mosque, this may be your initial view

The Plaza Blanca sign is the best you’ll get in confirming you’re at the right spot.
Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area.

But walk a little bit farther and you’ll recognize the formations. It is not a difficult walk, but don’t expect any marked trails, though there are worn pathways you can see.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations

These various formations in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, such as in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas. There are various other White Place art pieces as well.
The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area.

The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations. And the formations of the rocks twist, turn, and reach for the sky in different ways. Some seem scarred from battle.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations

Other rock formations seem like they are trying to soar

The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. The formations here in Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area.

Others rocks are steadfastly observing the passage of time and seem so solid, but walk around another side and seem precariously stacked and tease with nooks and crannies you want to peer into.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

We almost had the area all to ourselves except for only three other cars during our visit. F and I probably spent a couple hours here, just mesmerized by the formations and the juxtapositions of shapes and colors. I can understand how Georgia O’Keeffe loved to look at this from her window, walk here, and even camp here, and naturally, paint here with so much inspiration everywhere.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

And I still can’t get over how the sky in New Mexico is so brilliantly blue.

Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

Plaza Blanca also a great area to explore exploration of forms in black and white photography.
Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. It was first in From the White Place, 1940, oil on canvas, that she showcased the amazing forms of this area. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is located near Abiquiu, NM. The formations here were an inspiration for paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe.

There are not words to fully explain the quiet beauty that Plaza Blanca offers, a feeling of isolation from the world, it’s like a secret treasure offering peacefulness and dramatic formations. It seems every few steps and a turn was so picturesque in a new way.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

Plaza Blanca is about an hour north of Santa Fe in Abiquiu. You could make it a Georgia O’Keeffe themed day by visiting the museum in Santa Fe, driving to her Home and Studio for a tour in Abiquiu , and then getting away from the crowds at this secluded spot of Plaza Blanca a few miles away.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. The limestone rock formations rise to 500 feet in certain locations Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

I’m not sure if you can really tell the scale – here’s me really up close to some of the rocks to give you an idea how massive they are.
Providing a little scale of how large Plaza Blanca is in terms of height and width next to a person like me Providing a little scale of how large Plaza Blanca is in terms of height and width next to a person like me

Of course, be considerate of others, and leave no trace behind.
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

There are no facilities here – I think the closest restroom is at Bode’s General Store which also offers some comfort food like chile (in frito pie or chili fries form!), burritos, and sandwiches that you can enjoy here or take with you.

Are you a Georgia O’Keeffe fan? Would you seek out visiting some of her natural inspirations like Plaza Blanca?
Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. Plaza Blanca is 1 hour away from Santa Fe. Plaza Blanca, known also as the White Place, is a magical area located near Abiquiu, NM that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe.

Here’s the summary of my series of posts on Santa Fe, New Mexico Travels

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Comments

  1. These are such great photos! I love the B&W. And such a timely post given Meredith and I just booked our tickets to Santa Fe yesterday! I have definitely made sure this is on our list of things to do, as is the Georgia O’Keeffe museum!

    • If you go to the Georgia o’Keeffe museum I definitely recommend getting the audio tour or even going on the free docent tour if you can – the museum is surprisingly small, and when we went I was shocked at how little of her work there was and at the time, more exhibits on inspirations she had on other artists and showcasing that.

  2. As Erin noted, we’re heading that way in August. Going to be noting all of your recommendations!!

  3. Wow! Gorgeous! Another great post highlighting nature’s beauty! My husband would want to climb those, but I’m wondering if they’re off limits to rock climbers.

    • I’m not sure about rock climbing – when we went there was hardly anyone there, and no one was climbing, but there are also no official trails since the land belongs to the mosque so I’m not sure what regulations there are except to leave it the way you found it

  4. GORGEOUS photos, Pech! Love the contrast of the color photos and the B & W photos. Growing up, I was a big fan of Georgia O’Keefe – almost more of her life story than her work, but it’s always so wonderful to experience what has inspired artists I’ve admired. Thank you for sharing this!

    • I was a big fan of O’Keefe when I was in college, but haven’t really thought about her or her art for a long time so it was nice to revisit it during this trip

  5. You are so right! That sky is incredible, not to mention every other thing about the photos you took. I’d love to visit Santa Fe.

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