Final Morning and Parting Thoughts on Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa

The odorless geothermal waters did the trick and I slept soundly my second night at Sierra Grande Ranch. I woke up refreshed and a bit sad I did not have time for another soak and one of the massage treatments before departing.


I took advantage of the coffee service in the lobby before heading downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. Service was once again friendly.

Spending a few days glamping in Southern New Mexico was really enjoyable. I would recommend the Sierra Grande Ranch as a nice add-on destination on for anyone planning a visit to Santa Fe or Albuquerque. It was nice to explore a different part of the state. The geothermal spa waters are quite enjoyable and the privacy offered by the private pools made the experience very pleasant.

lodge sign

Sierra Grande Ranch is intimate, friendly and comfortable but not posh. The casita offers the most privacy and space if you are staying for more than a few days or for families. The rooms in the main lodge are comfortable and have everything you need to be comfortable for a few nights.

Even if you don’t spend the night, I’d highly recommend a day visit to the spa ($30 for one to two non-guests) and a soak in the lovely scent-free waters.

cook your own food

The Restaurant at Sierra Grande is definitely worthy of a visit if you are passing through. Chef Tatsu Miyazaki’s menu was innovative and his food delicious. The dinner I had at The Restaurant at Sierra Grande was better than any I ate in foodie-centric Santa Fe. The restaurant expects to have it’s liquor license by the end of the summer.

Truth or Consequences is an eclectic little town and the nearby Elephant Butte Dam is beautiful and recreation area is worth exploring.


If you get a chance to visit, I would definitely encourage you to organize a tour or activity with Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX). My tour of the Ladder Ranch was fun, interesting, and gave me new insight into the southwest and the history of New Mexico. It was the absolute highlight of the trip. TTX is working on more active expeditions including mountain biking adventures. They can work with guests at the Sierra Grande Ranch and Vermejo Park Ranch to arrange personalized tours and activities based on specific interests.


The most popular time to visit is October through May. New Mexico’s “monsoon” season is June 15- September 30th. July is the hottest month with the temperatures averaging 95. It’s not surprising that the hot springs aren’t as popular during these months.


If you get a chance to visit, don’t miss trying the Hatch green chiles favored by the locals. They like to serve them on hamburgers and you can try them for yourself at the Owl Bar & Cafe in Sorocco if you are passing through on your way to Albuquerque. The locals like them hot so you might request mild if you are an inexperienced chile eater.

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Rates at Sierra Grande Ranch and Spa start at $155 for a Queen bedded room in the main Lodge. The Casita can be booked for up to four people with rates starting at $415 per night.


The Ladder Ranch can be booked for $6,000 per night and is suitable for families or groups.


Costilla Lodge at Vermejo Park Ranch is also part of the TTX property portfolio with rates beginning at $950 per night.

Day 2 at Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa

When I woke up after a good night’s sleep at Sierra Grande Lodge, I was thrilled that there was piping hot coffee service ready in the lobby downstairs. I helped myself to a couple of cups while checking my email and getting ready for a full day of exploring southern New Mexico.


Once hunger kicked in, it was time for breakfast at the Lodge at Sierra Grande’s Restaurant. Breakfast (a $25 dollar value per person) is included for guests of the hotel. I ordered the huevos rancheros and thought they were great. My husband went for the breakfast burrito, and a delicious juice of the day (Berry Blast). Both got high scores from my husband.


Then we got a tour of the two-bedroom casita at the hotel. It’s a lovely stand-alone property located next to the main Lodge and has its own outdoor soaking pool and landscaped grounds. Sometimes La Casita and its grounds are booked for weddings. The casita also has a full kitchen and dining room complete with gorgeous stained glass. It is definitely the room to book if you want a large private space to hang out, since there is a large living room separating the two bedrooms.


Most of the day was spent taking a tour of nearby Ladder Ranch with Ken Stinnett of Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX). This was the highlight of the trip! Ken picked us up at the Sierra Grande Lodge and drove us to Ladder Ranch, which is located about a half hour’s drive away in Hillsboro. Ken was a great guide. He was personable and knowledgeable about both the Ladder Ranch as well as the Turner Foundation, which is focused on protecting and restoring the natural world in this part of the county.


The Turner Foundation has projects and initiatives intended to safeguard the natural habitat and promoting sustainable living. Ken also told us about the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and a few of their programs. Some of these projects take place right on the Ladder Ranch, including helping restore populations of the Chiricahua leopard frog, prairie dog, and Bolson tortoise.


Once we drove through the gates to Ladder Ranch, we had an enjoyable time watching the goings on of Prairie Dog town. We saw the cute critters for ourselves popping in and out of burrows as we drove onto the property.


Ken then showed up the headquarters for the Chiricahua leopard frog project including the tadpole hatching pools. It’s an impressive set up and it was interesting to see the tadpoles thriving until they are large enough to release into their natural habitat.


We got into a Polaris Ranger to drive around the ranch. Ken gave us a quick tour of the bunk house on ladder ranch, which is sometimes used by groups who come for seasonal turkey hunts. We also toured the main house of Ladder Ranch, which was renovated back in the early 90s. It is a lovely property, complete with an impressive pottery collection and gorgeous billiard room. Comfortable as the main house is, it is intentionally down-to-earth, keeping with Turner’s ethic and vision. This impressed me.


Next Ken took us on a drive off to explore more of the ranch. We drove passed wild turkeys, quail, and geese and even bumped into three young deer bucks. The Polaris doesn’t have a windshield and the ride was exhilarating, with the wind blowing and the skies shifting. There were storms off to one direction and the clouds shifted from puffy to moody several times during our tour of the property.


Next we got off the Polaris and took a short hike where we explored a gorgeous slot canyon by foot. There we saw some wildlife, including red tailed hawks, turkey vultures, and lizards. Ken knew all the birds and could mimic them with expert calls. He even pointed out some plants, including a sort of thistle that can be used as a salad green when it is young.


While exploring the ground, were found some very cool shelters carved into the walls of the canyon, and we even saw some ancient petroglyphs and old pottery shards. There were even artifacts of a mortar and pestle type tool used by previous populations who lived on this the land.

TTX is starting to ramp up their active tourism options and Ken told me that the Ladder Ranch has excellent terrain for mountain biking and other outdoor activities which can be arranged through Ted Turner Expeditions.


We returned to Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa in time to enjoy an afternoon soak in the geothermal waters. It was very pleasant and the water temperature not as hot as I feared it might be. It helps that the private pools have steps so you can vary how deep you are sitting in the water to help regulate your temperature. The 30 minute soak was relaxing and a private shower allowed us to rinse off before heading back to our room.


For dinner we headed back down to the restaurant to try some of chef Tatsu Miyazaki’s cuisine, which we had heard raves about from all the staff. We started with the pecan-crusted chile rellenos. Green chiles are the local food of choice in New Mexico and I was a bit afraid they might be too hot. But they were delicious! The pecan breading was light and not the least bit greasy and the cheese the right degree of melted. The dish wasn’t overly heavy and paired nicely with the chile lemonade.

For our main course, my husband ordered the bison burger. We spent some time on the Ladder Ranch searching for the bison herds that free range but were unable to find them. I suppose losing sight of one’s bison herds goes with the territory of Ted Turner being the largest private land owner in the state of New Mexico. Chef Tatsu’s burger was served with pepper jack cheese and tomato on a Kaiser bun. The burger was lean and deliciously memorable.

cook your own food

I ordered the Hot Rock Steak– marinated Black Angus beef tenderloin skewers that I got to cook myself on a rock heated to 500 degrees. The dish was served with brown rice, seasonal vegetables and sunomono cucumber salad. Chef Tatsu finds and gathers the rocks himself on his travels and has them treated so they are safe to cook with. The meat was flavorful and light and the whole meal a fun and satisfying experience. Unfortunately we were too full to try dessert. The berry crème brulee sounded delicious!

lodge trail

We took an after dinner stroll around downtown Truth and Consequences before getting a good night’s sleep back at the lodge.

Arrival and Day 1 at Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico is a sleepy little town about a two hour drive south of the Albuquerque airport. Formerly known as Hot Springs, New Mexico, the town is famous for the odorless geothermal waters which flow below the ground.

It was after lunch on Memorial Day and the holiday weekend rush had finished by the time Myra, the manager, checked us into our room. The staff was extremely friendly.

The Sierra Grande Lodge was built back in the 1920s and has seventeen rooms that are simple and charming, and one two bedroom stand-alone casita. All have free Wi-Fi.

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The main attraction in T&C, Myra explained, is the natural geothermal hot springs that run below the town and hit the earth’s surface at temperatures up to 107 degrees. The hotel’s spa has several private pools in their spa area and each guest of the hotel receives one 30- minute soaking bath per day. Some guests feel they get their fill within 15-20 minutes, while others use the full 30.

Unlike the natural hot springs I have visited in Iceland and Palm Springs, the water in Truth or Consequences is odorless and lacks the telltale sulfur scent.

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Blair Wyman, who works as the House Manager at Ladder Ranch (another Ted Turner Expeditions property nearby) took us on a tour of the spa and explained that the healing waters in Truth or Consequences have long been a draw for tourists to Truth or Consequences, which was known as Hot Springs, New Mexico until 1950 when the town voted to change its name in a promotion started by Radio host Ralph Edwards and his “Truth or Consequences” radio show. The name stuck.

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For a small hotel, the spa at Sierra Grande Lodge has a rather extensive spa menu which includes several kinds of massage, body scrubs, wraps and facials as well as aromatherapy treatments. There are several private pools to soak in the hot springs, which vary in size. The smallest can handle a single person or couple, while largest can accommodate up to eight people for a group soak.

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The Sierra Grande Lodge also has a restaurant, which is currently in the process of getting it’s liquor license. Blair told us where we could purchase liquor at a grocery store in town and gave us the name of a bar in nearby Elephant Butte, where we could get a margarita.

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We drove five miles away to check out the Elephant Butte State Park recreation area and the Elephant Butte Reservoir and Dam, which turns 100 this year. It was a nice spot to take in the sunset. Rain clouds moved in and we drove back to Truth or Consequences and got dinner in town at the Los Arcos Steakhouse, which has been a favorite of tourists passing through the area since 1970.

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We headed back to the lodge to get a good night’s sleep before exploring the Ladder Ranch with Ted Turner Expeditions in the morning.