New Mexico State Road 6563

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State Road 6563

Sunspot Scenic Byway
NM 6563 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NMDOT
Length15.530 mi[1] (24.993 km)
Major junctions
South endSacramento Peak National Solar Observatory
North end NM 130 near Cloudcroft
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
Highway system
  • New Mexico State Highway System
NM 5001 NM 1
View exiting Sunspot, New Mexico

State Road 6563 (NM 6563), also known as the Sunspot Scenic Byway,[2] is a 15.530-mile-long (24.993 km) two-lane state highway in Otero County, New Mexico, United States.

Route description

NM 6563 begins at the National Solar Observatory at Sunspot in the Lincoln National Forest. It then travels northward to its northern terminus at NM 130.[3]

NM 6563 is one of only three four-digit state highways in New Mexico (the others being NM 1113 and NM 5001).[1] It takes its number from the wavelength of the Hydrogen-alpha spectral line (6563 Å) used by scientists at the observatory to study the solar chromosphere and to locate solar flares on the Sun.[4]

The solar observatory added signs along the highway in 2011 with the names of the planets as part of a 1:250 million model of the distances between planets in the Solar System.[5]


The highway was designated a National Forest scenic byway on October 6, 1990.[6]

Major intersections

The entire route is in Otero County.

Sunspot0.0000.000Sacramento Peak National Solar ObservatorySouthern terminus
15.53024.993 NM 130 (Cox Canyon Highway) – Cloudcroft, MayhillNorthern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ a b c "State Routes" (PDF). New Mexico Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2005. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  2. ^ Herow, William C. (April 1997). America's Scenic Drives: Travel Guide & Atlas. Roundabout Publications. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-885464-28-6. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  3. ^ Google (November 30, 2010). "NM 6563" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  4. ^ "Sunspot Scenic Byway" (PDF). New Mexico Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  5. ^ National Solar Observatory. "Sizing Up Your Solar System". Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  6. ^ National Optical Astronomy Observatories Newsletter. The Observatories. 1989. Retrieved November 30, 2010.

External links