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  1. Default Las Vegas to Albuquerque

    I am a new poster and am looking for advice/recommendations for a proposed trip from Albuquerque (or Santa Fe -- whichever is easier) to Vegas. My family (including 2 kids ages 7 and 10) is currently planning on stops at Mesa Verde, Natural Bridges National Monument, Bryce Canyon and Zion. We will be going the first week in April and have 9 days. We will want to spend possibly 2 days in Vegas. Given our time frame, is this a reasonable itinerary or are we biting off too much? Also, Since most of Mesa Verde will not be open when we are travelling, is it still worth the stop? Thanks in advance for any advice/thoughts you may have.

  2. Default Sure

    9 days is enough time to visit these parks on the way to Las Vegas and back.

    Since most of Mesa Verde will not be open when we are travelling, is it still worth the stop?
    If you want to see how earlier Americans lived in this area in the days before McDonalds this is a great place to see that story, even during the more limited winter season.

    I'd drive from your origin (whichever, doesn't make much difference really) and spend a night in Cortez, see MVNP the next morning. Go on to Natural Bridges from there -- and you could then go southwest to US89 to get the other parks or go through Hanksville and Boulder/Escalante to see Capital Reef and Grand Staircase Escalante at the same time (SR24 and SR12). I recommend the 2nd one as these highways are very pretty and the crossing of Lake Powell on SR95 is magnificent.

    This time of year, I advise you to stay on the main roads in this area -- back roads will still be muddy enough to get you in trouble.

    Good places for overnights are Cortez, Blanding, Torrey, & Bryce Canyon (lodges right outside the park).

    Spend a night at Bryce and Zion each and you still have time to get to Las Vegas and back to your starting point in 9 days -- almost exactly. Joseph G.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JNC
    I am a new poster and am looking for advice/recommendations for a proposed trip from Albuquerque (or Santa Fe -- whichever is easier) to Vegas.
    Starting from Albuquerque would be a little easier, and a little quicker, but starting from Santa Fe would be OK, too. From Albuquerque to Mesa Verde you’re looking at about a five hour drive. Cortez, CO and Mancos, CO are the closest towns to Mesa Verde. Durango, CO is 35 miles east of the park entrance.

    Two possible routes from Albuquerque:

    I-25 north to Bernalillo > US 550 northwest to Bloomfield > US 64 west to Shiprock, NM > US 491 ( formerly US 666 ) north to Cortez, CO.

    Or: I-25 north to Bernalillo > US 550 northwest to Bloomfield, then north to Durango, CO > US 160 west towards Cortez, CO. There are a few hills to go over between Durango and Cortez, but nothing too bad.

    Starting from Santa Fe:

    US 84 north to Chama, NM and continue to Pagosa Springs, CO > US 160 west to Durango, CO and continue towards Cortez, CO. This route takes you through more mountainous terrain than the routes from Albuquerque do. It’s a really beautiful drive.

    Have fun!

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