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  1. #1

    Default Las Vegas to Trinity Site / Socorro Area.

    Hey all,

    I'm planning a road trip from Las Vegas out to the Socorro / Albuquerque area in the beginning of October (flying into Vegas, flying out of Albuquerque), to drop in on Trinity Site's Bi-annual opening on october 6th, (its a little nerdy I admit but I've always been curious about it). This will be my first time in the Southwest United States, and I am looking for suggestions on driving routes and sites for a first-timer between vegas and the Albuquerque area, I guess I'm mostly interested in stargazing and photo drives.

    I've given myself about 4 days to get to Socorro, and will have 3 days to just tour around the area upon arriving. I realize the Albuquerque Balloon Festival is going on the first weekend in October so that might make finding lodgings difficult, so I'm thinking of maybe avoiding the city until the day before I fly out.

    A lot of the forum posts I've read have been very informative so far. I've also looked through route books, and online, but would love to get some opinions, experiences or ideas while still deciding what to do.

    Thanks! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I-40 is the quickest route between the two points, though you could hop on US-180 in Holbrook, AZ and then connect to US-60 to get to Socorro, NM.

    You also have the option to traverse sections of old US-66, which was once the main route through this area.

    With four days to get to Socorro from Las Vegas, that means you only have to average about 180 miles a day - which gives you plenty of time to explore on the way. It looks like you even have time to take in the Grand Canyon, and I can't think of a better photo op than that.

    The Southwest is great for stargazing - I don't think I've ever seen so many stars, even when comparing a Northeast winter sky to a Southwest Summer sky! I guess that's why the Lowell Observatory was built in Flagstaff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Few Stops on the Way

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Just some random thoughts. One of these days I'm going to get to Trinity myself, nerdy or not and whether I glow afterwards or not. Anyway, just east of Flagstaff are two good sites for relatively quick but informative stops: Walnut Canyon National Monument and Meteor Crater. From Holbrook, I'd recommend that you head southeast on US-180 to Eager/Springerville and then enter New Mexico on US-60. This routing is a good bit more scenic than I-40 and will set you up for a visit to the VLA on your way into Socorro. And one final spot to visit if you have time before leaving Albuquerque is Petroglyph National Monument.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-08-2007 at 08:53 AM.

  4. #4

    Default

    Just some random thoughts. One of these days I'm going to get to Trinity myself, nerdy or not and whether I glow afterwards or not
    Hehe. Apparently you won't glow, but you can find Trinitite, basically a fused glass in the sand which is still mildly radioactive. :) Also the VLA is something I'm curious about seeing as well so thanks for that cut of suggestion.

    Mass Tim, thanks for the tip about the Lowell Observatory.

    I wondered the other day if I had enough time to go up and around / past the canyon and close to monument valley, but that could be pushing it too much for only 4 days drive (as its really close to utah). Any thoughts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    I wondered the other day if I had enough time to go up and around / past the canyon and close to monument valley, but that could be pushing it too much for only 4 days drive (as its really close to utah).

    I was wondering if you could fit both the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley into this trip as well. If you could make it to Farmington, NM in three days, that would just leave a five hour drive to Socorro for the fourth.

    A couple suggestions for you:

    It would only take two hours to drive from Socorro to Santa Fe.

    The Salinas Pueblo Missions near Mountainair, NM. There are three separate sites, none more than two hours from Socorro. Then, from Mountainair, the drive north along the eastern side of the Manzano Mtns., on NM Hwys. 55 and 337, takes you through a number of small towns and some nice scenery. NM 337 ends at I-40, which you would take west to Albuquerque, then I-25 south, one hour back to Socorro.

  6. #6

    Default

    I was wondering if you could fit both the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley into this trip as well. If you could make it to Farmington, NM in three days, that would just leave a five hour drive to Socorro for the fourth.
    Hmmm, I think i could make it to Farmington in 3 days, how do you guys think this would work as an idea for a rough plot:

    day 1: vegas (Stay the night)

    day 2: drive old 66 to flagstaff area (stay the night in flagstaff or aorund there)

    day 3: See the canyon and stay around it or in maybe tuba city or kayenta area

    day 4: Drive up around monument valley for the day, stay in or around farmington

    day 5: Do the 5 hour drive down to the socorro area, check out the VLA, stay over night around socorro

    day 6 (saturday): Trinity Site / explore around

    day 7- 8: explore around south of Albuquerque for a bit, stay in Albuquerque over night on the 8th day.

    day 9: fly out of albequrque.

    I think this may be do-able given the days to drive it. If its a stretch I will think of other things. :) Oh and Howard, thanks for the tip about the Salinas Pueblo Missions. :)
    Last edited by _nadine; 08-10-2007 at 11:42 PM.

  7. Default Looks like a good plan...

    Hi nadine -- the plan basically looks reasonable.

    If I may offer a couple of suggestions:

    Seond day -- I'd do Las Vegas to old 66 to possibly Tusayan (right near the Grand Canyon National Park). I wouldn't go to Flagstaff. While Flagstaff has the best selection of hotels in the area, its a little bit (like 45-60 minutes) out of the way. If you head north at Williams to Tysayan, you'll be on a direct route into the Park.

    Then the Third Day, I'd drive along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and exit out the east side of the park, and head for the Monument Valley area. This maximizes your time at the park.

    You might have enough time on the Fourth Day to do Monument Valley and then head south and end up near Gallup or Albuquerque. Which would make the drive to Socorro a much shorter drive.

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