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  1. Default New Mexico- Albuquerque to Where?

    Arriving Oct. 4th for Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. Have three days planned there. Then comes the dilemma...which way to head from there? Either northeast to Santa Fe and Taos or west to Flagstaff and up to Grand Canyon. We have 11 days and don't want to feel worn out on our return home. As we usually try to pack in so many miles that we are exhausted on our return. We've quit calling them vacations and started calling them "sight-seeing trips." Can we make the big loop from Flagstaff up to Grand Canyon through Monument Valley and 4 corners and back through Taos and Santa Fe within that time frame and not feel drained? Or is that just too much? If you think so, any suggestions for "must-see" sights in Northern NM would be appreciated. If we just stick to NM, what should be see. We like everything so any thoughts or insights would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Make the Loop

    The complete loop from Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon then up through Monument Valley to Pagosa Springs and back down through Santa Fe and back to Albuquerque is less than a thousand miles, so even with only 8 days, you'd have to spend less than 3 hours a day 'on the road'. You'd probably spend that much time making day-trip type drives if you just stayed in New Mexico. The rest of each day could be spent leisurely exploring all the great sights along the way including the Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde and the Taos Pueblo among many others.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default I'll be in ABQ also

    Arriving Oct. 4th for Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. Have three days planned there.
    Cool, we'll see you there. I'm arriving with my family in ABQ on Friday, October 3rd and staying until Monday, October 6th. We plan on doing things in between the dawn/dusk balloon ascent events such as scaling the Sandia mountains (via lift) to the east and visiting Santa Fe to the north.

    After our trip, we're heading west and staying for a few days in the remote town of Sedona, AZ. On the way there we'll be going through the Petrified National Forest and stopping by the big meteor crater off I-40.

    I take it you probably don't want to venture that far away (to Sedona) from your base, but eastern AZ will have its share of interesting stuff to see. Oh, and don't limit yourself to just the north part of New Mexico. Remember there's also Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands National Monument to the south if you want to stay in NM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default It's hard to whittle down choices sometimes

    I'm like you. I tend to want to cram too much in. There's nothing wrong with that but, at the same time, a more leisurely vacation is nice sometimes, too.

    I agree with AZBuck that you can easily do that loop in 8 days and leave yourself plenty of time to explore and relax along the way. But Kinless does bring up other good options.

    Some of the fun loop trips easily done in 8 days to choose from are:
    1. AZBuck's suggestion
    2. Albuquerque-Sante Fe-Taos-Tucumcari-Ft. Sumner-Carlsbad Caverns-El Paso-White Sands-Very Large Array-Albuquerque
    3. Albuquerque-Sante Fe-Taos-Great Sand Dunes National Park-Leadville-Aspen-Million Dollar Highway-Durango-Mesa Verde-Gallup-Albuquerque
    4. Albuquerque-Gallup-Petrified Forest-Winslow-Flagstaff-Sedona-Phoenix-Tucson-Bisbee/Tombstone-Albuquerque

    There's more but any of these would work in the time you have. You just have to make a decision on which things you want to see the most.

    Personally, I'd do #1. While all have amazing scenery and would be quite interesting and fun, I think that one has the best of 'em.

    Let us know how we can help you further.

  5. Default thanks guys

    Ok, guess we're going with AZ buck's suggestions. That we can do this and still be sane and somewhat rested within the time frame. We were excited to do the GC but were just afraid we were trying to pack in too much. GC here we come!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Good decision!

    I have been lucky to see a lot of interesting things in my life. Few things have inspired as much jaw-dropping awe is the Grand Canyon. Pictures just don't do it justice.

    Do you have any specific questions on your route, places to stay, etc.?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisDeb
    Any suggestions for "must-see" sights in Northern NM would be appreciated.
    Well, AZBuck already mentioned Taos Pueblo, which you really shouldn’t miss. You can find more suggestions on this thread.

    There are two narrow gauge railroads on your loop: the Durango & Silverton in Durango, CO, and the Cumbres & Toltec in Chama, NM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless
    We plan on doing things in between the dawn/dusk balloon ascent events such as scaling the Sandia mountains (via lift) to the east and visiting Santa Fe to the north.
    The drive up I-25 to Santa Fe doesn’t take long at all, less than an hour from the Balloon Fiesta Park. One thing you might want to check out is the Harvest Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum south of Santa Fe, being held Oct. 4th/5th.

    I’m sure you’ve already looked at the Balloon Fiesta website, but I do want to point out the page that has maps of the Balloon Fiesta Park and the how traffic is routed into the park. (the printable versions show better detail) The traffic is pretty heavy, but the APD and Sheriff’s officers directing traffic do a good job getting everybody in and out of the park. Try to get out there early, the gates open at 5:30 am.

    Have fun, and if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
    Last edited by howard; 09-05-2008 at 10:53 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default Route 66

    At least part of the time you should try to cruise the Mother Road.

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