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  1. #1

    Default Michigan to New Mexico, which way should I go?

    I will be going to New Mexico from Michigan within the next month. I have done this trip before, however it was just a drive-through with my sister and I didn't stop to see anything along the way.

    I am not quite sure of my route yet. I will be arriving in Farmington, which is in the 4 corners part of NM, and there seems to be a couple of different routes (I do not want to go by I-40 and drive from Albuquerque north on 550, I've done THAT drive too often.)

    I can go Illinois-Iowa-Nebraska-Colorado or Illinois-Missouri-Kansas-Colorado. I would like to camp instead of get a hotel room, however it seems that Iowa and Nebraska has few options as far as parks-forests go. Missouri seems to have a lot of options for parks, especially if I go down I-44, but then I am not sure if there is a route I can take without going too far down south. One option is that I leave the interstate system after Missouri, but I do not know how practical that will be. Time is not an issue.

    Well, if anyone has any thoughts on places in any of these states, especially camping spots, please share them. Also, anything to see along the way? Has anyone else done the Michigan-New Mexico trip?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Look again

    I think you need to take another look, because there are lots of camping options along I-80 in Iowa and Nebraska.

    For example, if you look at the Nebraska State Parks site they've got a handy map feature that shows about a dozen campgrounds right off I-80. Just scanning the map, I also found several state parks in Iowa that would also work. And these are only state park sites, if you know about where you are going to be stopping for the night, you can also look for commercial campgrounds or county parks where camping is allowed.

    I'm guessing maybe you only looked at National Forest sites?

    If you do want to take I-44 and take some 2 lane roads across the plains, either US-54 or US-160 would be good options to take across Southern Kansas/Colorado.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default 'New' Road

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I am a big fan of options and finding 'new' roads to get from point A to point B. In your case, I think that the basic route of I-80 through Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, and then I-76 to Denver sets you up for a very scenic crossing of the Rockies via US-285 to Center, CO, CO-114 to Del Norte, and US-160 over Wolf Creek Pass (10,863') to just south of Druango, and finish up on US-550 into Farmington from the north. This is a solid three days of driving from Michigan City, IN, but if you can add another 2 or 3 days, you can explore the Amana Colonies in Iowa, the old Oregon Trail sites along the Platte River in Nebraska, and Rocky Mountain National Park north of Boulder, CO.

    As far as camping goes, my atlas shows lots of state parks with campsites along I-80 throughout Iowa and Nebraska, and at least a couple along the short stretch of I-76 in Colorado on the way to Denver. Crossing the Rockies, you'll be going through Pike, Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests with plenty of camping options. So check out the state park and national forest websites to see which work best for you.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you want to take I-44, I can recommend the following route, but I don't know what the camping options are:

    Get off I-44 at MO exit 72 (MO-266). This will put you on the routing of old Route 66. Take that to Paris Springs and pick up MO-96 (Note - at the junction, you can take a slight detour onto a signed stretch of Historic 66 - about 1 mile long - and go past an old restored gas station). Take that into Carthage and go through town. After you go under US-71, it becomes a freeway (MO-171/Bus-71/MO-96). Get off at the first exit to stay on 96, take that to MO-171 northwest of Joplin in Carl Junction. Turn right and take that into KS and pick up US-400 through Wichita. Stay on 400 into CO, where it becomes US-50. Take that to La Junta and pick up CO-10 to Walsenburg, and then take US-160 to Durango. From there, US-550 will take you to Farmington.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post

    I'm guessing maybe you only looked at National Forest sites?
    Yeah, I only looked into National Forests, since there is the highest likelihood of free camp spots, and I don't get "tricked" thinking a place is a campground, when it really is more of an RV-ground.

    I found out how to look for "camping" in google maps, and brought up a lot of options :).

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