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  1. Default 1st time SW loop

    Hello Everyone!
    I have never seen the sites of the Southwest and it looks like I will be doing this on my own. I can fly into one city and then drive in a circle but I want to catch as much of the scenery as possible! We originally planned 10 days but I am more flexible now. Safe places to be is important.
    Some things I dream about: Sedona, Santa Fe, the desert, pueblo cliff homes, Anasazi Ruins, Monument valley, White Sands, Bryce Canyon UT, Arches UT, Zion National Park UT. Maybe touch in the 4 corners and Carlsbad Caverns?
    The only places I have seen are Las Vegas, with a Grand canyon- Route 66 - Hoover dam day trip. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The basics.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To turn those 'dreamy places' into reality I would recommend you search the forums and other road trip planning pages in the tool bars above and work on how to fit those places in with the time you have [or will need] and build your trip from there. You should look for flight prices and car rental costs to see which City will make the most sense to start and finish in. If it is an International flight I would think that Las Vegas or Phoenix would be best suited to create a loop and hit those spots. What you have is a little ambitous for a 10 day trip so you will need to extend your time and/or decide what is more appealing and what to drop from the itinerary.

    Safety shouldn't be an issue as long as you use your common sense as you would when going out near home, after all every place is someones home town. Use your instincts, if a place doesn't feel right, it often isn't.

    Once you have the basics sorted we can help to 'fine tune' your trip and make suggestions
    along the way, but for now I would do a little homework and enjoy the planning, it is a fun part of the trip !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Just so you're aware. It is about 5 hours from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, before you stop at the Dam or detour onto Route 66. That's too much to to as a daytrip, and doing it as you've described will take you nearly all day just to get to the Canyon.

    Now with your overall plan, that shouldn't be a big deal, especially since there is a good chance you'll want to continue onto other parks after GC rather than heading back to Vegas anyway, but you do need to keep in mind the size of distances in the west as you start to make a plan.

  4. Default

    Thanks you Guys!
    I was too broad in my first post. I have spent many days on your site and all it does is add more to my "want to see" list!
    More specifically, would a trip between Sedona, AZ and Albequeque, NM, including side trips, give me a thorough view of the Southwest? I do not want to miss anything spectacular!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default 'Quick' Southwest Loop

    Phoenix is probably your best bet for an arrival/departure city as it is a hub for both a legacy carrier (USAirways) and a discount carrier (Southwest) and has considerable competition for travel dollars. I recently did a one-week trip through roughly that same area. Certainly with 10 days you can see quite a bit of the beauty of the southwest. As a general routing, and with some suggestions for places to consider visiting, you can first head up to Sedona, then up through Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. Visit some of the lesser known national monuments in that area: Walnut Creek, Sunset Crater, Wupatki. Next head up through Monument Valley all the way up to Arches National Park. Double back south and then head into southwestern Colorado past Canyons of the Ancients National Monument to Mesa Verde National Park. At this point, if you really want, you can make a side trip to Four Corners. Continue across southern Colorado to Pagoasa Springs and then head down to Taos and Santa Fe. Visit Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque and then head west to Painted Desert/Petrified Forest. From there, return to Phoenix via Show Low and the Salt River Canyon completing your loop. That will get yo to some of the best the Southwest has to offer. And you'll only have to be in your car 3-4 hours a day to cover it all.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-20-2011 at 10:12 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Still quite broad.

    With 10 days you will miss many spectacular things, but you would also do so with 10 weeks available ! So lets concentrate on what you could see and not what you might miss.

    From Sedona to Albu you could visit Walnut canyon, Petrified forest and Zuni Pueblo [Sky City] along the I 40 corridor. You could visit Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo and/or White sands and Carlsbad caverns. Personally I would head North towards the National parks of Southern Utah from Albu as you mentioned, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon and Zion NP's are all possibilities and each and every one is spectacular in their own right. On the way 'up' you could visit Mesa Verde NP, Four corners or take a spectacular steam train ride from Durango to the mountain town of Silverton. On the way 'down' is Page with Antelope canyon and Lake Powell nearby, Cameron Trading post, the Grand canyon and Sunset Volcanic crater and somewhere in between is the likes of Monument valley and Canyon De Chelley.

    Choosing from those and creating a loop trip would give you a "good view" of the Southwest, but you won't be dissapointed if you stick more specifically around Sedona and Albu.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Dee2011 View Post
    More specifically, would a trip between Sedona, AZ and Albequeque, NM, including side trips, give me a thorough view of the Southwest? I do not want to miss anything spectacular!
    Sounds to me like you need to get a good size paper map of the US, or the South West, to get a good perspective of where one place is, in relation to another. Good ones are the National Parks map, National Geographics wall map, or the AAA 'Indian Country' map.


  8. #8


    We did a similar trip last year. Because we only had 10 days, we flew into Vegas & drove from there to Grand Canyon/Sedona (ballooning there is great!), then east on I-40. There are plenty of side trips off I-40, but it's really according to what distance you consider to be a side trip. If you stick to I-40, the things Dave mentioned above (Walnut canyon, Petrified forest and Zuni Pueblo [Sky City]) plus Sunset Crater, the Wupatki NM, Painted Cliffs, Bandera & Laguna Pueblo are all easy to get to from the interstate. If you drive on into Albuquerque/Santa Fe, you will find many things to do/see. We drove on south through Roswell (kids!), visited Carlsbad & White Sands, then flew out of El Paso. The AAA books are great to keep in the car for ideas on stops too, but nothing beats a really good detailed map!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    By "Sky City" I think you mean Acoma pueblo, not Zuni; a little farther up the road.

    I didn't see anybody mention Canyon de Chelly; great combo of scenery, Anasazi ruins, and direct interaction with Navajos (take a guided tour through the valley).

    ah, in looking back, I see S/W Dave did throw in C d C.

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