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  1. Default What to see in the Southwest???

    A friend and I are going on a 19 day cross-country road trip (late March into early April) - from NC out to Las Vegas and back seeing as much as possible on the way! We have a few pre-determined stops to visit family and friends, but have some wiggle room that we can't decide what to do with. We'd love some advice!

    We are planning on taking 1-40 there and back, as we are visiting family in Oklahoma both ways. After Oklahoma, we are not tied to I-40 though.

    We will visit Albuquerque/Sante Fe for couple of days, then have 6-8 days before we'll pass back through on our way home. (or we could skip Albuquerque on the way home to add a day or two, but we do need to hit Oklahoma on the way back).

    We'd like to spend a full day at the Grand Canyon (2 nights) and a full day in Vegas (2 nights). We have some interest in going South (Phoenix, Tucson, Saguaro, El Paso, Carlsbad Caverns,etc) and some interest in going North (Zion, Bryce, Arches, Mesa Verde). Are there weather concerns along the northern route going at this time of year?

    What are your recommendations - north or south? What are the must-see sights along either route. I've never seen anything along either route...

    Thanks for any words of wisdom!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As Much As You Can!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As long as 19 days sounds, time is going to be your limiting factor in what you can see on a round trip from North Carolina to Las Vegas. While you don't have to be tied to I-40, it does make a convenient backbone for at least one of the legs of your trip. Along its length besides Santa Fe, plan to make time for Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Petrified National Park, Meteor Crater, as well as these other sites in northern Arizona. Here's a little more detail on those plus a couple of others. If you have time, get up to Monument Valley in southeastern Utah as well. You can see Zion (but probably not Bryce Canyon as well) as a day trip from Las Vegas, which will be well worth adding another day to your stay in Vegas.

    Then you can return by way of Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso, looking at making some of these stops in the Tucson area, Tombstone and Bisbee. As you mentioned, in New Mexico, there's both White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns before cutting across west Texas back to Oklahoma. There's more, but you don't have forever. More's the pity!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I'd say that at that time of the year you are right to have some concerns about the weather. That said, all of the places that you have listed are well worth taking the time to venture in to. It is always difficult to tell what the weather is going to be more than a few days away from any trip.

  4. Default Wow!

    Thanks for such prompt replies! I appreciate the advice - especially mentioning some of those other sights in Arizona (I remember studying Meteor crater in high school and wanting to see it - but had forgotten all about it!)

    It sounds like you favor the southern routes seeing more of Arizona and New Mexico - forgoing most of the parks in Utah. I've read that those parks are all different - will visiting only Zion (and maybe Monument Valley time permitting) will give me enough of a flavor? (In addition to the grand canyon). I know time is the limiting factor (I wish I could see it all!), but want to make quality stops rather than running ourselves ragged trying to see everything... I guess we're leaning towards the southern route - but I'm reluctant to let go of seeing those parks in Utah. I guess something has to give.... We'd possibly like to cross the border briefly - if only for an afternoon... Do you recommend Juarez or Nogales (or neither)? Thanks again - what an awesome site you guys have!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Third Way

    You can, at your discretion, just as easily take a more northern course on one of your legs, seeing Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, even getting up to Arches before heading south again and going through Monument Valley and Mesa Verde, across Wolf Creek Pass, past Capulin Mountain and on to Amarillo and Oklahoma. There are no bad choices here, only tough ones.

    But if you want to take a quick side trip into Mexico, then you'll have to head south. I have not crossed the border at El Paso (Ciudad Juarez) but I suspect that, since both are large cities, such a crossing would have a very urban feel. I have crossed at Nogales (Nogales) and the feel is decidedly small town. Plan on walking across the border. It is simply not worth the hassle to try to insure your car for the crossing. Also you can walk to all the main shops in Nogales, Sonora - they're within a couple of blocks of the border. You MUST bring your passport, or failing that, your driver's license AND the original or a certified copy of your birth certificate. The days of a simple verbal declaration (Where you from?) are now officially over.


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