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  1. Default Phoenix > Santa Fe and Back at Christmas

    Planning to spend Christmas in Santa Fe and we're trying to decide whether to fly from Phoenix and rent a car in Albuquerque or drive from Phoenix to SFe and back. If we drive it will be in a little Phoenix (no snow tires) Hyundai Elantra. Concerns are costs and safety.

    Google says fastest drive is Rte. 40 from Phoenix to Albuquerque and 60 north to Santa Fe (8+ hrs) but I hear that it's deadly dull. Anybody have any suggestions? I'm willing to do a slightly longer drive, but want it to be over in one day and don't want to drive in excessive snow with desert tires.

    Many thanks for any suggestions.

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

    Default dull?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Google says fastest drive is Rte. 40 from Phoenix to Albuquerque and 60 north to Santa Fe (8+ hrs) but I hear that it's deadly dull.
    I'm sorry, but I'm both confused and baffled by that statement.

    First, by Rte. 40, I assume you mean I-40? I-40 is part of the Fastest Route, but its located about 100 miles north of Phoenix, and you've got several options to get there.

    Then 60 north to Santa Fe doesn't make any sense, as there is no Highway 60 of any type anywhere near Santa Fe. I-25 would be the fastest and most obvious route from Albuquerque to SF.

    Finally, I can't believe anyone call this part of the county "Dull." There are no fewer than 8 National Monuments/Parks that could be right off this route, and that's if you stick to the Interstate Highways (I-17/I-40/I-25), that doesn't even include the thousands of acres National Forest Lands, or other world famous scenic drives and stops, like Sedona, the Salt River Canyon, and Route 66 to name a few that could also be worked into the trip.

    Admittedly, I like most people on this forum am rather biased on the subject, but I don't think you it would be possible to make this drive dull if you tried. However if your gut reaction to this trip is "deadly dull," I can't imagine there would be many roadtrips that you would like - and perhaps you'd be better off for your personal enjoyment to fly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Fallacies

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are a couple of misconceptions in your post which you need to get straight before you make your final decision. First, you do not have 'desert tires'. Besides the fact that no reputable dealer would sell a street legal car with balloon tires suitable for desert (off-road) travel, You wouldn't buy them or put up with them in daily use. What you probably have are the tires that came standard with your Elantra, and those are typically 'all-season' tires whose tread is a compromise between a lot of factors including the need to drive in snow on occasion. I lived for many years in Maine and commuted up to 50 miles one way to work, I never bothered to equip my cars with snow tires. Front wheel drive and all season tires are quite sufficient to get through 99% of all driving conditions. If your driving skills do not include handling a little snow, tires are not going to make any difference.

    Secondly, the drive from Phoenix to Santa Fe is 'only' 525 miles and all Interstate (I-17/I-40/I-25). There is no route 60 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Interstate, US or state, so I don't know what Google Map is referring to unless you are misinterpreting instructions to use US-60 (and AZ-77) between Phoenix and I-40 at Holbrook. While such a route would save you half a dozen miles over using I-17 up to Flag, I wouldn't recommend it in any way, shape or form as a safer or faster alternative.

    Finally, even at 'only' 525 miles, Phoenix to Santa Fe is not going to be an eight hour drive, but a lot closer to 10 when you factor in stops for food, gas and restroom breaks, and slowdowns for traffic and construction, all things that software doesn't consider. There are no better alternative routes, as discussed above. I would hardly call a route that goes through Black Canyon, the Verde Valley, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park, and over the Continental Divide "deadly dull", but if that's what you expect and are looking for, that's what you'll find;

    So I hope I've given you a little clearer understanding of what's really involved in driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe, and that you can make a more informed decision on whether to fly or drive.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    What you can do is take the scenic route from Phoenix to Holbrook, which also saves you 45 miles. Drive time should not be any longer. This would be:

    AZ-87 to Payson, then AZ-260/AZ-277/AZ-377/AZ-77.

    I have driven this in December, and it was clear and dry all the way. However, check conditions before you go.

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