Grand Canyon to Alamogordo
I am looking for some insight to help me with my travel plans from the Grand Canyon to Alamogordo, NM. My wife and I are flying into Vegas for a weekend, then heading to Zion and Bryce, and down to the North Rim. There was no available lodging inside of the Canyon for our last night, so we are thinking of just staying in Jacob Lake because it's relatively close (about an hour's drive from the North Rim).
Now, for our dilemma. We plan to drive from Jacob Lake, AZ to Alamogordo, NM within the next two days, with a one night stop somewhere. We had thought that we would drive down towards Winslow, AZ or Gallup, NM and check out the Petrified Forest. We would stay in either Winslow or Gallup, or somewhere else nearby (any thoughts??) and then drive to Alamogordo the following day. However, it seems as though there is not a lot of great lodging in either of those two places. We've found that the nicer places are already booked. Any recommendations on where to stay? Or....another option would be to drive to Phoenix the first day and then down through Tuscon and over to Alamogordo the following day. Either option seems to be about the same amount of driving time. Could someone please provide some thoughts - neither my wife nor I have ever been to this part of the country, so this is quite a new experience!
First of all, do you already have a reservation at Jacob Lake? There's only ONE lodge there (WYSIWYG). So you might check with them now to see if you need to make a reservation. If you can't stay there either, you could check out motels at Marble Canyon, AZ (next closest, one lodge I think), Page (several good choices), or if things go from bad to worse, Flagstaff (thousands of rooms). There's also some availability in Fredonia AZ or Kanab, UT, although these are backtracking a bit more.
Getting to Alamogordo, I'd take the mountain route -- my top choice would be US180. If you do stay at Jacob Lake, Marble Canyon or Page, then head south down US89 to US160, take a short jog on that to get to SR264 and take that all the way over to Ganado. If you want the most scenic route, take US191 south from Ganado to US180 at Alpine, and follow that to Silver City, NM. At Silver City, take SR152 over to Caballo, then I-25 down to Las Cruces and US70, & that over the Organ Mountains to Alamogordo.
If you're pressed for time, a faster route is to follow SR264 from Ganado all the way over into New Mexico and cut down to Gallup on old US666. From Gallup, take I-40 east to SR6 and cut the corner using SR6 down to I-25. I-25 down to San Antonio, US380 over to US54 and that south to Alamogordo.
If you still decide to stay in Gallup, despite my best efforts to sway you, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a decent room there -- there's dozens of motels. It's an old Rte66 town. Grants, just 50 miles away, also has a good number. Bob
Excellent suggestions Bob!
I also think that you might have a hard time trying to book a room in Jacob Lake. I stayed twice in Fredonia at the Crazy Jug Motel, the decor is, well... kind of western but the rooms are very clean and unexpensive (35-40$/night) and you will be less than 30 minutes from the North Rim gate. In Alamogordo, I stayed at the Best Western (about 50$), they have a nice outdoor heated pool and spa and nice rooms. In NM, Soccorro is a great place to stay, plenty of cheap motels there.
A piece of Americana History?
Have you thought of staying at the Wigwam Village in Holbrook? These concrete teepees found on the famous Route 66 and are a hold-out from the original seven Wigwam motels built nearly sixty years ago. Here is a link for more information about this motel option.
Originally Posted by biag12
Thanks for the great advice everyone! Yes, I called the Jacob Lake Inn last night and was able to book a room, so that's taken care of. Also, we do have friends in Alamogordo who we will be staying with, so we only need to worry about one night in between. We figure we will drive about 12 hours altogether from Jacob Lake to Alamogordo and would like to split the two-day trip in half as closely as possible.
Bob, I liked your idea about taking 264 over to Ganado and then down to 40. We would be in the vicinity of the Petrified Forest in the late afternoon. Would it make sense to spend the rest of the day there and then spend the night in that area? I was looking at Pinetop-Lakeside on SR260 or Snowflake on SR77 as possible lodging locations. They each seem to have decent places to stay. Is that correct? That way, the following day we could head down either ER60 or ER260 to Eager, down to Alpine and then follow Bob's directions from there to Alamogordo. Does that plan sound reasonable? Is there any reason why we wouldn't want to stay in either of those towns? Are there any other sights that we may want to stop and see along those routes (not far off the beaten path) if time permits?
Thanks again for all of the advice.
I was up in the Tuba City area last weekend, and discovered that SR264 was closed near the Hopi villages because of a fuel spill a week before they were still cleaning up. Locals told me you could get through -- but they were trying to discourage traffic on that road. I hope this surprise didn't mess up your day too badly!
If you read this when you get back -- yes, I think your plan is/was a good one! Either Snowflake or Pinetop are nice places -- you probably found Pinetop a little more convenient as there are many more choices there (it caters to the many people fleeing Phoenix on hot summer days). Snowflake is an old pioneer town and is still pretty small, although the people there are very friendly and accommodating. Bob
La Posada, Winslow AZ
La Posada in Winslow, AZ is a terrific place to stay. It's a restored hotel from the days when rail travel was king.
It was designed by Mary Jane Colter for the Fred Harvey Company and completed in 1930.
The hotel has a wonderful historical feel.
Thurman's Field Report
Good point, Gerald & Kathleen stayed there when they prepared their field report on Winslow. Here is a representative view of the hotel as seen from the railroad tracks:
Originally Posted by roadie