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New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

Parkton, Maryland
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New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

New Mexico trip report. Oct 19-25

Hubby and I were able to enjoy our trip to New Mexico. The government shutdown of the national parks was kind of scary. The shutdown lasted right up to the last couple of days before we were to leave on our trip. Whew a sigh of relief, the shutdown ended and we did not have to cancel our trip. We flew into Albuquerque on Oct 19 and started our southern loop.

Day 1: We flew into Albuquerque..picked up our rental car from Hertz and started our drive to Carlsbad. We stopped for a late lunch at a place called Penny’s Diner (good food) along the way. Being a birder and wildlife lover we also made a quick stop and did the wildlife drive at Bitter Lake NWR near Roswell. Then we headed the car towards Carlsbad, we saw several herds of Pronghorn along the RT 285 and we enjoyed the sunset and a full moon rising right before getting into Carlsbad. It was a long day but fun!

First stopping for three nights at Carlsbad..we stayed at the Best Western. This was the first time I was disappointed in a Best Western..our room was clean and Ok, it was the noise. Being at street level, I heard sirens and truck noises all night. And our the neighbor in the next room would go out and start his truck early every morning. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep.

Day 2: The BW breakfast was good. They usually had eggs, sausage and gravy/biscuits. I just had the oatmeal and hubby had the eggs & sausage. Our visit to the Carlsbad Caverns Nat’l park was the highlight for hubby is a spelunker and the cave was the main attraction for him. We did the hike into the Natural entrance and the walk around the Big Room the first day. Hubby also went onto the Kings Palace tour. It was beautiful!

Day 3: The next day we went back to the Caverns and took the elevator down and walked around the Big Room again. In the afternoon of the 2nd day we visited the Living Desert Zoo and State park, we enjoyed seeing the native New Mexico animals and vegetation. Later in the day we drove back to the park to watch the Bat Flight. I enjoyed seeing the Cave Swallows and we saw the Barbary sheep while driving on the road into the park.

Day 4: We left Carlsbad and headed to the Guadalupe Mtns National Park. We hiked the trail behind Frijole Ranch called Manzanita Spring. We stopped at the Pine Springs Visitor center and walked along the Pinery trail checking out the native plants and trees. Nice views of the mountains and El Capitan. We then drove toward El Paso and onto our next place to stay Truth or Consequences. We made a few stops along the way, mainly state parks like Cabella and Percha and this was where I saw my first Roadrunner. In T or C we spent the night at the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa. What a great place, the staff were so nice and friendly..they made our one night there feel special...A nice clean room..and we reserved the ½ hour in the hot spring tub for that evening. Dinner was awesome at the Los Arcos Steak and Lobster restaurant.

Day 5: We enjoy the nice breakfast at the Sierra Grande and we headed onto our next stop Socorro.. We made one detour along the way to Socorro stopping at the Elephant Butte State Park..I just have to check out the birding places I researched before leaving home. The state parks are awesome places to see birds. We stayed the next 2 nights at the Comfort Inn, Socorro. I chose this hotel so I could be close to the Bosque Del Apache wildlife refuge. The hotel was convenient to the highway exit. The first evening we were tired and ate at the closeby K-Bob steak restaurant. The K-Bob was ok... but not one of our best choices.

Day 6: Breakfast was the freebie at the Comfort Inn and we headed out to spend the day visiting the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge. We were anxious to see that there was a train derailment close to the refuge..almost near the entrance to the wildlife drive. We could not bare another closure like the Government shutdown before we left on our trip. The road was closed right after the entrance, we lucked out there. We enjoyed seeing a beautiful sunrise, the Sandhill Cranes, Snow geese and all the other birds and critters at the refuge. I even saw a mountain lion for just a quick moment along the wildlife drive. Yummy burgers for lunch at the Owl Bar & Café. And then back to the wildlife refuge. Dinner was close to the hotel and was another one of our favorite dinner places.. the Socorro Springs Restaurant & Brewery. I loved the pizza and had a delicious ale.

Day 7: Another freebie Comfort Inn breakfast and we then headed back to the wildlife refuge for a quick visit on our last morning at Socorro. From here we were headed back to Albuquerque, we did make a stop at the Rio Grande Nature Center & Park for a walk around before we headed to our last night stay at the Best Western Airport hotel. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel, cleaned out the car and then dropped the rental car off at the Airport hertz. Conveniently, the Best Western shuttle picked us up at the car rental and took us back to the hotel. For the last night dinner, hubby was especially happy with the closeby Fuddrucker’s burger restaurant. He loves their milkshakes and burgers.

Day 8: We were happy with the Best Western airport hotel..the shuttle took us back to airport for our Southwest flight home. Bye-bye New Mexico..it was a fun trip.

You can see some of my trip photos on my blog:

http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.com/

Mentioned in this post
New Mexico
New Mexico
United States
Albuquerque
Albuquerque
New Mexico
Carlsbad
Carlsbad
New Mexico
Roswell
Roswell
New Mexico
Big Room
Big Room
778 Reviews
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
Truth or Consequences
Truth or Consequences
Sierra County, NM
Socorro
Socorro
New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

Great to hear you got to go on your trip. Sounds like a lot of fun.

USA
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2. Re: New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

Great trip! So glad you got to the caverns- I remember that was your hubby's focus for this trip. We've had a cabin in NM mountains for 25 yrs & have never made it down to the caverns. Guess we'll have to run down there.

Fantastic that you had a mt lion sighting! I've only seen one in my life while hiking & I consider it a sighting of a lifetime.

Fabulous bird photography & wow to the herd of barbary sheep. Thanks so much for all of those.

Parkton, Maryland
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250 posts
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3. Re: New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

I also want to say THANK YOU to everyone on Trip Advisor that helped me with my planning and questions.

Denalicat, thank for the reply and nice comment about my photos. I am a total amateur at photography.

4. Re: New Mexico, southern loop trip report..long read

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