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side trips

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side trips

We are in the planning stage of a September road trip through the northern half of New Mexico and in search of some advice on side trips away from main cities. As a result, I am posting this query on the forums for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos in an attempt to get information from a variety of experts. We plan on being in northern NM for 11 days and have already secured places to stay in the three aforementioned cities for three nights each. We are very excited about the places to visit in all three and don't need advice on things to do there. We have time for some side trips as well as during out drives from one main city to another so that's the advice we seek. We are interested in most all things historical, cultural, artistic, as well as what mother nature offers.

Below I have a list of places that seem nice for a visit but there probably is not enough time to do them all justice so my main question is asking for advice on what to see for sure and what might be eliminated, in your opinion. Please list other places too that I have not listed whether they are roads, towns, or parks.

Cities: Las Vegas (NM), Los Alamos, Cimarron, Espanola. Other sites: Petroglyphs Nat'l Monument, Capulin Volcano Nat'l Monument, Cimarron Canyon StatePark, Sandia Peak area, Bandelier Nat'l Monument (is it open and worth a visit after the difficulties of last year?), and I fear that Chaco Canyon will take too much time and not allow us to visit many other places. Ditto for the RR trip out of Chama. We do hope to take the variety of roads between ABQ and Santa Fe and Santa Fe and Taos.

Thanks for all responses.

Aurora, Illinois
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1. Re: side trips

For Taos

I assume that you are aware that it is best to take the Low Road TO Taos and the High Road FROM Taos in order to have the best views in the windshield. However, if scheduling dictates the other order, that can be fine, too. You'll most likely wish to make stops on the High Road, especially in Chimayo both for the church (Santuario de Chimayo) and the restaurant (Rancho de Chimayo) in addition to the numerous galleries along the way.




I'll also assume that you're already aware of Taos Pueblo, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and San Francisco de Asis Mission Church. None of them are technically in Taos, but are "right there" (the bridge is a little further out).

The day trip that I'd most recommend from Taos is to drive the Enchanted Circle. Lovely! And some nice possible stops along the way. My own highlights were a hike in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area (near Questa) down to the river on the La Junta trail and a visit to the moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial





Taos, New Mexico
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2. Re: side trips

Kieth covered the "Best Of" so we won't go over that stuff. Taos is still consolidating all of its tourism information from the various groups in the area on www.taos.org. You might give that a look. September is one of our busiest tourism months, so book early and book often!

We always recommend that you allow yourself to actually stay somewhere. Distances can be great out here. Los Alamos itself is not necessarily a tourism destination. It's our nation's premier nuclear research facility, thus pretty limited public access.

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3. Re: side trips

While on the Enchanted Circle drive, the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial is a MUST see. St. James Hotel in Cimarron is a good stop. A stop or day trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch is always in order. Their musuems are unudual - www.philmontscoutranch.org/Museums.aspx.

See you soon in Taos!

4. Re: side trips

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