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.