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Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

michigan
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Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

4 mature -50's-60's adults are planning a 9 day trip to the area. We have previously done the Utah NP tour, including GC (south rim) and Monument Valley. Flying in to Albuquerque (wanted to fly into Phoenix and out of Albuquerque for driving convienence, but too costly to drop rental car off at different location)..anyway fly into Albuquerque drive to Page/Lake Powell. I know over 6 hour drive... Stay 2 nights, rent boat, tour Antelope slot canyon, maybe north rim of gc if time..sugestions? Then drive to Cortez or Durango...need help with this?? On our way we will stop in CdC...south or north rim? Stay in Cortez/Durango 2 nights. Mesa Verde and Rail trip??? Anything else? What town is best? Hotel? Then drive to Taos 2 nights then to Santa Fe 2 nights..I know this is more NM forum but any suggestions on Taos or Santa Fe? Should be we stay 3 nights at one and 1 night at the other? Staying a moderate hotels..trying to stay under $200 a night. Thanks one and ALL!!

tucson az
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1. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

2 days in the Page area would not allow enough time to go to GCNP North Rim and back .... it's 3 hours each way. If you rent a boat, you will want to maximize your time with that as rentals are quite expensive. Antelope Canyon is a land trip; get a tour in town or go out to the canyon and pick up a tour there.

Sedona, AZ
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2. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

I also would skip North Rim GC due to time constraints.

For boating, get the Stan Jones map of Lake Powell. The lake can be a little tricky to navigate with so many side canyons and rock formations that from a distance all blend into one mass of rocks. You can boat to the water end of Antelope Canyon. But the photos you've no doubt seen are of Antelope Slot Canyon on land (upper or lower). The upper portion is most popular and an easy walk through. The lower land portion is a little more challenging (nothing too hard). That's the section that eventually leads to the lake but they don't let you walk through that far. Also just south of Page, take the walk out to Horseshoe Bend overlook and you might even want to take the smooth water raft trip down the Colorado River (starts below the dam). Other things to do in Page........dam overlook, Wahweap overlook, Lakeshore Drive, tour the dam.

You know that CdC is about 140 miles (round trip) out of your way to Cortez, right? You can still see it and then maybe stay in Cortez that night, see Mesa Verde the next day (definitely worth seeing) and on to Durango. I loved the Durango-Silverton train! But generally I'd stay in Durango over Cortez, unless you want to do the trip like I've outlined here, just because the sights are in that order. Durango is more of a destination town.

Have a fun trip!

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

Canyon de Chelly isn't exactly on your way to Mesa Verde NP and you'll need a couple of hours to only drive, sightsee and stop at several places. If you only want to drive one rim, I'd pick south rim all the way to Spider Rock overlook and back. On your way to Spider Rock is the hike to White House, the only place you can visit inside the canyon without a guide but you should add at least one hour extra then and it's a steep climb back to the rim. You'll be on the road between Page and Cortez via Chinle for 6 hours already without the visits. So maybe stay in Cortez and visit Mesa Verde NP next day and stay in Durango. Durango Silverton by train, back by bus is an all day affair. On your way from Durango to Taos try to make a stop at Rio Grande Gorge Bridge just before Taos on nm64

Tet

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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4. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

Actually the drive most likely will be over 7 hours. I really do think you have too much planned. You could enjoy Durango/Santa Fe/Taos for the entire 9 days... saving Lake Powell, Page, North Rim GC, CdC and the Hopi Mesas for another trip.

Here's a possible plan...

Day 1 arrive Abq. To Santa Fe

Day 2 Santa Fe

Day 3 Drive to Taos via High Road

Day 4 Taos

Day 5 Drive to Durango. Maybe a stop in Pagosa Springs for hot springs and/or lunch.

Day 6 Durango/Silverton Train.

Day 7 Mesa Verde Nat Park all day. Back to Durango for the night.

Day 8 If you need some water..there are a number of lakes and reservoirs in the area. Navajo Lake State Park near Aztec NM has boat rentals and could be a fun trip!! http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/PRD/navajo.htm Also Vallecito Lake is east of Durango

Day 9 Drive to Albuquerque. Make a stop in Aztec New Mexico for Aztec Ruins Nat Mon. A quick visit, but very cool!

Chicago
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5. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

I agree with Casa. Her suggestions will give you much more quality time at your destinations. Additional ruins sites include Chimney Rock near Pagosa, Hovenweep, and Chaco Canyon. The Anasazi Heritage Museum in Dolores is worthwhile as well.

If your interests are more mountain and forest related, there is plenty to see in the Durango, Ouray and Telluride area. A stop in Creede is also nice.

6. Re: Page/Cortez or Durango/Taos/Santa Fe

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